Easy Vegetable Tart

This vegetable tart is really simple to make (especially if you don’t make the puff pastry) and you can customise the toppings as you please. I didn’t make my own puff pastry as I thought it would be too time consuming as I was cooking a large-ish meal as well so opted for the shop-bought kind which really lessened the preparation time. I topped the tart with courgette and mushrooms and a little mozzarella. I think this would also make a lovely individual starter as you can really brush up the presentation easily.

Easy Vegetable Tart, serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 20 minutes

-2 tbsp sundried tomato paste

-1 crushed garlic clove

-365g puff pastry

-100g mozzarella

-1 courgette

-1tbsp olive oil

-2 tsp dried oregano

-100g mushrooms, sliced

First mix the tomato paste and crushed garlic together. I only had tomato puree so added in some chopped sundried tomatoes.

Roll out your pastry gently to a thickness of about 3-5mm in any shape you like.

  

Score round about a centimetre if the border with a fork making a hatched pattern. Prick the main base of your tart as well and spread the tomato mix thinly. I actually found the tomato a little overwhelming afterwards so you could perhaps lessen this to half the mix.

Slice the courgette and mushrooms thinly and arrange on the tart. Top with some mozzarella and give it all a good seasoning.

Bake in a preheated 220 degrees Celsius oven for 20 minutes.

 

Please let me know in the comments section below your favourite combinations or vegetables and toppings – the rest of the food in the listed menu here will be up shortly!

 

cooked as part of this menu

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Chocolate Brownie Tart with Hazelnut Pastry

At last I have something to post about – I have been so busy to even think about baking or cooking anything new! So tonight I made a dessert as we had some friends come over. As it has started raining again, I didn’t want a totally summery dessert, so chose to make a chocolate brownie tart. I have made a very similar one before with pecans and shop-bought shortcrust pastry, but this time I wanted to try making the pastry myself. Our guests were vegetarian so I actually used vegan butter (just in case) but ordinary butter would be just the same as the fat for the shortcrust pastry.

Chocolate Brownie Tart with Hazelnut Pastry, makes one 23cm tart (serves 8-10)

Preparation time : 45 minutes

Baking time : 50 minutes

Hazelnut Shortcrust Pastry

– 50g blanched hazelnuts, finely ground

– 200g plain flour

– 1tbsp icing sugar

– 140g diced butter, at room temperature

– 1 egg yolk

– Flour, for dusting

Brownie filling

– 100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids +

– 75g butter

– 2 large eggs + 1 yolk

– 50g golden caster sugar

– 1 tbsp cocoa

– a pinch of salt

– 5tsp instant coffee mixed with 3-5 tbsp hot water

– 50g hazelnuts, finely chopped

First to make the pastry, whiz the hazelnuts in a blender until finely ground.

Then add the flour, icing sugar, butter and pulse for a few minutes until similar in consistency to breadcrumbs. You may need to stop occasionally to ‘unstick’ the mixture from the sides so that it is all evenly mixed. Ensure that the butter is room temperature and diced before adding to the mixture.

Next add the egg yolk (separate by cracking gently and allowing the albumen/egg white to drop into a spare bowl whilst keeping the yolk controlled between the two egg shells – see here for a clear demonstration) to  and 1-2 tbsp cold water to the breadcrumbed pastry and pulse a few more times until it comes together.

Tip the dough out onto a clean floured surface and shape into a flat disc. Cover this  with clingfilm (or a small bag) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a blender/food processor or don’t want to, check out this recipe for shortcrust pastry by Delia Smith.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and roll out the pastry gently onto the floured surface to fit a 23cm tart tin. Mine was rather crumbly so I put it into the tart tin and used my fingers to push it out gently. Try to get an even thickness on the base and the sides. Trim off any excess off the edges and prick the base with a fork. Cover and line the pastry case with baking parchment and weigh down by ceramic baking beans (uncooked rice and lentils make good alternatives). Bake for 20 minutes.

                  

After 20 minutes have elapsed, remove the beans and baking parchment and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

Next move onto the chocolate brownie filling. Place the broken dark chocolate, butter and coffee mixture into a glass heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whilst waiting for it to melt and mix into a smooth mixture, roughly chop the hazelnuts for the brownie. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar together. Once the chocolate mixture has melted together and cooled for some time, add to the egg mixture with the cocoa,hazelnuts and a pinch of salt. Taste and if too bitter (especially if high cocoa solids %), add another tablespoon or two of golden caster sugar.

Pour the hazelnut brownie mixture into the cooled pastry case. Decorate with spare nuts if you wish.

Bake the whole brownie tart for 20-25 minutes until a clean knife can be removed from the centre. Cool away from the oven or it will dry out a little. Serve with crème fraiche  to balance the rich sweetness.

Leftover slices (tomorrow’s breakfast…)

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