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Pea and slow-cooked ham tarts, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

15 July 2009
Pea and slow-cooked ham tarts, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

Pea and slow-cooked ham tarts is of three recipes devised by chef Madalene Bonvini-Hamel to ensure fresh peas keep all their flavour and colour during their short season. INGREDIENTS (Serves six)

For the slow-cooked ham

  • 500g raw ham joint, tied
  • 1 large sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

For the short-crust pastry

  • 150g plain flour
  • 80g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50ml cold water

For the pea cream

  • 200g fresh garden peas, podded
  • 75ml double cream
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 10g grain mustard
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Coarse sea salt

To serve

  • Home-made salad cream 1. 6 pea pods, mizuna, lambs lettuce, pea tops
  • Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tbs mascarpone

Pea and ham tarts
Pea and ham tarts


Preheat the water bath to 80°C.

Tie the ham with string, place the ham into a clean vacuum bag with the bay leaf and thyme and seal the ham on hard vacuum.

Place the ham in the preheated water bath for 16 hours.

Once the ham is cooked, remove from the bag and flake the ham while it's warm.

Keep refrigerated until needed.


Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Cut the butter in small pieces and rub the butter to the flour with your fingertips. Add the cold water and use a pallete knife to cut the water into the flour. Work fast but do not overwork the pastry, as it will make it grey and stretchy.

Cover the pastry with cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry out 3-4mm think and use a 7cm in diameter cutter to cut six rounds.

Turn a muffin tray upside down; line the back of a muffin tray with the pastry rounds to shape the pastry cases. It does look rustic and different from the pristine perfect tarts.

Bake blind for 20 minutes.

While the tart cases are baking, make the pea cream.


Rinse the podded peas under cold running water. Blanch the peas for a few minutes in rapid boiling salted water, refresh.

Weigh the peas into the bowl of blender and add the seasoning and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add the cream, grain mustard and eggs, blend again until smooth. Pass the pea cream through a fine sieve.

Once the tart cases are cooked, reduce the heat to 120°C.

Turn the muffin tray the right way up and place the tart cases the right way up in their holes. Shred the ham and place a generous amount of ham into each tart case.

Pour the pea cream over the ham, until just under the rim of the pastry.

Place the baking tray with the tarts in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.

Test the tarts by gently giving the tray a knock with the back of your hand; it's done if there is still a very slight wobble.

Gently remove the tray from the oven and let the tarts cool on a cooling rack.


If your tart mixture was slightly aerated and has a white foamy top, run a blow torch flame over the top to blow the bubbles away. This gives your tart a shiny glaze.


Use a pastry brush to paint a line of home-made salad cream on to the serving plate. Place the tart on to the plate just off centre of the painted line, garnish with salad leaves such as mizuna, lambs lettuce and pea tops.

Cut a fresh pea pod in half to expose the fat, fresh crispy peas. Drizzle with cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Place a small quenelle of mascarpone on top of the pea and ham tart.

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