Pea and Smoked Ham Tart with Parmesan parsnips


This is a pleasingly alternative and delicious use of Christmas leftovers after exhausting the usual recipes with the turkey. My brief from the family for dinner was a light, fresh but tasty meal after a heavy week of Christmas delights, rich meats and glasses of guilt. So, with a fridge full or assorted cheeses, a cooked smoked ham and a few of our giant allotment parsnips that were looking very sorry for themselves, I enthusiastically took up the mission.

Cheesey Shortcrust pastry

  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 150g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 70g cheddar cheese, grated plus and reserved handful
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cold water


  • 250g frozen peas
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g creme fraiche
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard (optional)
  • A few large handfuls of smoked ham, cubed or flaked into pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Splash of milk
  1. Begin with the pastry. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a food processor, combine all the pastry ingredients, except the water, and blitz to form a breadcrumb-like texture. Or rub the butter into the flour by hand.
  2. Tip out into a bowl and add cold water, spoonful by spoonful, and mix in with a knife until you have a mixture that forms a dough when your gently press together with your hands. Form a ball of dough.
  3. Roll into a disc shape, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, line a tart tin (I used one about 23cm wide but use whatever is to hand) with parchment and butter the sides. This recipe in my case lined two tart tins so I made two and froze one for another time.
  5. After 30 minutes, thinly roll out your pastry on a floured surface and use it to line the tin, pressing the pastry up the sides. Prick all over with a fork to prevent it rising up while baking.
  6. Line the tine with parchment and fill snugly with baking beans or rice if your don’t have any beans.
  7. Blind bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are golden.
  8. Remove the beans and parchment and bake for another 5-10minutes until the base is cooked and crisp. Brush with a bit of beaten egg to seal the fork pricks and return for 1 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.
  9. Make the filling. Boil the peas for a few minutes until cooked. Drain and cool thoroughly with cold water.
  10. Reserve a handful of the peas and puree the rest in a processor or mash with a fork until you form a coarse paste. Add the lemon juice, seasoning, mustard, eggs and creme fraiche. Blitz again in the processor to mix thoroughly.
  11. Add a splash or so of milk to form a texture that is loose but not too watery, a bit like custard.
  12. Sprinkle the base of the pre-baked tart case with the flaked ham and the reserved whole peas.
  13. Fill this with the egg custard until distributed evenly and full but making sure it dose not overflow the edges of the pastry case. You may not need it all.
  14. Scatter over the remaining grated cheddar and bake in the oven at 190°C for about 25-30 minutes until the middle is cooked and set.
  15. Grate over a bit of lemon zest and serve with a green salad and some crispy baked Parmesan coated parsnips in my case….!


Parmesan Parsnips

  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into batons shaped
  • 200g brown bread crumbs
  • 100g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Handful of flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Sunflower oil or light olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C
  2. Boil the parsnips in water for about 4-5 minutes until tender and soft when pierced with a knife but still with a bit of resistance.
  3. Drain and allow to steam for a few minutes.
  4. Set up 3 bowls. Fill one with seasoned flour, another with beaten egg and the third with the breadcrumbs combined with the grated cheese.
  5. When the parsnips have cooled slightly, dip into the flour, then the beaten egg and finally coat in the breadcrumb mix.
  6. Repeat this with the remaining parsnips and place them on a lined baking tray.
  7. Drizzle generously with sunflower oil and bake in the oven, turning halfway through, for 30 minutes until crisp and golden