i’ve finally got the chance to sit down in front of the pooter and blog a bit. we’ve been so busy, and i’ve been disheartened because the photos i wanted to upload have remained stubbornly stuck inside the camera thanks to our uncooperative usb hub. but: ta da! i managed to extract them this morning.

last sunday we had our friends d + a, and their kiddies over for brunch. again, we hadn’t seen them since last summer, so we had lots to catch up on. d has a new post as professor at a new university in cornwall, so they will be upping stakes and moving the whole family, a big, big change for them.

in the last few weeks we have seen more friends than we have all winter! this is because ppl literally go into hibernation during winter, esp. if they have kids. when it gets dark at 4pm you just don’t feel like dragging the kids out into the snow for dinner at someone’s house. the recent gorgeous weather has had us all emerging, blinking, into the sunlight.

among other things, i made bill granger’s tomato and ricotta tart, with a few adjustments. it was so delicious! want the recipe? read further….


tomato and ricotta tart, with memories of bill

rough puff pastry:

200g flour
200 butter, frozen
1/2 tsp salt
juice of a lemon*
chilled water*

* a note re. the pastry: bill’s recipe just calls for 2Tb chilled water. i found i needed much more than this to bind the pastry. i also like to use lemon juice instead of just water – it gives a tenderer crust and gives the pastry a much better flavour.

– grate the frozen butter into the flour and salt (thanks to anyresemblance for this great tip)
– add the lemon juice and the chilled water 1 Tb at a time, until it resembles large breadcrumbs. go slow with the water, you don’t want to add too much.
– when it begins to come together into big clumps, bring together with your hands and flatten into a disc.
– wrap in clingfilm and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.

– take pastry out of fridge.
– scatter bench, pastry and rolling pin with flour.
– roll pastry out into a rectangle.
– fold long ends up to meet.
– turn 1/4, roll out again, and fold ends up to meet.
– repeat this movement a few times….5 or 10 or whatever. not too many – don’t let the pastry get to sticky. if it gets sticky, flour it lightly.
– fold into a neat little rectangle and refrigerate, at least a couple of hours. i usually make the pastry up to this step the night before.

– take out pastry, let warm up a little (esp. if refrigerated overnight).
– flour bench, pastry, pin.
– roll out to fit yr (greased) tart tin. the pastry should be beautfully smooth and supple. i like to roll it quite thin, so there is usally lots left-over for another day (freezeable) or for little tarts/pastries
– leave the edges hanging over the edge of the tin – you will fold them in over the filling later.


lots of cherry tomatoes, halved (enough to cover a tart) (*bill uses sliced normal tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes are much more satisfying!)
2 cups of ricotta
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup of natural yoghurt (*bill’s recipe calls for cream, but really, with all that butter int he pastry, do you really need more fat in the recipe? besides, yoghurt gives it a welcome tartness)
salt n pepper
basil (*bill’s recipe uses rocket, but i prefer basil)
1 egg yolk for glazing

– mix together ricotta, eggs, yoghurt, parmesan. add salt and pepper to taste.
– pour into tart shell.
– place cherry tomatoes cut side up in mixture.
– strew with freshly torn basil leaves.
– sprinkle with salt and a good grinding of pepper.

– fold the edges of the pastry over the outer edges of the filling.
– brush pastry with egg yolk
– bake at 200°c for 35 – 40 mins or until golden.

this tart is incredibly rich but very good. perfect brunch food.


14 thoughts on “tarty

  1. Thanks for the recipe – it looks great and even though it is pouring with rain here (hooray) it looks like a perfect supper with a tart green salad (that’s where I’d put the rocket, I don’t really like cooked rocket). Glad to see you’re back in form and over all the nasty bugs. Now, about those strawberries….

  2. This looks so good!! And I like all your variations (lemon juice in the pastry — yes, I agree; yoghurt, cherry toms, basil, yes, yes, yes!)
    But oh dear! I’m so lazy when it comes to pastry. I’ll have to build up to this one to over come my laziness (it sounds like it is worth it).
    I have a great recipe for short crust pastry which doesn’t need to be chilled and doesn’t need blind baking either (good old ‘Cookery the Aussie Way’). That’s my kind of pastry! I’ll dig it out and share it with you some time. Makes the easiest quiche base ever (for impromptu picnics in the park), even if it isn’t high brow.

  3. Oh my, this tart looks bee-you-ti-ful! I’d never heard of Bill Granger, is he the Australian Jamie Oliver? And thanks for the great tips on making your own puff-pastry tart shell, I’ve never tried my hand at that.
    Oh and in reply to Lucinda, I’d love to see that easy short crust pastry recipe if you get a chance!

  4. A pleasure to share this no brainer (remember, it’s not high brow cooking!)
    From Cookery the Australian Way (EM Barrowman et al, 2nd ed, Melbourne, Australia, 1974) at page 230
    Short Crust Pastry
    – sift 2 cups (plain) flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt
    – rub in 1/2 cup (125 grams) shortening (butter) until mixture looks like breadcrumbs
    – gradually add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice to form a firm dough
    – flour board and knead lightly until smooth
    – flour pin, roll to size and shape required
    (I pour in my quiche filling and bake at 200C until set)
    Clothilde, I adore Chocolate & Zucchini but never seem have enough time to do it justice. It’s a beautiful food blog. You have such a devoted following, which must be very rewarding.

  5. lucinda, thanks so much for sharing yr recipe! i don’t care if it’s high brow / low brow or whatever, it sounds good and definitely better for the arteries than bill’s buttery version. pastry is always time-consuming and i only ever make it for special occasions – yr recipe sounds so easy i shall have to try it.
    clotilde, bill granger is something like a australian jamie oliver, yes – blond, blue-eyed, photogenic, but perhaps not quite as cheekily endearing as jamie! he started off with a very popular cafe in sydney called ‘bill’s’ (original, huh?), which did a great line in ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb blackberry butter, amongst other treasures (note to self: must post the recipe for these to assauge whoever it is that has been relentlessly searching for bill’s recipe and keeps ending up at my site!), and then did a couple of v. popular cookbooks. i don’t know if he has done a tv show, but he certainly gets lots of press coverage and is always in magazines. i don’t cook a lot of his recipes, but i have a few faves, like this tart, the ricotta hotcakes, and the sweetcorn cakes with proscuitto and roasted tomatoes.

  6. Lucinda, thanks a lot for your pastry recipe, it looks great, I’d never seen a quiche crust recipe that called for baking powder, it must make for a very light and puffy crust. I’m copying it and will definitely try it soon. Would you say I could make it in the food processor first, then end the kneading by hand? Thanks for the kind words regarding C&Z, and you are quite right, the readers are the best part! 🙂
    Kitschenette, thanks for telling me about Bill, his name was sort of familiar, but I didn’t know much about him. Australian cooking and Australian chefs don’t really reach us in France (I basically just know about Jill Dupleix, and that’s because she’s famous in the US), the American and the British just take up too much space!

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