Stilton and fig tart with walnut dressing

These elegant tarts are a light but tasty alternative to sandwiches and work well alongside a pot of tea
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This light and tasty fig tart is the perfect summer picnic food


* 275g all-butter shortcrust pastry (ready made in pack)
* plain flour for dusting
* 25g salted butter
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 sprig of fresh thyme plus extra to garnish
* 2 medium eggs
* 75ml double cream
* Freshly grated nutmeg
* 2 fresh figs, each sliced into nine wedges
* 50g Cropwell Bishop Stilton cheese crumbled
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3 tbsp walnut oil
* 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
* 25g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
* watercress to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ gas mark 6.

2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board and use to line six 10cm round, loose-bottomed tart tins. Prick each base all over and chill for 15 minutes.

3. Melt the butter in a pan. Cook the onion with the thyme sprig over a low heat for 15–20 minutes. Cover the pastry in each tin with greaseproof paper with baking beans for weight and bake for 10–15 minutes.

4. Remove the beans and paper and continue to cook for five minutes until the base feels dry to the touch. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

5. Discard the thyme sprig and spread the onion over the base of the tart. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream and season well with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the tarts.

6. Top each tart with three slices of fig and scatter over the Stilton. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and cooked through. Cool for at least 10 minutes.

7. Whisk together the oils, vinegar and walnuts and season. Put a tart on each plate, drizzle with the dressing and garnish with watercress and a few thyme sprigs.

Recipe adapted from the book 'Tea at Fortnum & Mason 'published by Ebury Press, £10, hardback.

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