Just a few miles from our creamery is Alresford, a town famous for the watercress that grows in abundance along the chalk streams found there. If you ever happen to be in this beautiful part of the world, you can visit Alresford, travel by train on the Watercress Line or even attend the annual Watercress Festival, celebrating all things watercress. For those that are not local to us here in Hampshire and want to get in on the action, we have put together this wonderful Watercress and Tunworth Tart recipe. Watercress is in season from April through to October so this tart can be the perfect centrepiece for your picnic or garden party all summer long.
For the pastry
120g plain flour
60g salted butter
1 egg yolk
For the filling
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
100ml double cream
75ml whole milk
For the pesto
40g blanched almonds, lightly toasted
30ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
For the watercress pesto
- Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Combine your egg yolk with 2tbsp chilled water and using a metal spoon incorporate this into the butter and flour mixture. Bring your pastry together with your hands to form a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm and relax in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely slice your onion and melt some butter in a saucepan. Once the butter is foaming, add the onions and sweat with the lid on for 10-15 minutes or until golden and sticky. Add your crushed garlic and chopped watercress and cook for a further 2 minutes with no lid, this will ensure that any excess liquid is cooked off. Leave to one side to cool.
- Roll your pastry out to ½cm thickness and line your tart tin, pop back into the fridge to chill for a further 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 190°C.
- Line the inside of your tart tin with baking parchment and baking beads or alternatively you can used dried beans or rice. This will cook the pastry before you add your filling, ensuring you don’t have a soggy bottom. Bake your party for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans/rice and then cook for a further 5 minutes. I like to do an egg yolk wash at this stage and set in the oven for 2 minutes before adding the filling.
- Whilst your pastry is baking, whisk your egg, additional egg yolk, milk and cream. Season with some salt and white pepper.
- Turn your oven down to 130°C. Once your pastry is baked you can add your watercress and onion filling to the base. Top with your Tunworth, cut or torn into pieces and spread evenly across the bottom. Pour your egg mixture over the watercress and Tunworth and bake in the oven for 45-1hr until you have a set wobble.
- Whilst your tart is baking, make your pesto. Toast your almonds in a pan or in the oven until golden brown and leave to cool. In a pestle and mortar grind the almonds and watercress. Add a splash of lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt and lots of black pepper.
- Once your tart is out of the oven, leave to cool and serve with your watercress pesto.