Courgette, cheese and bacon tart

Not much of an intro here, this is a good old classic savoury bake, given a little twist with the sweet aniseed-y flavour of hyssop taken straight from the garden.

  • Bowl
  • Rolling bin
  • Flan tin, greased and lined
  • Baking beans or dried pulses
  • Frying pan
  • Baking sheet
Ingredients – pastry
  • Plain flour – 200g
  • Polenta -50g (or if you can’t source this, omit it and just use 250g plain flour)
  • Unsalted butter – cubed and at room-temperature butter – 125g
  • Egg yolk, 1
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Paprika- half a teaspoon
  • Hyssop – about two 4 to 5 cm sprigs, finely chopped. If you don’t have access to hyssop then add about 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • Water to bind the dough – about 1 tsp or so
Ingredients – filling
  • Eggs – 4 medium (or 3 large)
  • Grated cheese (your choice but I use cheddar) – a large handful
  • Double cream – 300ml
  • Smoked streaky bacon or pancetta (or really any bacon will do at a pinch) – about 6 rashers
  • Baby courgettes – 3 (or 1 large courgette)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Method – pastry shell
  1. Heat your oven to 160C (fan) or about 180C conventional
  2. Put the baking tray in the oven
  3. Rub the butter into the flour
  4. Mix the rest of the ingredients in except for the water
  5. Add in the water a little at a time to help you bring the dough together – don’t over add the water
  6. Squash the dough down into a disk shape and chill in the fridge for 10 mins
  7. Grease and flour the flan tin
  8. Fetch the dough out of the fridge and place onto a floured surface or a sheet of baking parchment
  9. Add a little more flour on top to stop the rolling pin sticking or roll out under some cling film
  10. Roll out to about 3mm thick
  11. Line the flan tin with the rolled out pastry, lifting the edges up to ease the pastry into all the crevasses press down so that the pastry fits the shape of the tin.
  12. You can neaten the edge of the flan now (or after it’s been baked if you prefer to ensure that the pastry does not shrink) with a knife or by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the flan tin edge (any of these will cut off the pastry at the level of the flan tin)
  13. Prick the base all over with a fork and scrunch up enough baking parchment to cover the whole tin. Un-scrunch this and lay it out onto the pastry (scrunching helps it fit to the shape of the tin more easily). Fill with the baking beans or dried pulses
  14. Put the prepared pastry case in the oven, on top of the now-hot baking tray (this will help crisp up the bottom)
  15. Cook for about 14/15 mins
  16. Remove the beans/pulses and parchment and return to the oven for another couple of minutes to ensure the base is crisp
  17. Remove from the oven.¬† If you didn’t trim the flan case before it went into the oven now’s the time to do this with a sharp knife
  18. Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling
Method – filling
  1. Slice up the bacon/pancetta into thin strips and fry until just crispy. Let cool on kitchen roll to soak up any excess fat
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper until just combined
  3. Pour this mix into the cooled flan tin and sprinkle over the cheese and fried bacon/pancetta – mix slightly to that the cheese and bacon/pancetta are evenly distributed through the flan
  4. Remove the top of the courgettes and slice the baby courgettes in two lengthways (if using larger courgettes slice lengthways then cut down each of these slices lengthways and then cut all in half – so you have eight batons)
  5. Pop the flan carefully onto a rack in the over, with it extended so you can add the courgettes
  6. Lay the courgette slices down carefully on to the top of the flan mix, being careful to try to not dunk them underneath the mix
  7. Bake for about 20 – 25 mins until slightly browned and gorgeous
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