Chefs' Recipes

Nik Hill's cauliflower cheese tart

The two best ways to cook cauliflower – in a cauliflower cheese, and whole-roasted – in one spectacular dish.

By Nik Hill
  • 20 mins cooking
  • 1 hr 10 mins marinating (plus chilling)
  • Serves 8
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"Nostalgic, rich and ridiculously simple," says Nik Hill, formerly of The Old Fitz, and now found at Sydney's Porcine. "Look for full, tight cauliflower florets, as the quality of the cauliflower determines the success of this cheesy tart."


  • 1 medium cauliflower (approx 1.5kg)
  • 1 small cauliflower (approx 1kg)
  • 100 gm butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 gm sharp cheddar, grated
  • 150 ml thickened cream
  • 1 sheet good-quality puff pastry
  • Finely grated pecorino, to serve
Cheddar custard
  • 400 ml milk
  • 250 gm sharp cheddar, grated
  • 5 eggs
  • Sherry vinegar, to season


  • 1
    For the cheddar custard, place 200ml milk, cheddar and eggs in a blender, season with salt and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking continuously. The mixture will scramble and look lumpy, but don't panic. Pour mixture into a tray and refrigerate until completely cold (4 hours).
  • 2
    Steam whole medium cauliflower until florets are just tender (15 minutes). Set aside.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Roughly chop small cauliflower, then place on a baking tray, season with salt, drizzle over 1 tbsp melted butter and roast until golden brown (20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender with eggs, cheddar and cream, and pulse to a coarse purée. Season well.
  • 4
    Place an 18cm tart ring on a baking tray, then line base and side with puff pastry. Spread roasted cauliflower mixture over base of tart shell, then place whole steamed cauliflower in centre. Brush liberally with remaining melted butter. Roast until pastry base is crisp and cauliflower is dark golden on top (20-25 minutes). Cool slightly, then remove tart ring.
  • 5
    Warm remaining milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove cheddar custard from fridge, transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth, gradually adding warm milk. Season to taste with pepper and a few drops of sherry vinegar.
  • 6
    To serve, place tart on a serving plate, spoon over custard and top with pecorino.


Do not reheat cheddar custard, as the mixture will set and become lumpy. It's best made fresh before serving.