Beef and Red Onion Tarts with Watercress Pesto

SERVES: 6-8Beef and Red Onion Tarts with Watercress Pesto

PREP TIME: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes chilling time

COOKING TIME: 35-40 minutes



  • 375g/12oz lean beef mince
  • 1 x 500g pack prepared short crust pastry
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz fresh peas
  • Salt and freshly milled
  • black pepper
  • 5 large eggs, beaten

 For the Watercress Pesto:

  • 75g/3oz watercress leaves, rinsed or left-over mixed green leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 75g/3oz mature grated hard cheese, e.g Cheddar
  • 50g/2oz walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • 90ml/6tbsp extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil

Salad leaves, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6, 200°C/400°F.
  2. Roll out the pastry to 5mm/¼inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and use to line six to eight 12cm/5inch loose-bottomed tartlet tins.  Prick the bases with a fork and chill for 10 minutes.
  3. Line the tartlet tins with greaseproof paper and a handful of baking beans (or dried pasta shapes).  Bake on a shallow baking tray for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the paper and beans, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is dry.  Set aside to cool on the tray. Reduce the oven temperature to Gas mark 4, 180°C/350°F.
  4. To prepare the pesto; place all the ingredients except the oil in a blender or food processor and blend together.  Slowly add the oil until a paste is formed.  Season.
  5. Heat a large, shallow, non-stick frying pan until hot and dry fry the mince and onion for 5-7 minutes until brown.  Season, cool slightly and add the peas and 45ml/3tbsp of the pesto, reserving the remainder. Spoon the beef mixture evenly between the tartlet tins before adding the beaten eggs, taking care not to overfill the tins.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining pesto and salad leaves.