Romanesco Cauliflower Tart

Summer is my favourite time to experiment in the kitchen. With the warmer weather and happy faces the excuse to dine outdoors with my family and friends won't escape me!

Organising a dinner party doesn't need to be fancy though. There's something I love about rustic living, it has a way of bringing people all together and back to their roots. So a patch of grass, a blanket and a few pillows can make for the best of dinner parties and for mine I'm taking these delicious Romanesco Cauliflower Tarts.

I take no credit for the recipe, as it comes from the foodie specialists as The Soil Association*, but they make a truly delicious centre piece I can't wait to share with my family and friends.

If you fancy hosting your own picnic party this summer check out the recipe below and get cooking!

For these sumptuous Romanesco Cauliflower Tarts you are going to need:


1 batch shortcrust pastry, chilled, (see recipe below)

1 organic romanesco cauliflower, cut into little florets (remove the stalk, but save it to roast another time)

3 organic eggs

150g organic Pecorino, Gruyere or other similarly potent hard cheese, finely grated

30g organic parmesan, finely grated, plus more to finish

30ml double organic cream

150ml organic whole milk

pinch red chilli flakes

salt & freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment

12-hole muffin tin

For the pastry 

225g organic plain flour 
120g unsalted organic butter 

ice cold water 

butter, for greasing

plain flour, for dusting


To make the pastry, sift 225g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl, add 120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed, and lightly rub them into the flour until you have a breadcrumb consistency, or whizz the flour and salt briefly with the butter and lard in a food processor then transfer to a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water. Mix it in and gather the dough together with one hand to form a ball. If it’s too dry, add another tablespoon cold water a drop at a time until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease the muffin tin. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 2–3 mm thick and cut out rounds slightly bigger than the holes in the muffin tin. Line each hole with the pastry so that it’s level with the top of each hole.

Chill the pastry for 15 minutes, then use a fork to prick the base of each case. Line with pieces of baking parchment and fill with baking beans. (Scrunch up the baking parchment before you line each case and it will be more pliable and fit more snugly into the holes.) Bake ‘blind’ for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the beans and parchment, and bake for a further 3 minutes to avoid a soggy bottom. Remove from the oven (keep the oven on) and leave to cool while you make the filling.

Blanch the romanesco florets in salted boiling water for barely 1 minute – just until it turns bright green – and drain.

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the cheeses, cream, milk and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Divide the filling between the cooled pastry cases, leaving about 1 cm of space to add the romanesco and allow for the custard to expand.

Arrange the romanesco in the filling, keeping half of it above the filling for presentation (you want to see those gorgeous florets!) and grate over a little bit more Parmesan. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the custard is set and the pastry is golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.

And voila your beautiful individual tarts are ready for the road. Served with a simply tomatoe salad, spinach leaves and a healthy greek yoghurt (and maybe a cheeky bottle of prosecco) and you are all set for a rustic dinner party in the park.

I love this recipe and I really hope you do too. If you have an suggestions for recipes you'd like to see next on theasthinkings, or you have a favourite picnic show piece let me know in the comments below and share your ideas for this summer!

*This post has not been sponsored. All credit for the recipe goes to The Soil Association. The UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use and this recipe has been created by Rosie Birkett the Soil Association's BOOMBasador for this years Soil Association BOOM Awards 2017 -the UK’s only dedicated organic awards, celebrating all the businesses, producers and brands working so hard to produce food as it should be.

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