Sweet Pepper and Tomato Tart with Cheese Pastry

Rich in colour and flavour, this tart can be served with one or two accompanying vegetable dishes as the main course of a vegetarian meal or as a warm first course for eight people. For convenience, you can make it ahead and reheat it.

Ingredients

  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400 g/14 oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-5 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 small yellow pepper
  • salt

For the pastry

  • 175 g/6 oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 75 g/3 oz butter
  • 50 g/2 oz strong Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl, cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour with your fingers until the mixture is like breadcrumbs. Then stir in the grated cheese with a knife. Add a very little cold water, stirring until the dough just begins to stick together. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Cut the red peppers in half lengthways and discard the seeds and stems. Put the halves, skin-side upwards, under a hot grill until the skin is blackened. Then peel off the skin under cold running water and cut the peppers into 2.5cm/1 in pieces. Peel the garlic and chop it finely. Crush the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and crushed coriander seeds and stir for a minute or so. Then add the red peppers and tinned tomatoes. Stir in the tomato purée. Pull the rosemary leaves off their stalks, chop roughly and add to the tomato mixture. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, then increase the heat and let the mixture bubble strongly for a minute or two, until it is fairly thick. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt, cayenne pepper and the caster sugar. Turn the mixture into a wide dish and leave until cold.

Butter a 25 cm/10 in loose-based fluted flan tin. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use to line the tin. Turn the overlapping edges over double but leave the top edge a little above the rim. Refrigerate until you are ready to cook the tart.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and spread it level. Now cut the yellow pepper open lengthways, discard the seeds and stem and slice as thinly as possible lengthways. Fan the slices out in a starburst shape in the centre of the pie. Cook in the centre of the oven for 25-35 minutes, until richly browned in patches.