Pumpkin & haloumi tarts

Pumpkin & haloumi tarts

Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How it is at Home
Patricia Niven

MR: A quintessential menu item at Pope Joan, the idea came from my head chef at the time and friend Jason Newton in 2012 after we did an event where the dessert was an American-style sweet pumpkin tart with liquorice ice cream. A friend of Jason’s and his partner, Rhani, was doing an internship for a law firm in New Orleans acting as a defendant for people on death row and the original recipe came from one of the defendant’s mothers. It was so sickly sweet but after a little tinkering to make it savoury, here is the result.


Quantity Ingredient
1 frozen butter puff pastry sheet, thawed and cut into 4 equal-sized squares
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
300g jap or kent pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
50g salted butter
2 free-range eggs, plus 1 extra if needed (see Tip)
100ml cream
2 tablespoons full-fat milk powder (optional)
80g haloumi, finely diced
dressed salad leaves or fried free-range eggs, to serve (optional)
The Mrs’ toasted couscous salad, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

    Use the puff pastry squares to line four individual 12 cm pie tins, rolling the pastry out to make sure the edges hit the rims of the tins if necessary. Fork the pastry at the bottom, then line each pie case with baking paper and cover with baking beads or rice. Bake blind for 8–10 minutes, remove the beads and paper and bake again for 2–4 minutes, or until the pastry is dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

    Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium–low heat. Add the pumpkin, onion, ras el hanout and butter, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.

    Tip the cooked pumpkin mixture into a food processor, add the eggs, cream and milk powder, if using, and blitz until smooth. Press the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps, then spoon it evenly into the four tart cases. Divide the haloumi chunks between the tarts, return to the oven and bake for a further 18–20 minutes, until the filling is set and the top is golden.

    Serve the tarts on their own, with a little green salad or the Mrs’ toasted couscous salad, or topped with a fried egg.


  • The milk powder here is optional but it definitely gives the filling a creamier texture, so add another egg to the mix if you choose to leave it out.
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