How to Make a Savoury Tart

I call them tarts, others say flan, some say quiche. Whatever you call it a pastry shell filled with a few savoury ingredients and a mixture of cream and eggs makes a very good meal.

This is the  Basic Formula for an 8 inch (20cm) Tart which will amply feed four

short crust pastry made with 8 oz plain flour, 4 oz fat and about 2-3 tablespoons of cold water baked blind in a tart tin for 15 mins at 200°c (180°c fan) 
a selection of cooked vegetables, bacon, ham, chicken, smoked fish, cheese 
half a pint (or 300ml) cream and 2 or 3 eggs

Baked for 30-40 minutes at 180°c (160°c fan)

The Pastry

It's a matter of personal choice what fat you use for your pastry. I like half butter and half lard -butter for flavour, lard for shortness.

For my family I make 10 inch tarts and increase the pastry quantities to 10 oz flour and 5 oz fat.
Just remember that you need twice as much flour as fat and you'll be able to make as little or as much pastry as you want. Extra pastry can be frozen or made into jam tarts, little savoury tarts or pasties.

I make my pastry in the food processor blending the fat and flour for about 20 seconds until breadcrumby. Then I add water through the funnel while the machine is running until it forms a ball. Pastry should really be rested in the fridge for about 20 minutes before rolling to make it easier to manage. I'm too impatient for that and roll it straight away. If it cracks and tears I patch it up with spare bits of pastry. I roll it round my rolling pin and transfer it to my tart tin easing it gently down the sides so that it doesn't stretch too much. Then I rest it in the fridge for 20 minutes.

A word about tart tins.
Tart tins do not have to be fluted nor do they have to be round, but they must be metal or your pastry will not crisp.

Next bake the tart shell blind, that is, without filling so that the pastry sets preventing the finished tart becoming a soggy mess.To do this prick the bottom all over with a fork before lining it with a piece of foil and pouring baking beans (or dried beans or coins) in to stop the pastry from rising up in the oven. 
Bake for 15 minutes at 200°c (180° fan oven). While it is in the oven you can start preparing the filling.


Now the creative bit. All sorts of things can go in a tart. I usually choose two things plus some cheese. Simply scatter your ingredients in the tart shell and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Meat and fish
cooked bacon, ham, cold cooked sausages, cooked chicken or turkey, cooked or tinned salmon, tuna, smoked haddock, kippers, smoked salmon or mackerel.

courgette, mushroom, peppers, onions, leeks. Cook these first in butter or olive oil.
asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, sweetcorn, peas. Steam or boil first.

Any cheese is excellent in a tart (apart from cottage cheese which really isn't excellent in anything). Cheese is by no means mandatory but it is good.

Good combinations

bacon, sweetcorn and cheddar
onion and gruyère
tomato and goat's cheese
cauliflower and stilton (walnuts would be a good addition)
sweetcorn and ham
leek and bacon
mushroom and ham
chicken and sweetcorn
smoked haddock and parmesan
salmon and asparagus
sausage and leek
smoked salmon and cream cheese
courgette, pepper and feta

Above bacon and sweetcorn, below courgette and ham. Both had double Gloucester with chives sprinkled on top.

The custard

Half a pint or 300ml of cream plus 2 or 3 eggs will set an 8 inch tart to good consistency. For a 10 inch tart I use 3 eggs and 350ml of cream. You can add a couple more eggs if you like for a thicker and firmer filling. Precise quantities are not critical.

You can use single or double cream. I invariably use half double cream and half milk. You can also use a mix of crème fraîche or yogurt and milk. In a pinch you can use all milk although I'd recommend whole milk.

Beat the eggs and cream together with a fork in a jug, season with black pepper and a little salt bearing in mind how much salty bacon, ham or cheese you have used. Add some chopped herbs too if you like, I have used chives in the picture below.

Pour the cream and eggs carefully into the tarts. It may be best to set the tart of a baking sheet on the oven shelf first to do this so that you don't have to lift the liquid-filled tart into the oven. Don't over-fill your tart, you want it to be about half a centimetre below the top of the pastry.

Bake for 30- 40 minutes until firm and golden at 180°c (160°c fan).
Tarts are best eaten warm or at room temperature. They are hard to cut and serve when very hot.

What is your favourite tart or quiche filling?



