Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage

Butternut tart

Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage

My Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage is a great summer tart which can be served either hot or cold.   I came up with the idea for this recipe as an alternative to the Caramelised Onion Tart that is a regular family supper.   I wanted to do something that had a similar sweetness but which was also a bit different.

The resulting tart uses butternut squash, which is slow-cooked to enhance its natural sweetness, and then gives it a bit of extra zing with the addition of chilli and sage.  Both are good companions to squash – the chilli cuts through the sweetness and the sage gives it a savoury depth of flavour. Don’t be alarmed by the chilli.  The amount involved is relatively small but really does pep up the tart.  My children have varying views on chilli  (ranging from “Carolina Reaper for breakfast, please” to  “Yeeeuch”) but they all like this tart.

I like to serve this tart with my Red Slaw – to keep the bright colour thing going!   They taste good together – the fresh crunchiness of the slaw goes well with the sweet-savoury tart – and they also look pretty!

What you need to know about this recipe

  • I generally make my own pastry. I was a late learner when it came to pastry and for years used ready-made versions. However, a few years ago I decided I had to get to grips with pastry-making and discovered how easy it is. So, if you have the time to make your own pastry, it is really worth doing as the taste will be much better than anything you can buy in the shops. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination, you can make this recipe using ready-made pastry and it will still taste pretty good.
  • Whether you are making your own pastry or using ready-made, it is really important to bake the empty pastry case in the oven for 15 minutes before you add the filling (step 7). This sets the pastry and means that it is properly cooked so it will be crisp and delicious rather than soft and soggy.
  • Cooking the onions and cubed squash on a low heat for 30 minutes until they become caramelised (step 5) is a crucial part of this recipe. You need them to be soft in texture and with the rich sweetness that comes from slow cooking.
  • If you don’t like chilli, you can leave it out. However, it is fairly mild and does give a good balance to the sweetness of the caramelised squash and onions.
  • I add sage as I think it goes particularly well with butternut squash. I think fresh sage is preferable. However, if you do not have it to hand, you can use dried sage. If you do not have any sage, or do not like it, you can substitute other herbs. I think thyme, oregano and rosemary would all be good in this recipe.

Other butternut squash and pumpkin recipes

If you like the earthy sweetness of butternut squash and pumpkin, you might like some of my other recipes.

Other quiche and tart recipes

Savoury tarts and quiches are a fantastic, cook-ahead simple supper or lunch. They are easy to make and are great either hot or at room temperature. They can also be easily divided into portions if you are feeding a large number of people. Easily transportable, they also make a good addition to lunch-boxes or basis for a picnic. Here are some of my favourites.

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Recipe for Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage

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Butternut tart

Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 55
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English


In this tart, the sweetness of butternut squash is tempered by the heat of chilli and the aromatic sage.  The bright yellow squash also makes it look very attractive.   The tart can be eaten either hot or cold, which makes it great for picnics or cold buffets.




For the pastry:

  • 275 g (10 oz) plain flour
  • 125 g (4 oz) fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 onions
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter and 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a fresh red chilli (you can add more or less depending on how much you like chilli)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 34 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried sage)
  • 100 ml (4 fl oz) double cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 75 g (3 oz) strong cheddar cheese (grated)


  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
  3. Peel and chop the onions. Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes.
  4. Heat the butter and oil in your frying pan.   It helps if the pan is good quality with a thick bottom as this will disseminate the heat evenly and prevent burning.
  5. Add the chopped onions and cubed butternut squash to the pan, season with salt and pepper,  and cook at a very low heat for about 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning and stir occasionally.  They will be done when the onions and squash cubes are soft and, when tasted, are sweet.
  6. Finely chop the chilli, garlic cloves and the sage leaves and add to the onion and squash mixture.  Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
  7. Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 20 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy.
  8. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined.  Finely grate the cheddar cheese and add to the mixture.
  9. Now place the onion and squash mixture in your pastry case.  Pour the egg mixture over it.
  10. Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
  11. The tart can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold.

Keywords: butternut squash, chilli, sage, tart


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