Broccoli, leeks, walnuts – they’re all perfectly respectable ingredients, but not exactly irresistible on their own.
But if you combine them, add plenty of garlic, top them with melted smoked cheese, and serve them in a golden shortcrust pastry case… you get a seriously delicious vegetarian tart. This smoked cheese and broccoli tart is utter magic!
This is one of those meals that just keeps you going back for more. You know – ‘I’m just going to cut one more sliver, to even things out’. And before you know it, you’ve eaten half the tart.
I love how versatile this tart is. I like to have it for dinner one night with roast potatoes and gravy, and then serve the leftovers cold with salad the next day. It’s great in a lunchbox, or as an appetiser for a dinner party… It truly is the tart of all tarts.
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It makes getting an extra portion of vegetables into your day really easy.
- It’s so versatile, and can be served in all sorts of different ways.
- The flavours are unreal! Buttery sautéed leeks with slightly bitter walnuts is such a wonderful combination.
- Although it takes a little longer to prepare than most of my recipes, it’s not difficult – especially if you use shop-bought pastry.
- Shortcrust pastry is pretty forgiving, even if you don’t bake very often. And worst case, if it looks a little untidy, just call it ‘rustic’ (my usual technique!).
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe. You’ll also need a few cupboard staples, like oil, salt and pepper. See the printable recipe card below for detailed ingredient quantities.
- shortcrust pastry. You can make your own if you like (here’s a simple recipe), but I used a block of pre-made pastry. You can even buy it pre-rolled (though it’s usually cheaper in a block).
- smoked cheese – I used a simple smoked cheddar. If you can’t find smoked cheese, a nice extra mature cheddar would be good too.
- sour cream (you can swap this for milk, if you don’t have sour cream)
For this recipe, you will need a tart dish… or whatever it’s called. A tart tin? A flan pan? Call it what you will.
I prefer to use a metal tin, as it helps the pastry to crisp up underneath. A loose-bottomed tin is also a big help, as it makes it so easy to remove the tart from the dish once it’s cooked.
Here’s how to make this recipe – see below for the printable recipe with detailed ingredients and instructions.
Step 1: Roll out the pastry, and use it to line the pie tin. Weigh the pastry down in the centre (you can use baking beans if you have them; I usually just place a smaller cake tin in the centre), then bake until just beginning to firm up. Trim round the edge of the dish to neaten up the pastry.
Step 2: While the pastry is blind baking, fry off the broccoli and leeks with plenty of garlic.
Step 3: Thoroughly mix the eggs with some sour cream and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir in the grated smoked cheese. You can add a splash of milk too, if the mixture seems too thick.
Step 4: Time to assemble! Add the broccoli and leek mixture to the pastry case, and spread it out evenly. Scatter with the chopped walnuts.
Step 5: Pour the egg mixture over the top. The grated cheese will mostly settle on the top of the pie, and the egg will trickle through to the bottom. Bake until the egg is fully cooked and the cheese is crispy.
Step 6: Allow the tart to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove it from the pan. Serve warm or cold.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Blind baking is when you partially bake a pastry crust on its own, before adding the filling and returning it to the oven. This helps the pastry to begin crisping up, and stops it becoming soggy.
I’ve only tested this recipe using shortcrust pastry, and other types of pastry (e.g. puff or filo) will give quite a different end result. It will still be tasty though, so feel free to experiment!
Absolutely! If you’re just cooking for yourself, I would cook the tart fully, and then just reheat individual slices in the microwave as needed. Or, if you’re cooking for guests and you want the tart to be at its best, prepare the egg mixture, the broccoli mixture, and the pastry crust separately, and then just assemble and bake before serving.
Smoked Cheese and Broccoli Tart
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- Flour for rolling
- 250 g (~ 9 oz) shortcrust pastry
- ½ Tablespoon oil
- ½ Tablespoon butter
- 1 medium leek, sliced
- 300 g (~ ⅔ lb / 1 medium head) broccoli, cut into bitesize pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 100 g smoked cheddar, grated (~ 1 cup when grated)
- 30 g (~ ½ cup) walnut halves, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- On a floured surface, roll out the shortcrust pastry until it is large enough to line a 10 inch tart pan (a loose-bottomed pan is easiest!). Lightly grease the pan (I find a spray of oil is the easiest way), and gently lay the pastry over the top. Use a knuckle to gradually ease the pastry down into the corners of the pan. If you accidentally make a hole, just patch it up with another small piece of pastry.
- Trim any large overhangs of pastry. There’s no need to be too precise about it at this stage – I find it works best to neaten up the edges of the pastry after blind baking. For now, just cut off any excessive bits of pastry around the edges.
- Place a smaller cake tin (or similar) in the centre of the pan – this will stop the pastry from puffing up in the centre as it blind bakes. You can use baking beans instead, if you have them. Bake for around 15 minutes, until the pastry is just beginning to crisp up. Remove the second tin / baking beans.
- While the pastry is blind baking, you can begin to prepare the filling. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan, and add the chopped leek and broccoli. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until the leek has softened. Add the garlic for the final couple of minutes of cooking.
- Add the eggs and sour cream to a bowl, along with plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork, then add the grated cheese, and mix again. You may also need to add a splash of milk, if the mixture seems a bit thick – it should be pourable.
- When the pastry has finished blind baking, trim the edge of the pastry with a knife, using the edge of the tart pan as a guide. I find a serrated knife is easiest for this.
- Add the cooked leeks and broccoli to the pastry case, and spread them out into an even layer. Scatter the chopped walnuts on top, then pour over the egg mixture. Most of the grated cheese will settle on the top of the vegetables, while the egg sinks through.
- Return to the oven for a further 25-30 minutes, until the egg has set and the cheese is golden brown and crispy. Allow it to cool for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and serve.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.