Recipe: Regula’s Tarte Al Djote




Here’s a real gourmet high from the Low Countries. “I have utterly fallen in love with this beautiful book,” says Nigella Lawson. We think you will, too. In Dark Rye and Honey Cake (Murdoch Books), acclaimed food writer and historian Regula Ysewijn turns her focus to the bakes and culinary history of her Belgian homeland. Filled with rustic recipes (including fourteen variations of the Belgian waffle!) and accompanying essays, this is not just a cookbook, but an educating read in itself. Tarte al djote is a traditional Belgian dish originating from the city of Nivelles, Regula does it brilliantly, and it is a great one to sample from this wonderful book.

Makes 4 individual tarts


For the pastry

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain flour

125 g (4½ oz) salted butter, softened

11 g (⅜ oz) instant dry yeast

10 g (⅜ oz) salt

2 eggs

125 ml (4 fl oz) full-fat milk

For the filling

400 g (14 oz) cheese (see Note below)

75 g (2¾ oz) salted butter, plus extra butter, to serve

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch (⅛ teaspoon) salt

35 g (1¼ oz) Swiss chard (silverbeet), leaves only, finely chopped

25 g (1 oz) eschalots, finely chopped

20 g (¾ oz) flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped


Use four 20 cm (8 inch) top diameter x 18 cm (7 inch) base diameter x 2.5 cm (1 inch) depth pie tins, greased and floured.



To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter, yeast and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead until you get a coarse mixture. Add the eggs and milk and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl and set aside to rest for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge.

For the filling, crumble or grate the cheese and leave it out to get ‘sweaty’.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and brown it (beurre noisette). Set aside to cool so that the butter doesn’t cook the eggs.

Mix the cheese with the cooled melted butter, the egg, egg yolk, pepper and salt. Fold the chard, eschalots and parsley through and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F). Do not use the fan setting.

When the dough has risen, knock out the air, divide in 4 and roll out the dough as thin as you can. Do the same for all 4 pieces, then lay them over the greased tins, press into the base and cut away the excess pastry. Pierce the bases all over with a fork.

Spoon in filling to just under 1 cm (⅜ inch) deep in each pie.

Place the tarts on a rack on the lowest shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the crust has a blush. Transfer to a wire rack and set aside to rest for 5 minutes for the cheese to coagulate so you can safely remove the tart from the tin.

Serve warm, with a knob of extra butter on top to melt. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Burgundy is traditional) or a dark monastery beer.

The next day you can reheat the tart in a 200°C (400°F) oven for 10 minutes.

The baked tarts freeze incredibly well: just thaw in the fridge and reheat.

Note: I know that it might be hard to source the boulette cheese for these tarts, but since they are both descended from centuries-old recipes where the cheese wasn’t specified and cooks knew best which cheese to use for the recipe, it is totally fine to swap the traditional cheese for grated mature cheddar or gouda, or a similar cheese local to you, if you think it will work better. In Northern France where they make flamiche with leek, they use maroilles, a cow’s milk cheese made in the region of Picardy.



Images and text from Dark Rye and Honey Cake by Regula Ysewijn, photography by Regula Ysewijn. Murdoch Books RRP $55.00.