2 ratings

Nadiya Hussain's Ploughman's Cheddar and Onion Marmalade Tart

A trip to England yields a great recipe from a Prize Winning Baker

Short Crust Pastry with a shot of Paprika is covered in spicy onion marmalade and a rich cheddar custard. 

A couple of weeks ago, this reporter returned from “A Cheddar Odyssey”, an offering from Cheese Journeys, who, as their name implies, runs tours that combine Culture, Exploration and Cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.   It’s one of those trips that beguiles you long after you’ve come back down to earth and returned home.  The glories of the English countryside are punctuated with days of wonderful food, wine and drink, great companionship and unbelievable access to people whose lives are completely wrapped in creating superb cheese, ciders, charcuterie and even English wine. (See their link at the bottom of the page and plan your own Cheese Journey).

My first adventure began before I’d even arrived in England. Reviewing the Video offerings on Virgin Atlantic, I was delighted to find one of particular interest to me.  It starred Nadiya Hussain, the winner of the 3rd season of The Great British Baking Show, one of our must-see TV programmes.  Despite her name and her Muslim faith, Nadiya is resolutely English, born in Luton to Bangladeshi parents.   Her gift to baking is her use of ingredients from her culture.  She’s been so successful she was named one of England’s 500 Most Influential People by Debrett’s in 2017. She was even invited to bake a birthday cake to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90 birthday.

“Nadiya’s British Food Adventure” was an 8 part series on BBC where Hussain travelled all over Britain, visiting food producers and then cooking using ingredients she’d discovered on her travels.  The one that had me at hello is her recipe for “Ploughman’s Cheese Tart”.  Here she extolled the virtues of Cheddar and Pickle Relish in a tart shell she’d spiced with Paprika. Despite “Ploughman” implying some ancient roots, the traditional Ploughman’s Lunch of pub fame is a fairly modern phenomena.  In fact, it was invented by an affiliate of J Walter Thompson Advertising to sell more cheese when cheese had fallen out of favor in the 1950s.

“Nadiya’s British Food Adventure” (Michael Joseph 2018) showed up in the first bookstore I could find in Devonshire.  And there was her recipe.  I did alter it because pickles are prohibited in our kitchen. Instead I used a glorious Onion Marmalade that I’d bought at the very first Cheddar producer we visited. 

The Quicke Family have farmed the same 3000 acres since 1540. Mary Quicke is now its 14th generation cheese maker.  Not only had we met her, we’d dined with her and her husband, her daughter and her Marketing manager, Tom Chatfield, on our tour.  Since USDA strictly prohibits bringing cheese home in one’s luggage, it was quite a find to discover that Quicke’s Cheese is available at Murray’s Cheese Shop which sells it on-line.  Unfortunately, the Onion Marmalade is not.  But you can find any number of substitutes.  I’m about to experiment with Red Pepper Jelly. 

The dish most closely resembles a Quiche but one with a surprise sweetness between pastry and custard…that lovely marmalade.  It’s not at all hard to make once you’ve got the crust down.  Nadiya herself used store bought pastry dough but if I did that I’d be disowned.  Feel free to use it yourself.  But I’ve included a recipe for the short crust pastry. This is a wonderful lunch with a green salad.  It should be eaten lukewarm or cold.  Here is Nadiya’s recipe.  I’ve helped a little with grams and oz.  But the instructions were so wonderfully English, I left them exactly as they were written.  For more information on taking your own Cheddar Odyssey, go to www.cheesejourneys.com

Ready in
Max: 2H10
1H to 2H
(prepare time)
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


Try to use the best English Cheddar you can afford.  Substitute Onion Marmalade with Red Pepper Jelly, Fig Jam--whatever suits your palate.


For the Short Crust

  • 145 Grams Or 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1/4 Pound (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons Ice Water

For the Ploughman's Cheddar and Onion Marmalade Tart

  • 1 Tart Shell of Short Crust Pastry
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 150 Milliliters or 5 oz. Whole Milk
  • 200 Grams or 7 oz. of Onion Marmalade of any other jam you would serve with Cheddar Cheese
  • 250 Grams Aged Cheddar Cheese grated, preferably English and even better, Quicke's
  • Flour for dusting


For the Short Crust

Put flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Add butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.

To roll, lightly flour dough and counter. Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.

Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12-inch circle (refrigerate and save trimmings for patching). Lay dough loosely into a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, letting it relax a bit. Fold overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan so the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan. Refrigerate or freeze for an hour before pre-baking.

For the Ploughman's Cheddar and Onion Marmalade Tart

Preheat the oven to 180C/355F and put a baking tray in to heat up.

If using store-bough pastry, lay it on a work surface dusted with a little flour, sprinkle the paprika over and knead the pastry lightly until the paprika has been incorporated. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Dust the work surface with a little more flour and roll the pastry into a circle that will easily cover the 23cm/9in tin, about the thickness of a pound coin. Lay the pastry over the tin and press it into the edges, right into the grooves, leaving some overhanging.

Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with ceramic baking beans to cover the base. Put the lined tin on the preheated baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the paper and the baking beans and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden-brown. 

Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a jug with the milk. Spread the base of the tart shell with the marmalade over the base, sprinkle over the grated cheese evenly and pour in the egg mixture. Put the whole tray back in the oven on the middle shelf for 25–30 minutes, until the filling is set with just a very slight wobble in the middle.

Once the tart has cooled enough to handle, trim off the excess pastry using a sharp serrated knife. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The tart is best served warm or cold the next day.

Nutritional Facts
Calories Per Serving479
Total Fat36g55%
Vitamin A310µg34%
Vitamin B120.8µg13.4%
Vitamin B60.1mg5%
Vitamin D1µgN/A
Vitamin E1mg7%
Vitamin K4µg6%
Folate (food)33µgN/A
Folate equivalent (total)87µg22%
Folic acid32µgN/A
Niacin (B3)1mg7%
Riboflavin (B2)0.5mg29.4%
Thiamin (B1)0.2mg13.6%