Savoury tart recipes: 5 delicious versions of the ultimate lockdown dish

Posted by for Food

Straightforward, photogenic and even tastier as leftovers the following day, savoury tarts are one of our favourite things to cook right now. Here are five recipes to try, from a spring vegetable brunch tart to a dish inspired by Turkish kebabs.

Given all the loaves of banana bread, chocolate brownies and cinnamon buns that have emerged from the lockdown craze for baking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the world only cares about sugary snacks. But if you’re looking to give your sweet tooth a rest, or fancy exploring a new way to play with dough, we’d like to put forward another baking suggestion: a crisp, golden savoury tart.

Why? First of all, tarts can be quick and simple, or customised to require a little more time and attentio, so they’re ideal whether you’re rushed off your feet at the moment or looking for ways to fill your days. Often quite beautiful, they make a delicious centrepiece for a Zoom dinner party and taste even better the next day – which is good news if you often lack lockdown lunch inspiration. 

Then there are the endless possibilities for fillings. From creamy mozzarella and caramelised onions to vibrant, seasonal vegetables, tarts have a special way of letting the flavours of fresh food sing (they’re also great way of using up all the odds and ends in your fridge and store cupboard).

Finally, few things beat the smell of warm pastry fresh out of the oven – whether you’ve made it yourself, or relied on the brilliance of the readymade stuff (you’ll find no pastry-shaming here).

Feeling inspired? Below, you’ll find five delicious savoury tart recipes from Posh Tarts by Phillippa Spence (£12.99, Quadrille), ranging from a filo breakfast tart and spring vegetable brunch version, to a roasted ratatouille tart that puts a modern twist on the traditional stew. Just the thing for your at-home picnic

Filo Breakfast Tart Recipe

Filo Breakfast Tart recipe by Phillippa Spence

Tip: The marriage of a cooked breakfast with crisp and buttery filo pastry is a very good one. Baked eggs are a weekend favourite and pre-baked filo makes the perfect crispy vehicle for them.

Serves 4

Takes 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 30g unsalted butter, melted
  • four 37 x 30cm (14½ x 12-in) filo pastry sheets
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 120g cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 4 slices (about 100g) smoked salmon or 6 slices cooked, chopped smoked streaky bacon
  • 50g fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 10g dill, leaves picked
  • a few chives, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Brush a thin layer of butter all over the base and sides of a 23-cm (9-in) loose-bottom tart tin. Lay over one piece of filo pastry, letting it drape over the edges. Brush butter over this piece and scatter over some thyme leaves. Repeat 3 more times.

Gather and crumple up the edges to make a crust and brush this with more butter. Put the tin on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and place in a small roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for 10 minutes until just cooked.

Turn up the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Spoon the yogurt over the base of the tart case. Arrange the salmon on top of the yogurt then scatter in the tomatoes and spinach leaves, creating 4 indents.

Crack the eggs into the indents and season with pepper. Cover loosely with foil and return to the oven for 25 minutes or until the eggs are cooked but the yolks are still runny.

Remove from the oven and scatter over the dill and chives. Serve hot!

Roasted Ratatouille Tart Recipe

Roasted Ratatouille Tart recipe by Phillippa Spence

Roasted sweet Mediterranean vegetables are the base of this easy bake. Turn it into a vegan dish if you want by using puff pastry made with vegetable oil instead of butter and vegetarian Parmesan for grating.

Serves 6

Takes 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium aubergine cut into 2-cm (¾-in) thick rounds
  • 1 medium courgette, cut into 2cm (¾-in) thick rounds
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow (bell) pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, skin on and lightly crushed
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp passata
  • 33cm (13-in) round of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 3 tbsp whole milk or almond milk
  • 1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • a few chervil leaves (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Place all the vegetables in a large roasting tray and season with most of the dried herbs (reserving a little of each for sprinkling later), olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Score a 4cm (1½-in) border around the edge of the pastry. Score the centre of the pastry and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the oven and place to one side. Spoon the passata over the centre of the pre-baked pastry circle. Arrange the vegetables on top and brush the edges with milk. 

Sprinkle over the remaining dried herbs, half of the grated Parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the tart in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Once the tart is baked, remove from the oven, scatter over the remaining Parmesan and fresh herbs and serve warm.

Spring Vegetable Brunch Tart Recipe

Spring Vegetable Brunch Tart by Phillippa Spence

Sweet, crunchy veg, smooth ricotta and crisp prosciutto – a perfect combo! Leave the pastry sheet out of the fridge for 5 minutes before unfolding so that it doesn’t crack.

Ingredients

  • 4 small hen’s eggs
  • 320g pack pre-rolled puff pastry
  • 150g ricotta
  • 20g Parmesan, grated
  • zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 50g fresh peas
  • 100g asparagus spears, woody stems removed
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed
  • 1 baby gem lettuce, cut into wedges
  • olive oil
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Soft-boil 3 of the eggs for 5–7 minutes. Run under a cold tap and peel. Place to one side until later.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Place the pastry on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Score a 2-cm (1-in) border around the edge of the pastry and a criss-cross pattern in the centre. Be careful not to go through the pastry. Beat the remaining egg in a mug and brush over the pastry.