  1. For me it has to be Cheese and Onion, in any of it's disguises .... Goats Cheese and/or Feta and Red Onion is the absolute best, but I'm equally happy with all the little bits of cheese that you have over at the end of the week in the bottom of the fridge, grated together and mixed with white or spring onion :-)

    Mediterranean Veggies make a good filling too with Parmesan sprinkled on top.... see now you've got me thinking of food when I'm supposed to be being good!!

  2. Anonymous12:42 pm BST

    Thank you for doing this. When I seen the tart you put up yesterday I did a google for a generic basic filling, one which I could modify and everything came up different, so this is a great help. Will be making one this weekend for sure.


  3. Looks lovely - and you have covered every flavour too!
    Julie xxxxxx

  4. Yummy! Something I've meant to try making but haven't got round to, yet! Will definitely use your recipe when I do...

  5. What great, informative post. I love to make these (I usually call it quiche) and the whole family enjoys them.

  6. "...apart from cottage cheese which really isn't excellent in anything". Excellent quote!

  7. mushroom, or cheese and onion, or whatever is in the fridge! And I am like you, I don't rest my pastry in the fridge - I always feel, ok it is now rested, but twice as hard to roll out because it has chilled!So I don't, and I never worry about a few tears or cracks - soon mended and none the worse for it!

    1. Exactly Lynne, it's always so hard to roll out of the fridge.

  8. Anonymous6:33 pm BST

    Thanks for the recipes Sue!! I put the coffee ice cream one on a sticky note for the fridge and shall print the tart one. Judy

  9. I'll eat any quiche filling so long as it has plenty of cheese. I always feel a bit ripped off if someone serves me a quiche without cheese. And I absolutely love corn but, strangely enough, none of the rest of my family will eat corn unless it's on the cob. I keep trying to explain that it's the same thing, but they keep insisting it's different somehow.

  10. I'll eat any one of those flavor combinations you mention here. Probably bacon and ham would be my favorite meats, the fish less so. But, I wouldn't pass them up were they served to me. I also lean towards the green vegs and less so corn, cauliflower and eggplant, but, again, wouldn't refuse them. Mushrooms and onions are great. And cheese is sublime. Without, a bit spartan.
    Every time I bake a quiche, or something similar, I am reminded that my oven is listing to one side and nothing baked evenly, but the effort involved in correcting this is too great.
    Here's a dumb question from an American--do you eat corn on the cob in the UK? I bought extras last time corn on the cob was on sale and cut it off to freeze it. It tastes so much better than the stuff I usually buy from Aldi, I have to remember to do it again. Worth the work. I discovered a tip on YouTube about resting the end of the cob on the top of a bundt pan and cutting the kernels off so they fall into the pan. Slap forehead. So simple.

    1. Yes we do eat corn on the cob here but homegrown corn is only available in late summer. I buy it when I see it. Presumably it is grown on a much larger scale in the States?

  11. my favourite is onion tart - there is a fab recipe in The Art of the Tart (which is a book I just love).

  12. Anonymous8:28 pm BST

    Shrimp and feta cheese, with oregano in the custard. Spinach and smoked salmon is also good, and I must admit that I like tomatoes and cottage cheese (topped with cheddar, of course :o)

  13. the 12 year old boy surprised me last week by requesting broccoli in the quiche I was making! I like feta cheese and tomato best. My mother in law always puts peas in her's and then is confused when we call it pea quiche........

  14. We had a flan without the pastry tonight. I am desperately trying to think up ways to eat all of our broccoli. So, onions, gently softened and a few fresh herbs went into the dish with the blanched broccoli and some stilton cheese. Custard poured in and some parmesan grated on top. Served with some new potatoes and roasted cherry tomatoes. Very tasty.

  15. Sue, your recipe and suggestions for additions to the eggy mix are so clearly stated. Many thanks to you and also to the previous commenters who've supplied lots of ideas of what to add.

    Alas, although we have gotten a bit of a temperature break here in NYC, with the temperature dropping about 20 degrees F down to the lower 80's, it's still just too darn hot for me to start up my oven. Tonight's supper was a pasta concoction that sort had ratatouille meeting tortellini with parmesan freshly grated on top. Tastes good and uses lots of seasonal veg.


  16. These look mouth wateringly delicious !

    When I first met husband to be, he was skipper on a charter yacht in Antigua. I was no cook but did cook for a few day charters serving homemade quiche from a Delia Smith recipe book.

    Making pastry in that heat was a challenge as I'd always been taught to keep it cool... but they turned out well !

    My grandmother had large, cool hands & a marble slab worktop & was a great pastry maker !

