Tuesday, 8 January 2013

:: Eating Fresh ::

Summer Vegetable & Goats Cheese Tart
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: my favourite - a Summer Vegetable & Goats Cheese Tart ::

There is something magnificent about a golden homemade tart fresh out of the oven. It sings a change in seasons from the cold & wintery months to the beaming freshness that Spring & Summer carry to the kitchen. I also love how a tart like this one is so versatile in its guises – from an elegant vegetarian creation to a manly “egg & bacon pie”, it is really up to your imagination!
This Summer vegetable tart has become one of my favourite dishes to make for a light lunch or savoury snack when special guests come around. I was making it with the basic vegetable egg mixture, but once I had found that my local Growers Market stocked seasonal zucchini flowers & goats cheese at an affordable price, I couldn’t help but add these beautiful & edible enchantments to my tart.

to start

to fill
300 ml cream
4 large eggs
pinch of both sea salt & cracked pepper
1 medium zucchini (courgette), grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 French shallot onion, halved & sliced lengthways
½ cup vintage cheese or cheddar, grated
4-6 zucchini flowers (optional) – stamens removed
80-100 grams goats cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 24 cm round or 35 cm x 13 cm loose-bottomed tart pan with pastry following the Savoury Parmesan Pastry instructions, then bake blind at 180°C (350°F) for 10 minutes. Remove pastry weights & parchment paper then bake for another 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove.

Whilst your pastry is blind baking, prepare your filling. Lightly whisk together the cream & eggs, then season with the salt & pepper. Add the grated zucchini (courgette), carrot, hard cheese & sliced onion. Stir gently to combine. Spoon the mixture into the blind-baked pastry case. Gently place your desired quantity of zucchini flowers at an angle, tenderly opening up the flowers & pushing in some golden filling. Lightly crumble the goats cheese over the top of the tart, allowing it to fall into the spaces of the zucchini flowers.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden on top & set all the way through. Allow to cool until the tart is just warm or at room temperature.

:: your filling options are endless ::

Kitchen Notes
:: The best thing about this tart, is that it is very flexible with its ingredients. Don’t have zucchini flowers? Leave them out or place asparagus on top instead. No goats cheese? No problem, it tastes delicious anyway. No French onions? I gently panfry half a brown onion until sweet & tender, then add this to the mixture.
:: An impressive way to serve this tart for a morning/afternoon tea is to sprinkle a punnet of washed micro herbs over the top – wow!

:: made very simple in the KitchenAid food processor ::

Quick Kitchen
:: For speed, I grate my zucchini (courgette), & carrot in the food processor, but you can also use a simple box grater.
:: No time to make your own pastry? Keep some prepared pastry in your freezer, such as Careme’s Sour Cream Shortcrust Pastry or a Pampas Shortcrust Pastry (not the low fat option).

Little Larder
:: With any leftover mixture & pastry, I add some ham & to the basic egg mixture and make baby quiches in a muffin tin, which both my son & husband adore. They also freeze well for lunchbox or picnic treats.

:: a golden tart with golden zucchini flowers ::
:: this is the perfect summer meal for the ones you love ::

Enjoy this tart as much as we do here in Megann's Kitchen! 

:: Savoury Pastry Deliciousness ::

Shortcrust Parmesan Pastry
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: a beautiful shortcrust parmesan pastry - blind baked & ready to be filled ::

I am not really sure where I found this recipe - but when it comes to a savoury pastry, this recipe is the best. I use it for all quiches & savoury tarts as it has a beautiful flavour & flaky finish. The parmesan cheese & pepper flecks through the pastry & adds a lovely depth to a simple recipe.

1 ½ cups plain flour
125g butter, chopped
¼ tsp ground pepper
½ cup finely grated parmesan
¼ to cup of chilled/iced water

Place the flour, butter, parmesan & pepper in a food processor. Pulse in the food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whilst blending, add the chilled water until the mixture comes together. When the mixture just combines into a ball (see picture), stop the processor & form a disc in your hands. Wrap in cling wrap & chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour

:: rolling out your dough onto cling wrap makes transferring the pastry easier ::

Preheat oven to180°C (350°F). On a large sheet of cling wrap, lightly flour the surface & roll the pastry until it is 3-5mm thick. With the cling wrap still attached to the pastry, carefully lift & flip, lining a greased 28 cm loose-bottomed tart pan with pastry, then trim with the heal of your hand. Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in the fridge. Remove the cling wrap, prick the pastry with a fork then line with parchment paper & fill with pastry weights.
Bake blind at 180°C (350°F) for 10 minutes. Remove pastry weights & parchment paper then bake for another 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Reset your oven to your desired temperature for recipe filling. 

:: why not make mini quiches with any leftover dough? ::

Kitchen Notes
:: As it is a loose bottom tin, I like to place it on a tray to remove & place back in the oven with ease. This way there is no chance of you accidently breaking the crust of your pastry!
:: Don’t skip the resting/chilling process! It is essential to stop the shrinkage of your pastry.
:: I always roll my pastry onto a large piece of cling wrap. This helps a great deal when transferring to your desired baking tin.
:: In lieu of pastry weights, you can use uncooked rice, dried beans or even small, clean polished pebbles.
:: I have also made this pastry up to 3 days in advance, simply keeping it chilled in the refrigerator as a rolled ball, double wrapped in cling wrap.
:: Remember, quick hands! Especially in a warm room- you don’t want the butter to melt.
:: Keep the remainder of the pastry for savoury biscuits or styling accents to your tart/pie.

:: simply cut with a large cookie cutter or glass & place into a muffin tin - easy! ::

Please enjoy this pastry recipe, it's one of my favourites!

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