A colourful pastry: a French routine with Greek flavours

I made this up on the telephone. An old friend had organised a picture shoot of his home for Belle magazine. The shoot was to include a few restaurateurs and me, and our food. My job was to provide the entree. I wanted something which would work in pictures, as well as flavour. I was thinking Greek, and I was thinking French, and this tart — derived from the classic French jam tart, but using predominantly Greek flavours — tumbled out. It is marvellous.

2 (400g) tins of tomatoes, the tomatoes chopped roughly — Obviously, use fresh in season.

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

2 chillies, finely chopped

bunch of fresh English spinach

250g goat’s cheese

50g pine nuts, or more to taste


black pepper

1kg puff pastry

3 tablespoons chopped chives

egg wash (1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon water)


Place the tomatoes, garlic and chillies in the microwave and cook down until the mixture has reached the consistency of a thick sauce. Remove, puree and allow to cool. The mixture should be thick enough to be spreadable but without extra moisture seeping through.


Steam the spinach until cooked, either in a steamer or in the microwave. Allow to cool and squeeze out any excess water.


Put the spinach in a whizzer with the goat’s cheese, half the pine nuts, and salt and black pepper to taste. Puree, then set aside.


Roll out the puff pastry to make a long rectangle about 30cm x 40cm. With a very sharp knife cut four sheets 30cm x 10cm (two for bases, two for tops). Put the bases onto the baking tray. Divide the tomato puree over each base until it is about 2cm from each edge, then spoon the cheese and spinach puree down the middle of each. Sprinkle with pine nuts and plenty of chives and black pepper.


For the tops, fold the pastry in half along its length and make cuts along the length, about a centimetre apart, creating a lattice effect. Brush the edges of the pastry base with a little water and place the tops on gently, making sure they cover the mixture and sit neatly on the bases. Crimp the edges with the back of a fork and brush the tops and sides with egg wash.


Bake for 30–35 minutes at 195°C. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve in 5cm thick slices, on a little tomato puree.

WINE: A good New Zealand sauvignon blanc would be nice.