Spring Herb Tartlets

Serves 4

By Lucy Williams

Takes 30 minutes to make, 40 minutes to cook, plus chilling. These herb tartlets are the perfect summer picnic food, packed full of flavour and made individually to avoid portion squabbles.

Ingredients

  • 60g walnuts
  • 215g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125g chilled butter, chopped
  • 3-5 tbsp iced water
  • 1 large free-range egg and 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten, plus 1 beaten egg yolk for glazing
  • 150ml double cream
  • Bunch of fresh mint, leaves finely chopped
  • Bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • Bunch of fresh chives, snipped
  • 75g mature Cheddar, finely grated
  • Grating of nutmeg
  • Chive flowers (optional)
  • Tomato chutney to serve

Instructions

  1. For the pastry, whizz the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, stir in the nuts, add the butter and rub together with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (Alternatively you can use the food processor.) Pour over 3 tbsp iced water. Mix with a knife until it starts to come together, adding a splash more water if necessary. Knead briefly to form a soft dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut 4 x 15cm discs and use them to line 4 x 11cm loose-bottomed fluted tart tins, pressing them into the sides. Trim any excess . Prick with a fork, then line with baking paper and baking beans or rice. Blind- bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp.
  3. Mix the lightly beaten egg and yolks in a jug with the cream, chopped herbs and cheese. Season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Take the cases out of the oven, remove the beans/rice and paper, then carefully lift them from their tins on to a baking tray. Turn the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4.
  4. Fill the cases with the egg mix and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and just set. Scatter with chive flowers if you like. Serve warm or cold with tomato chutney.

Nutritional info

PER SERVING 710kcals, 58.1g fat (30.1g saturated), 16g protein, 33.4g carbs, 2.2g sugar, 1.3g salt, 2.8g fibre

Chef’s tip

If you don’t have 4 individual tart tins, you could make one large tart using a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin and bake for a further 10 minutes until set. Any leftover pastry can be made into cheesy grissini. Roll out, cut into strips, twist, brush with egg, then scatter with grated cheese. Bake until golden and crisp. Freeze the cooled tarts, wrapped in baking paper, then foil. Defrost fully, then warm gently in the oven to serve. The herbs may discolour but the flavour will be unaffected.