04 January 2015

Ham & Spinach Tart

Happy New Year! 

May your coming year be filled with magic & dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to makes some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself".
Neil Gaiman

So far Auckland has put on a spectacular 2015. Sunshine & summer, as always, worth the wait.  In fact perhaps the wait makes us a little more appreciative of these beautiful days.

Along with beautiful sunny days the hamathon continues & the mountain gets a little smaller day by day. It may resemble a hill by next week!  It continued the other day with this tart. And this one is a keeper....well if you like cheese.  And what kind of person doesn’t like cheese??  This is ham & cheese taken to a whole new level.

Ham & cheese – inseparable companions. There’s the classic; the humble ham & cheese sandwich.  Toasted & with a splash of Worcestershire sauce it’s even better. And perhaps not so humble in France or Spain or Italy; cooked ham & emmental in crunchy baguettes in France, a crusty roll with manchego & jamon in Spain & perhaps prosciutto & pecorino panini in Italy.  If you want to really push the boat out head to France where there’s Croque Monsieur; a little béchamel added to the mix & perhaps a little Dijon.  That not enough for you try Croque Madame with the fried egg on top.

Ham & Spinach Tart, adapted from Jamie At Home

Quantities changed to suit my pie case & cheddar instead of Parmesan which made it ever so cheesy!


1/2 recipe savoury short crust pastry – see below.
A knob of butter
Olive oil
1 red onion, peeled & chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled & chopped
200g / 6oz spinach (you can also use nettles, Swiss chard or borage), washed, thick stems removed
A few sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
Salt  & pepper
200g / 6oz crème fraîche
75g / 2.5oz cheddar cheese
2 eggs
100g / 3oz ham, diced


First, make your pastry (recipe below), wrap it in plastic wrap & rest it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Get the pastry out & roll it with a rolling pin between 2 sheets of baking paper* until about ½  centimetre thick & big enough to line your tart tin with a centimetre or so of an overhang. This was enough for my rectangle case (350mm x 110mm), but you can use round or any shape you like.

*avoids a floury mess!

Grease the tart tin & pop in the pastry. Press in to the tart tin & trim most of the excess off the edges, leaving a centimetre or so overhang. Prick the pastry all over with a fork & chill in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F.

Remove the tart from the fridge & blind bake your pastry crust with rice or baking beans for 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Next, heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan & gently fry the onions on a low heat for 10 minutes until they're soft, sweet & translucent. 

Turn up the heat to medium & add the garlic, the spinach (in batches if your pan isn't big enough) & most of the marjoram. Season with a little salt & pepper & give it a good stir. Take the pan off the heat when the spinach has wilted; this will only take a couple of minutes. Set aside.

Next for the filling; place the crème fraîche into a bowl, stir in the grated cheddar, eggs & a pinch of salt & pepper.  Mix well together & set aside. To assemble the tart spread the spinach mixture over the bottom of your pastry case. Scatter over the ham & spoon the cheese mixture evenly over the top, smoothing it out with the back of the spoon & make sure it fills the whole pastry case. Scatter over the rest of the marjoram & pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbly & golden on top & the filling just set.

Jamie’s Best Ever Savoury Short Crust Pastry*

*have to agree here it is the best savoury pastry I’ve made.  Cheese like bacon makes just about everything better.

**tip….for shortcrust pastry – half fat to flour


500g / 18oz all-purpose /plain flour
200g / 7oz butter
50g / 2oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 eggs, beaten
A splash of milk
A little flour for dusting


Place the flour, butter, cheese & a pinch of salt into a food processor & pulse for 20-30 seconds, until the mixture is crumbly & fine. I used my trusty Russell Hobbs that did the job in no time at all.  Add the thyme leaves or your chosen flavouring….you could add paprika, pepper, lemon zest, rosemary, a little cayenne, a pinch of chilli flakes…endless options!
Pour in the eggs & add the milk. Pulse for a few more seconds until the mixture comes together; just together as you want to work the pastry as little as possible. Scoop your pastry dough out of the food processor & onto a clean, floured work surface & pat it a few times to make it more compact don't be tempted to knead it, again we want to work it as little as possible. When you have a flat round, wrap the dough in a plastic wrap & place it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

This is quite rich! Possibly an understatement…but oh my if you like cheese & ham this could be the definition of divine! And you can always have a little salad on the side with a sharp vinaigrette for balance. It will also help cut the richness of the tart! Crumbly, savoury, cheesy pastry & then the rich creamy cheese filling laden with that Christmas ham, oh & there’s a little spinach too.  See balance 😊


*For all things Russell Hobbs head over here.


  1. Just had to make this again after all that talk about it and it did not disappoint. Love the herby crust and filling.

  2. Happy New Year, Mairi - hope it doesn't take you too long to get through the "ham mountain" :-) This tart looks like a great way to progress the problem - no better combination really than ham, cheese and pastry - looks fabulous.


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