Turnip, brown butter and cheddar tarts

Turnip, brown butter and cheddar tarts. Photograph: Harry Weir

Turnip, brown butter and cheddar tarts. Photograph: Harry Weir

Sat, Oct 16, 2021, 05:55

  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 80 mins
  • Course: Starter
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • 80g butter plus extra for brushing
  • A little grated nutmeg
  • Large sprig of thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 80g mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 packet filo pastry
  • Pinch of flaked almonds


1 Cook the turnip in lightly salted water until it is completely tender.

2 Drain thoroughly, then mash it.

3 Put the butter into a pot over a low-to-medium heat. This will take a little bit of time but you have to be patient while the butter transforms. After a minute or two, it will start to foam. It will spit and fizzle but will then settle down and start to change colour to a nutty golden brown.

4 Check by inserting a dry spoon to nudge away the top layer of foam to peek underneath. There should be little brown particles and the butter should smell nutty. If in any doubt, just turn down the heat, the whole process should take no more than five minutes. It seems like an eternity, but don’t take your eyes off the pot.

5 When you have your amber colour, remove the butter from the heat and add the nutmeg and thyme and allow them to infuse for a couple of minutes before adding to the turnip along with some salt and pepper.

6 Allow the mixture to cool, then fold in the cheese.

7 Take a sheet of filo pastry and lightly brush it with melted butter, then fold it in half into a rough square.

8 Put a quarter of the mixture into the centre of the pastry, lightly butter once more, then bring the four corners up to meet each other.

9 Pinch the pastry together just above the turnip so there is a substantial collar of loose filo. This will make the tarts look very attractive.

10 Brush the top of the pastry with more melted butter and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Repeat for the other tarts.

11 Set the oven to 185 degrees, then put the tarts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastries are crisp and golden, and serve as a main course with a winter salad.