Simple vegetable tarts

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Very delicious tarts using practically whatever vegetables you have…..an ideal lunch or light main course.

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Using just puff pastry, spread with a thin layer of creamy cheese and slices of vegetables on top, you have a delicious, speedy dish that looks like it is a very difficult dish that has taken a long time!

Now I love a puff pastry-based tart and I think it can be one of the best looking types of tart, with the vegetables (or fruit) on proud display!  I make these frequently and vary between a large tart to cut at the table or individual tarts (such as in this post).

These are also terrific made bite-size to serve with drinks…roll on the time when we can have people over safely!

One of my auditions for Best Home Cook involved having 45 minutes to create something from the ingredients provided. I went down the puff pastry tart route, and presented a caramelised onion and goats’ cheese version.

I  have been demoing several versions with my Food students at school in Zoom lessons – several of whom have been making them along with me, which is lovely to see.

No-waste tarts!

Tarts such as these are a great way to use up left-overs or ingredients that really need to be used up. For the tarts in this post I used up some courgettes and some cooked beetroot to give two different – but equally tasty – tarts.

I sometimes like to scatter on some roughtly torn chunks of a cheese such as Brie so that the cheese melts on top and forms that lovely cheese on toast-style crust…and even drying-out bits of cheese that need using up come into their own here.

Getting ahead

One of the joys of this sort of tart is you can make it a day or so in advance, leave it in the fridge and pop it into the oven about 20 minutes or so before you want to eat.

Recipe: vegetable tarts – serves 2 generously

Pastry base:
  • about 250g puff pastry (half a pack if bought)
Soft cheese mixture (to go on the pastry):
  • about 100g bag spinach, cooked and pressed well to get rid of excess moisture (or use frozen spinach – defrosted and squeezed well)
  • about 200g soft goats’ cheese or other soft cheese such as cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • handful of walnuts, roughly crushed
  • salt and pepper to season
Topping:
  • sliced vegetables of choice eg) 1 medium courgette; 2-3 cooked beetroots (peeled); a couple of red onions that have been peeled and sliced into rings; slices or chunks of roasted butternut squash……..
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, basil or mint, optional
  • a handful of cheese such as grated Cheddar or chunks of Brie, optional

You will also need a large flat baking tray, lined with greaseproof

(1) Roll out the pastry to a rectangle a bit smaller than the baking tray and place on the greaseproof on the tray. Or cut into smaller rectangles/squares.

(2) Make a border with a sharp knife all the way around, going about 1cm in from the edge. Don’t cut all the way through: no more than about half-way into the pastry. This forms a shallow pastry wall when the tart bakes.

(3) Put the ingredients for the cheese mixture into a small bowl and mix. Spread onto the pastry, coming within the border. It doesn’t have to be perfectly flat!

(4) Toss the sliced vegetables with the oil (and any fresh herbs) and arrange over the cheese, overlapping slightly.

(5) Bake at 190C (fan) for about 15 minutes for smaller tarts or up to 25 minutes for a larger one: you want the pastry border to be a nice golden brown colour and the topping bubbling away.

 

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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