Shallot and chestnut tarts with a cheddar crust

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Serves: 4
Preparation time: 1 hour


350g (12oz) ready-made shortcrust pastry
1 tbsp olive oil
25g (1oz) butter
400g (14oz) banana shallots, halved (6 in total)
100ml (3ófl oz) white wine
1 tbsp honey
1 bashed garlic clove
1 sprig thyme
150ml (5fl oz) crème fraiche
1 egg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
75g (3oz) ready-cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
25g (1oz) coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
50g (2oz) coarse grated Cheddar


1. Line 4 x 10cm loose-bottomed individual tart tins with pastry, cover each with baking parchment, fill with baking beans, chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/R6. Place the tarts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove paper and beans and bake for 5 minutes more.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan, add the wine, shallots, honey, garlic and thyme and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 10 minutes until softened before removing the pan lid and cooking until the shallot mix is sticky and lightly caramelised. Season to taste. Reduce the oven to 180°C/R4.

3. Combine the crème fraiche, egg and mustard and season well. Spoon this over the bases of the tarts and top with chestnuts and shallots. Combine the breadcrumbs, oil and cheddar and scatter over the tarts. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling.

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