Saturday, 19 May 2012

Weekend cooking - The Art of the Tart

I was introduced to the magic world of Tamasin Day-Lewis by a good friend of mine, who wanted to show me the new breed of chefs who pay attention to detail and quality, without making too much fuss about themselves (...)

Tamasin is the sister of actor Daniel Day-Lewis, but she certainly does not stand in his shadow.  She has penned a number of books and presented several cooking programmes on British TV.  Now, why I should bother with yet another writer, when I can get the recipes I want on the Internet at no cost, you say?

Because, I believe, there is always the added value of a serious professional.  Day-Lewis is very adamant when it comes to ingredients, locally / seasonally sourced and of the highest possible quality.  There is no mention of anything light - if I want to keep a check on the calories, I'll just have a smaller piece!  Day-Lewis pays attention to every minute detail, but not going overboard with extraordinary combinations that only high-end restaurants offer -- this book is for the home cook, who is interested in broadening their horizons and trying new ideas.  Her instructions are detailed, along with tiny comments for secrets and recommendations.

The book itself is split in various categories, including savoury and sweet, as well as tarts by other people, while a separate chapter is dedicated to the art of mastering pastry.  Each recipe is lovingly prepared from scratch and just begs to be savoured hot from the oven.  I cannot recommend this book enough, and (in case this was not obvious), I have several of Day-Lewis' cookbooks for inspiration.  She has a fixed place in my repertoire, and I always fall back on some tried and tested favourite recipes, like her Tomato, Goats' Camembert and  Herb Tart (which in my case becomes Tomato and Camembert tart):


Tomato and Camembert tart

The first thing is the base of the tart, which, in the book, is described to great detail.  On this occasion, however, I had just bought a piece of all butter puff pastry from my baker and wanted to use it, so I cheated (sorry!).

Before getting started with the filling, prepare the infused oil: again, I strayed from the original recipe (I always do) and used:
80ml olive oil
10ml chili oil (for an extra kick)
a handful each of finely chopped thyme, basil, flat leaf parsley (I don't like the other herbs she uses)
1 clove of garlic, crushed


I made this in the morning before leaving for work, and started working on the tart in the evening (although preparing it a couple of hours beforehand would suffice as well)

For the filling, I used:
1 tbsp of whole-grain mustard (I prefer this to dijon)
100gr grated cheese (I used cheddar, because that's what I had at hand)
5 medium-sized tomatoes
375gr or 1 1/2 packs of normal Camembert (I have looked for goats' camembert, but, alas, found none)


Preheat oven at 190oC.  Slide pastry onto a 22-cm round tin, spread mustard, scatter grated cheese.  Slice tomatoes and camembert and alternate in a circle. The original recipe calls for brushing the oil over, I (being lazy, obviously) just poured the whole lot over the tart.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, then leave to cool. 


For me, this is a great tart in the evening, when I don't want anything grand, or when I miss one meal and don't want to spoil my appetite before the next.  It's beautiful warm or cold.  One word of caution:  this is quite a heavy tart, so I would recommend smaller slices... 


This post is my entry into Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. ... my eternal problem...

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  2. I am bookmarking this recipe -- what a great way to use the summer's bounty of tomatoes. I love that it's good cold too, so one can bake in the morning before the house heats up but eat it with a salad for dinner.

    Also Day-Lewis is a new to me cookbook author -- at least I don't remember hearing about her. I will be seeking out her books.

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    1. Exactly my point - she doesn't make a fuss, and usually goes unnoticed...

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  3. This looks great for summer!! Actually, I would like a slice right about now...

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    1. (hi hi) I know the feeling..

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  4. My mouth is watering! Looks divine!

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    Replies
    1. indeed, the tart did not survive long...

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  5. I'd never heard of her cookbooks. Thanks for the heads up. The tart looks scrumptious :).

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    1. I like her down-to-earth, no-nonsense and food-loving style of writing!

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  6. This looks like the perfect summer meal! Will bookmark for tomato season - thanks.

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    1. Good luck with the recipe!

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  7. I'm a recent convert to tarts, but the only cookbook I've invested in so far is Pamela Asquith's Fruit Tart Cookbook. I'll definitely search for this one at my local library. Great find!

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    1. has been a revelation to me too!

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  8. Looks great. I would love to be able to make lovely tarts and pies - without the pastry!

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    Replies
    1. there's no great secret to a good pastry case - really!

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  9. Tarts are so tasty and there are so many variations you can make.

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    Replies
    1. ... and I keep discovering new takes on them!

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  10. I saw someone else mention this author during the last week but hadn't heard of her before now! I love using the internet for finding recipes but there is also something fantastic about using cookbooks especially from an author you trust.

    This looks delicious. I had no idea that you could buy prepared pastry from a baker. Is this common where you are?

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    1. actually yes - of course, I mean a baker who bakes bread on the spot, and not a bakery, that just sells bread...

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  11. That photo looks sooo yummy! Seems like a great book too, it'll have to go on my list!

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    Replies
    1. I'm happy to report that it was devoured within a 2-hour lunch...

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