A vibrant summer tart filled with seasonal vegetables is a thing of beauty and in a way captures my seasonal food philosophy. In this recipe, the combination of roasted butternut, goats cheese and fennel ensures this tart will be a showstopper! Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making your own pastry, this ‘no-roll’ whole wheat spelt crust is buttery and very easy to work with. Serves 4
3 small sized fennel bulbs, (200g) finely sliced (fonds reserved for garnish)
1 medium butternut, (1 cup/200g) peeled and cut into smallish blocks
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (opt)
2 garlic cloves, minced
15g flat leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped (opt)
3 eggs, beaten
100g soft goats cheese (chèvre)
salt & pepper
200g wholemeal spelt flour
100g cold butter, cut into pieces
a good pinch of salt
1-3 tablespoons ice cold water
Preheat the oven to 180c
To make your pastry place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using your hands work the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms.
Dust your work surface lightly with flour, tip and form the dough into a flat smooth disk, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the butternut with some olive oil & salt. Spread in a single layer and roast for 20min or until tender, keep aside.
While the butternut is roasting, cook the fennel, add 3 tablespoons of oil to a medium saucepan, add the sliced fennel, stir to coat with the oil, cook, covered on a low to medium heat until soft and caramelised, which could take up to an hour, stirring occasionally. Once soft turn up the heat, stirring continuously until golden, add the garlic & fennel seeds and stir until fragrant for about 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge & unwrap. Using the course side of a grater, grate the dough into the tart tin and lightly press the dough into the tin making sure the tin is well covered with the dough, place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove the tart, scrunch up the baking paper and place in the tart tin, add the beans and blind bake for 10 minutes, have a peak, the pastry should not have any raw or grey spots, continue to bake until the pastry appears 'sandy' and dry. Carefully remove the baking paper and the beans and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered. The pastry is now ready to be filled.
Place your tart tin onto a large baking sheet. This makes it easier to lift in and out from the oven.
For the filling, add the roasted butternut, fennel, parsley (if using) and eggs together. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Fill the tart and dollop the goats cheese on top.
Bake the tart at 180c until just set about 20min, there should be no 'wobble' when you lightly shake the tart case.
Remove and leave to cool in the tin before removing or serve in the tin. Garnish with the fennel fonds. ENJOY!