  17. Caroline5:48 pm BST

    Sue, thank you so much for taking the time to put this post together. I can't begin to tell you how all the little details are so important for someone like me who knows nothing! I'm going to have a go at making a chicken and ham tart. Quick question - do you use 'off the bone' ham?

    I don't know if you remember me commenting a while back, but I've chucked in the full time teaching job and I'm on a mission to provide better food for my family! Thanks to your blog I've got lots of inspiration :-)

    1. Any ham at all will do. For this particular tart I used a handy pack of chopped ham from Waitrose.

      Good luck with your mission, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    2. Caroline9:21 am BST

      Thank you xx

  18. I had the most disappointing tart in a farm tea shop this week, it was almost solid cheese with a few bits of bacon and tomato in it. I did domplain. Yours look so much better.

  19. A really useful post, thank you Sue. I like asparagus and cheddar cheese, but I'm foreseeing a lot of courgette ones in my future.

  20. Thanks for the inspiration Sue. Followed your instructions and cooked a savoury tart for a couple of friends this evening - salmon and broad beans with a sprinkling of parmesan on the top. It was delicious - and no sign of a soggy bottom!

  21. Mmm - must make tart soon. Though I use pastry enriched with an egg yolk (also made in food processor - how easy - none of that hands too hot malarkey). Our favourite one is courgette, dill and pancetta.

    I can never get a good result in my oven with baking beans though. I've given up on them, so now I just make a foil snake to support the edges and prick the bottom like mad.

  22. This looks a lot simpler than I ever suspected, thank you! I really want to begin making pies and flans and such, but always thought it would be hideously complicated. I might have a go with some aubergines and feta I have been avoiding due to lack of inspiration.

  23. Thank you, thank you.
    As ever - a sensible and useful post on how to cook something pretty simple, but bloody lovely. I find your style of recipes dumbed down in the nicest way - easy to follow, and with common sense thrown in by a proper woman who cooks for a proper family. When you say it is simple - I believe you.
    I have just pulled from the oven a tuna and red onion tart using your recipe and advice, which Oliver has just sniffed and dribbled over, ever so slightly.
    Boy will HE be pissed off when he finds out it's not for him.
    Keep up the proper sensible blogging.

    1. Thank you so much Janice, your comment has made me feel very good about blogging.

  24. I also just remembered that I didn't prick my bottom.

    Ooer Missus.

    If it's soggy when I cut into it I will spit and foam at the mouth with ill-disguised fury at my folly. It ain't going to be pretty.

  25. Delicious and sensible advice, thank you. I've never pricked the bottom of my tarts but I shall try that and see if it helps my somewhat soggy bases.

  26. Fabulous post Sue

    Pastry ... ages since I made any when I stop to think, but when I do I always use my hands ... all the women in my family have pastry hands, in other words cold ones.

    And my favourite filling ... flaked smoked salmon and dill, with something cheesy in the mix :)

  27. Your instructions are excellent. To enhance the flavour of a savoury tart such as these, add a teaspoon of mustard to the pastry. Sometimes I add herbs, but the touch of mustard is a real winner.

  28. Anonymous3:07 pm BST

    Just wanted to say thank you very much for this - I made a red onion, bacon and courgette quiche over the weekend and it worked really well. Many thanks for the clear instructions!

  29. you might have convinced to try my own pastry instead of buying ready made rolled one... ahem ahem... AND a metal tin? is that where I've been going wrong all this time?


    I might have to print this post and frame it in my kitchen. Thank you.

  30. Oh Sue, what a post! I want to try all of these combinations. Especially the fishy ones. I don't make quiche often as I am not very confident with pastry. - silly I know, but it always goes wrong and I avoid recipes that are pastry based. So I buy ready made if I remember. You've inspired me to get quiche making! x

  31. Anonymous10:23 am BST

    Hi Sue, Wondering if you have decided to go camping with the family this year!!

  32. Anonymous1:15 pm BST

    Fresh basil and cherry tomato quiche is top of my list! Haven't made it yet this year, the basil is growing well but I need the toms to ripen up a bit more first, either that or buy a punnet. It's incredibly delicious, with a bit of dijon mustard brushed over the pasrty and a mix of gruyere and cheddar cheeses. I always bake in metal tins placed on a baking sheet too, it really helps the pastry to stay crisp.

  33. Anonymous11:39 pm BST

    i want to eat dinner at your place. ~ sign me tired


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