Posts Tagged ‘Tarts’

Roasted butternut squash, spinach and feta tart

February 13, 2011

After a rather big night out with the girls I am feeling a smidgen jaded and have a wee tiny hangover. Sunday lunch with the family today and unfortunately I’m on cooking duty. The last thing I feel like doing is cooking! Can I go back to bed please…… Something simple and quick is in order me thinks. A whip round in Tescos for some essentials – tasty tart and salad, that’ll do nicely. Did I mention how much I love puff pastry? Shop bought puff pastry is a winner every time. No faffing around making your own and to make it even easier you can get ready rolled pastry – how good is that? Tarts are very simple and you can pretty much put anything on them. Mushrooms and caramelised onion, leek and Gruyere, Roasted tomato, basil and goats cheese etc etc. There are so many different combos to chose from. You can even do fruity sweet tarts too. YUM!

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tin peeled tomatoes
1 red onion
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 butternut squash (about 700gm unpeeled)
250 grams of spinach
Parmesan (about 50 grams)
1/2 block of feta (about 100 grams)
1 ready roll sheet of All butter puff pastry


First thing you will need to do is get the butternut squash prepared and in the oven to roast. Peel the squash and dice into 1cm cubes. One of my friends recently posted a status update on Facebook whingeing about how he had just been struggling with peeling a butternut squash. His biggest mistake was he was using a peeler. I strongly recommend you do not “peel” a squash you cut the peel off with a sturdy chef knife. Cut the top and the bottom off so that it sits on the board without rolling around then cut the bulbous end off (the bit with the seeds in). You should be left with the long thinner part and the bulbous bit. This will make cutting the peel off a heap easier. Does that make sense?

Ok now you have your butternut squash diced, pop it into a roasting tin or oven proof dish season with salt and pepper and toss in olive oil so it is evenly coated.

Roast in the oven at about 180 degrees for 30 mins or until soft and golden.

Set aside.

While the squash is roasting you can make the tomato sauce. Finely dice the onion and crush the garlic. Saute on a low-medium heat with a good hearty glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and sweet and the harshness of the onions has disappeared.

Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer until tomatoes have broken down and sauce has thickened up – about 30 minutes. The sauce needs to be the consistency of a pizza sauce.

Wash the spinach and saute in a pot with a splash of olive oil and season with S & P. Cook until just wilted then squeeze out the excess liquid through a sieve or colander.

Time to put the tart together.

Pop the sheet of puff pastry onto a non stick baking sheet. Score the pastry sheet along each edge about 2 cm in to create a border.

Spread the inside of the tart (not the edge part) with tomato sauce.

Finely grate over some Parmesan, sprinkle with butternut squash and dot with spinach. Crumble over 1/2 the feta and pop in a preheated oven 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until edges have puffed up and pastry is golden.

Serve immediately with a huge bowl of salad.

You will probably have enough to make 2 tarts and depending on how greedy your guests are it’s probably worthwhile having another puff pastry sheet on hand just in case (we had 2 between 5 of us AKA greedy).


Leek and Gruyere Tart (not for those on a diet)

June 8, 2010

Leek and Gruyere tart

Quiches, tarts or flans are great to serve for an easy lunch or dinner . There is no last-minute flapping they can be made in advance and warmed through or even eaten cold. Savoury tarts/Quiche are extremely versatile, so long as you have pastry, eggs and milk or cream you can pretty much add anything as your filling. My favourite is leek and Gruyère. However there are many many many more fabulous combinations you can try:

sautéed mushrooms and carmelised onions
Broccoli and blue cheese
Smoked salmon and spinach
Roast tomato feta and basil
Pea and feta
Roast pumpkin feta and spinach
Char-grilled courgette red onion and roast tomato

The list goes on…..


Pastry (this is Stephanie Alexander’s pastry recipe and uses quite a lot of butter but it is worth it – a lovely flaky pastry)

240 grms plain flour
180 grms unsalted butter
Ice cold water


5 eggs
150 mls double cream
150 grms of Gruyère
4 large leeks
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Pastry Method:

Kick off with making the pastry, pop the flour into a large bowl and chop the cold butter into cm cubes and add to flour. Add a pinch of salt and rub the butter through the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add cold water – bit by bit – until you form a soft dough (but not sticky or wet at all – if it is sticky add a little more flour). Try your best not to over work the dough.

Wrap dough in cling wrap and pop in the fridge for about 30 mins.

Once chilled roll out on a floured surface and line a 24 cm loose bottom flan tin. If possible try to leave at least 1cm of pastry above the edge as the pastry will shrink when baked.

Put the pastry back in the fridge or freezer to chill down again for at least 20 mins.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Line pastry case with foil and pastry weights or dried beans.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes then remove foil and beans and brush pastry with beaten egg white and bake for a further 5 minutes (this seals the pastry case to prevent the filing leaking out).

This sounds like a lot of work but you can do all of this whilst preparing the filling.

Filling Method:

Peel off the tough outer layers of the leeks and cut off the toughest part of the green part – not all the green bit through as this is really tasty and adds colour.

Slice down the middle and wash really well to remove any dirt/grit.

Finely slice and add to a large heavy based pot or deep frying pan with a large pinch of sea salt and about 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Saute on a medium heat – do not brown – reduce heat if necessary.

Stir regularly and cook for about 35 – 40 mins, when ready the leeks should have reduce to about 1/4 of the original size and be soft and sweet. You may need to add a little more oil or a splash of water to prevent the leeks sticking/burning. Cover the pot with a lid most of the time so that it doesn’t dry out too much.


Crack eggs into a jug, add cream, a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Lightly whisk with a fork trying not to get too much air into the mix.

Grate the Gruyère.

Evenly spread the leeks into the flan case. Sprinkle over the Gruyère and pour over the egg mixture. Do not over fill with egg.

Pop into the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes.

You want to bake the Quiche until the egg is almost set in the middle as when you remove from the oven it will continue to cook – you don’t want the egg being rubbery.

Serve with boiled new potatoes and a green leafy salad.


TIP: Always put the flan tin on a baking tray just in case the filling leaks out – it is a bit of a pain having to clean the filling off the bottom of the oven (have done that a few times!!)