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Gently push down the centre of the pastry with the back of a spoon. In a bowl, mix the ricotta with the Parmesan and lemon zest and juice then dot this over the centre of the pastry and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Preheat a chargrill pan over a high heat. Boil the peas for 2 minutes then drain. Drizzle the asparagus, spring onions and lettuce with a little olive oil and griddle in batches until everything is nicely charred. Place to one side. Turn down the heat and griddle the prosciutto for a minute on each side until crisp.

Spoon the peas over the ricotta and arrange the vegetables and prosciutto over the base. Halve the eggs and nestle them among the vegetables.

Season and serve the tart drizzled with olive oil.

Heritage Tomato Tart Recipe

Heritage Tomato Tart by Phillippa Spence

A good-quality pre-made pastry case is a brilliant ingredient to have on standby for surprise guests or when you’re pressed for time. Here it’s used simply with beautiful heritage tomatoes and creamy, herby goat’s cheese.

Ingredients

  • 200g heritage (heirloom) tomatoes
  • 125g soft goat’s cheese
  • 150g ricotta cheese
  • a splash of milk
  • a bunch of chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 20cm (8-in) pre-made unsweetened shortcrust pastry case
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Slice the larger tomatoes and cut the small ones in half and place to one side. Place the goat’s cheese, ricotta and milk in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Add a good pinch of black pepper, most of the chives and the lemon zest and mix again.

Spoon the cheese mixture into the pastry case.

Arrange the tomatoes on top then sprinkle with a little oregano, the remaining chives, salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

Cut into slices and serve.

Spiced Lamb & Aubergine Tart Recipe

Spiced Lamb & Aubergine Tart by Phillippa Spence

This one takes a little bit of work but is such a delicious weekend lunch. Lightly spiced, it’s full of rich, caramelised lamb and charred vegetables, a nod to Turkish kebabs. Serve with pickled chillies to cut through the richness.

Serves 4

Takes 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 1 red (bell) pepper
  • olive oil
  • 500g (ground) lamb mince
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 large tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • three 37 x 30cm (14.5 x 12-in) filo pastry sheets
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • a bunch of picked flat-leaf parsley and mint leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F/gas mark 9 (or as high as it will go).

Pop the aubergine, onions and pepper in a small roasting tray, drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt. Place the tray in the oven and roast for about 35 minutes or until everything is blackened and soft.

Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and crumble in the lamb. Add the cumin and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutesuntil golden, breaking the meat up well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the garlic, tomato puree and tomato. Turn the heat down to low and partially cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until golden and quite dry in texture. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Once the vegetables have roasted, remove them from the oven and tip into a medium bowl. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and allow them to steam for about 5 minutes. Take the vegetables from the bowl, peel and deseed the pepper and peel the aubergine. Chop the vegetables up well and mix through the lamb mixture, then remove from the heat and place to one side.

Take a 25cm (10-in) loose-bottom tart tin and grease it with a little olive oil. Lay a sheet of filo pastry in the tin and brush over some olive oil.

Place another sheet on top covering half the original square and leaving half as the overhang.

Repeat the process with 3 more sheets to make a cross shape. You may need to place a few more half sheets to fill in the gaps. Place the tin onto a baking sheet.

Mix the dried mint into the lamb mixture with a good grating of lemon zest and a little lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case, spread it out and crumple up the overhanging pastry around the edges to form a crust. Brush the crust with a little more olive oil and place in the oven to bake on the lowest shelf for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.

When the tart is ready, remove it from the oven and scatter over the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and sumac. Finish with the parsley and mint leaves and the remaining lemon cut into wedges.

Posh Tarts by Phillippa Spence
Posh Tarts by Phillippa Spence

Once the vegetables have roasted, remove them from the oven and tip into a medium bowl. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and allow them to steam for about 5 minutes. Take the vegetables from the bowl, peel and deseed the pepper and peel the aubergine. Chop the vegetables up well and mix through the lamb mixture, then remove from the heat and place to one side.

Take a 25cm (10-in) loose-bottom tart tin and grease it with a little olive oil. Lay a sheet of filo pastry in the tin and brush over some olive oil.

Place another sheet on top covering half the original square and leaving half as the overhang.

Repeat the process with 3 more sheets to make a cross shape. You may need to place a few more half sheets to fill in the gaps. Place the tin onto a baking sheet.

Mix the dried mint into the lamb mixture with a good grating of lemon zest and a little lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case, spread it out and crumple up the overhanging pastry around the edges to form a crust. Brush the crust with a little more olive oil and place in the oven to bake on the lowest shelf for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.

When the tart is ready, remove it from the oven and scatter over the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and sumac. Finish with the parsley and mint leaves and the remaining lemon cut into wedges.

Posh Tarts by Phillippa Spence (£12.99, Quadrille) is out now

Photography: Faith Mason

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.