Tomato and basil tart
Tomato and basil tart

Less on top is always more

THIS is my kind of fast food.

It just doesn't get any easier than this simple tomato and basil pastry tart and I am not sure it gets any tastier.

In this version I have used my own tomato paste - tomato passata slowly reduced over a low heat for an extra punch of rich tomato flavour. Trust me when I say it's worth the effort.

But if time is not on your side, a pizza-type sauce will also do the job.

This, like all of my favourite recipes, is one that can be thrown together with the ingredients you have.

So you might use a different cheese or meat (shredded chicken or prosciutto works well), you could just slice standard-sized tomatoes and throw on a range of your favourite herbs or baby spinach.

But please do yourself a favour and try it with Persian feta or a beautifully soft-marinated goat's cheese - there are a few on the market at the moment and they are really something else.

When it comes to using pastry like this, I go for the same rules as when I am making pizzas - and in fact this does make for a great pizza topping.

Less is more. Layering the ingredients on too thick will leave you with a burnt outside crust and uncooked base.

If you select small amounts of the best and most delicious ingredients you can afford, you don't need to overdo it.

What's your favourite pizza topping? Let me know if you think you have cracked the code.


Tomato and basil tart



8 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

8 basil leaves

250ml tomato passata

1 sheet of puff pastry

2 slices of ham, sliced into thin strips

1/3 cup Persian feta, crumbled

1 heaped tablespoon sugar

½ cup rocket, loosely packed



Heat tomato passata over a medium heat until it boils.

Stir in sugar. Reduce to a low heat so it simmers. Allow to reduce for about 45 minutes, until thick. Make sure to stir frequently.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Allow pastry to defrost and spread reduced passata over the top to the edges.

At one edge, fold about 2cm of pastry over onto itself - a raised edge.

Repeat with all sides.

Place the basil leaves over the pastry. Then top with half of the ham, the tomatoes and cheese and then the rest of the ham.

Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffy and flaky, making sure it is cooked through in the middle.

Top with rocket and serve.


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