20ml extra virgin olive oil
2 large brown onions, finely sliced
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
cloves black garlic (optional)
4 large-ish (about 600g) just-ripe, flavourful tomatoes
4 × 60g eggs
¾ cup (180ml) milk
130ml pure cream (or crème fraîche)
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup packed chopped herbs (ideally include French tarragon, basil and chives), or more to taste
120g soft goat’s cheese or marinated feta
small herb leaves, to garnish (optional)
1½ cups (225g) plain flour
100g tasty cheese, grated
120g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk (from 60g egg) mixed with 1 teaspoon water, to glaze

I’ve used large tomatoes for my tart, but cherry tomatoes are fine, too – they’re just a little fiddlier to seed.

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1.For the no-roll cheese pastry, put the flour and cheese into a food processor and quickly pulse together until they’re well mixed.
2.Add the butter and whizz everything together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
3.With the motor running, pour in 40ml of iced water, and whizz until the mixture forms a ball around the blade.
4.Turn the pastry out onto a board (break off a 5 cent-size piece and pop it in the fridge, this can be used later to patch any cracks), then shape into a disc.
5.Sit the disc in a 25cm– 26cm loose-based tart tin and press it evenly over the base and sides, pushing up a little higher than the top of the tin. Take your time to do this, so you get a nice, even coverage. If the sides are too thin, they may crumble as the pastry cooks.
6.Roll a tumbler over the base to help smooth out any bumps. If you like, you can crimp the top with your fingers to form a scalloped edge.
7.Sit the tin on a baking sheet and pop it in the fridge to chill for at least 45 minutes.
8.You can do this up to a day ahead of time, if you like.
9.Preheat your oven to 200°C.
10.To blind bake the pastry, crush 2 large sheets of baking paper with your hands and open them out again (this softens the paper, making it easier to fit it into the tin).
11.Completely cover the pastry with the sheets of paper, pressing them gently down into the corners. Spread baking weights, uncooked rice or dried beans all over the paper to about 1cm-deep.
12.Slide the baking tray into the oven and bake the tart shell for 25 minutes or until it’s nearly set, lightly coloured and feels firm and dry.
13.Remove from the oven and carefully lift out the sheets of baking paper with the baking weights. Don’t worry if there are fine cracks in the pastry shell, just patch them with the reserved pastry.
14.Brush the egg yolk mixture all over the pastry, making sure it’s well coated, then return the tart shell to the oven for 1–2 minutes, so the egg wash sets to a shiny glaze (this helps seal the pastry and stops the base becoming soggy once it’s filled).
15.When it’s set, remove the tart shell from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
16.For the filling, heat the oil in a medium frying pan over low-medium heat.
17.Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for about 25 minutes or until it’s meltingly soft.
18.Sprinkle over the brown sugar and vinegar and continue cooking the onion, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan, for another 3–4 minutes or until it becomes a lovely glossy, pale toffee colour.
19.Remove the pan from the heat.
20.Squeeze the black garlic from its skin and add it to the onion mixture. Use the back of your spoon to mash it up and thoroughly mix it through.
21.Set the pan aside to cool the mixture.
22.Preheat your oven to 180°C.
23.Halve the tomatoes and scoop out and discard the seeds (if you squeeze the halves quite hard, cut-side down over a bowl, most of the seeds will pop out).
24.Put the halves to drain, cut-side down, on a paper towel for 10 minutes or so, then slice into chunks or rounds.
25.Sit these in a colander over a bowl until you’re ready (you want as much liquid as possible to drain from the tomatoes or they’ll make the base soggy).
26.In a bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up, then whisk in the milk, cream (or crème fraîche), and salt and pepper. Finally, mix in the herbs.
27.Pour the mixture into a jug, cover it lightly and place in the fridge until you’re ready. You can do this a few hours ahead of time.
28.Once the onion mixture is cool, spread it over the base of the tart shell.
29.Scatter the tomato evenly on top, then crumble over the goat’s cheese or feta.
30.Pull your oven shelf out halfway and transfer the tart (still on its tray) onto the shelf.
31.Give the egg mixture a quick whisk as it will have settled, then drizzle it evenly into the shell. Gently slide the tart fully into the oven.
32.Bake for about 40 minutes or until the filling is still a little wobbly but set.
33.The best way to test this is to pull the shelf out a little, then ever-so-lightly place your hand on the middle of the tart and give it a gentle jiggle.
34.Remove the tart from the oven, leave it to settle in the tin for 5 minutes or so, then slide it onto a serving platter.
35.Serve it warm or at room temperature scattered with a few small herb leaves.

Recipes extracted
from A Year of Sundays
by Belinda Jeffery,
published by Simon
& Schuster, RRP
$50. Photographer
Rodney Weidland.

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