Wonderful food, a warm welcome and a beautiful location.

An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven

In this woodfired workshop, David is cooking a fabulous open tomato tart with a crispy puff pastry base – no soggy bottom – and delicious, intense, basil scented tomatoes; heaven on a plate, literally! Do check out the video here where he’ll show you how to cook it and the recipe is below. Happy cooking!


 An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven


1 sheet ready made puff pastry about 30x20cm

1/2 red onion, peeled and very finely sliced

3tbsp olive oil

1tbsp pesto

An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven

Isle of Wight Tomatoes

300g small or cherry tomatoes, cut in half (we used some from a mixed box from the Tomato Stall)

Salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

Oven State, equipment etc

4-5 Mississippi, about 225C

Heat deflector

Door, on but ajar to let the moisture out and let the tomatoes dry out

Teflon sheet


  • Toss the finely sliced onion in 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil and mix the pesto with half of the rest of the oil.
  • Unroll the pastry and put it on a Teflon sheet. Using a sharp knife and a ruler (if you need to), score a rectangle around the outside of the pastry sheet about 1.5cm in from the edges.
  • Spread the pesto mixture on the pastry but leaving the bit outside the scoring clear so it can rise up in the oven.
  • Sprinkle the onions over the pesto.

    An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven

    Onions topping the pesto – mind the gap!


  • Arrange the tomato halves over the top with the cut sides facing up, in a geometric pattern or randomly, whichever you prefer.

    An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven

    Perfectly arranged!


  • Brush the bare pastry margin with a little of the beaten egg.
  • Make sure the oven is ready by moving the embers behind the heat deflector and clearing the floor. Use your large peel to pick up the pastry on the Teflon sheet and put it in the oven.
  • Put the door on but leave it ajar so the moisture from the tomatoes can escape.

    An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven

    Door kept ajar with a handy bit of wood!


  • Bake the tart for 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown, crispy and risen and the tomatoes are cooked through. Turn the tart round 180 degrees to ensure even cooking and if your embers are too hot, add another heat deflector to protect the sides of the tart (or be ready with a sharp knife to cut off any edges that are too dark!)
  • If the tomatoes could dry out some more, leave the door off the oven once the pastry is cooked so the moisture can evaporate easily. This will bring the air temperature down to around 100C so won’t cook that pastry any more.

    An Open Tomato Tart from the Woodfired Oven

    Door off to dry the tomatoes


  • Serve hot or cold for lunch, supper or brunch or in a picnic.


  • If you want to make the tart vegan, use a vegan pastry and instead of pesto, make an oil with basil leaves, olive oil, finely grated lemon zest and some pine nuts – ie pesto without the Parmesan. Also leave off the egg wash.
  • You can use shortcrust pastry but the puff pastry does come out fantasically light and crispy.
  • We have used small tomatoes as we think sliced large ones would make the pastry soggy.
  • Change the basil flavour for other herbs – chives, chervil, tarragon, oregano, parsley. Just make a herb oil as above.

Wine suggestion

Suzie from Michael Sutton’s Cellar has nailed it again by suggesting a cheeky Italian for a red wine like a Valpolicella or a herbaceous white like Vermentino.