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What’s cooking today: Tomato, feta & blue cheese tart

What’s cooking today: Tomato, feta & blue cheese tart
Tony Jackman’s tomato, feta and blue cheese tart, cooked in an air fryer. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

The abundance of tomatoes in my garden this summer were crying out to be made into a tart. Leftover bits of blue cheese and a round of feta added some bulk to the filling, and it all came together with beaten eggs and a garnish of gratitude for the harvest.

For many years, I never bothered to make my own pastry, but it’s never too late to turn a corner and add another string to your bow. It turns out that, once you get the hang of it, it comes naturally to you.

You learn to feel the dough in your hands while you knead it, and to know when it’s just right, then to pack it into the fridge to meld together a bit more. Thereafter, it’s only a matter of remembering to prick the base before blind-baking or adding a filling, and being able to judge when it’s time to turn the oven off and let it cool.

Now the air fryer has come into play, and it is a great device for blind-baking a pastry crust. Pastry needs intense heat, and the rapid flow of very hot air in an air fryer gets it just right.

Then, once the filling has been added, baking it in an air fryer makes perfect sense.

I rounded up lots of super-ripe, sweet tomatoes from my garden, rinsed and dried them and sliced them, ready to go into the tart. I also fried onion, and had two kinds of cheese to hand. You can vary the cheeses according to what you happen to have at home.

(Makes 8 to 10 servings)

Ingredients

For the pastry:

100 g Eureka Mills brown bread flour

50 g cold butter, cubed

3 Tbsp chilled water

1 standard large foil pie tin

Butter for greasing the pie tin

For the filling, in order of the tart’s layers:

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

100 g fine breadcrumbs

1 round of feta, crumbled

2 large tomatoes, sliced

50 g blue cheese, crumbled

1 medium red onion, sliced thinly

6 to 10 medium to small tomatoes, halved (or as many as you need to make a layer at the top of the tart)

Salt and black pepper

½ cup fresh cream

2 large eggs, beaten

Grated Grana Padano cheese

Method

For the pastry:

Grease a foil pie tin suitable for the air fryer.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the cubed butter. Using clean hands, work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the water and knead until it forms a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.

Roll out the pastry on a flour-dusted surface until it is a neat round, about 5 cm wider than your foil pie tin. Alternatively, place the ball in your greased tin and press it out towards the sides and up the sides with your hands.

Trim any overhanging pastry. Crimp the edges all the way round with a fork. Prick the base with a fork.

Preheat the air fryer to 170°C and blind bake for 10 minutes. (Or at 180°C in a conventional oven for 10 minutes. Air fryers are hotter and a tad quicker.)

For the filling and to cook the tart:

Brush Dijon mustard on the bottom, generously.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on this, to add some crunch at the base.

Crumble a round of feta over this.

Place sliced tomatoes in a layer.

Season the tomatoes with salt and black pepper.

Scatter the crumbled blue cheese over the tomatoes.

On top of this, add half of the fried onion.

Add the second layer of tomatoes, this time the smaller ones, halved.

Season with salt and black pepper.

Add the rest of the onions, here and there.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and whisk in the fresh cream. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Pour this into the tart and move the container this way and that for it to flow all over. Brush the edges of the pastry with cold milk or beaten egg. 

Grate some Grana Padano over the top but not too much; don’t obscure the tomatoes.

Preheat the air fryer to 150°C.

Air fry for 10 minutes at 150°C, then for 10 minutes more at 170°C. If the egg filling has not yet set, give it a few minutes more.

But you can bake this tart in your conventional oven if you prefer, at 180°C for 20 to 25 minutes. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Buy Tony’s book foodSTUFF here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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