August 25, 2013


When Dom of Bellau Kitchen announced the theme for this month’s Random Recipe Challenge, “Grab and Run”, I knew straight away which book I would choose.  The idea is to choose within ten seconds which recipe book you would most like to keep above all others. 


I did hesitate for a second, wondering whether I might prefer Annie Bell’s “Gorgeous Cakes” but no, the Popina Book of Baking was definitely “The One” for me.


Then I had to open it at random and cook the recipe in front of me, assuming it was one I hadn’t made before.  Now that could be a problem as I have made lots of the recipes in this lovely book, but I was in luck.


I had never made this butternut squash tart before.  The interesting thing about it is that the pastry is not a regular shortcrust, not even wholemeal pastry, but is made from pizza dough, which meant using yeast.  Now that would be first for me, having never made bread or used yeast for anything before, except of course in our bread making machine.  Nick is the bread maker in the house these days.

popina2 popina3 

The recipe specifies using a spelt pizza dough but unfortunately when I opened the packet of spelt flour there was not enough left so I made a normal white pizza dough instead.  It was easy enough and gave a fairly businesslike crust to what is a very meaty meatless tart.


In the end I modified the recipe slightly.  The idea is to put half of the cream mixture in the tart, pile the vegetables on top and pour over the other half.  I did this and the remaining liquid did not cover the huge amount of veg.  So I decided to make another batch of the cream mixture and pour that on as well.  The alternative would have been, I suppose, to remove some of the filling.


Consequently the tart took much longer to cook than the time stated, more like 45-50 minutes rather than 30-35.  Even then it was still a little runny when I cut a slice so I shoved it back in the oven for a bit longer !!


So it turned out to be a monster of a tart !!  Very tasty and very filling.  I would definitely make it again and also possibly add some spices for interest, possibly cumin or some ginger.  We had ours on its own with some salad, but it would make an interesting side dish to go with a roast, or possibly chops or sausages.  It took us several days to eat our way through it and it kept well in a box in the fridge.

I give here my adaptation of the recipe.


For the pastry base:

220g strong white flour

1tsp quick dried yeast

½tsp salt

2tblsp olive oil

1egg, lightly beaten

80ml warm water

For the filling:

1 small red onion

400g butternut squash

250ml double cream

2 eggs

4tblsp grated parmesan cheese

1tsp salt

½tsp black pepper


Preheat the oven to 170°C / 150° fan / gas mk 3.  Grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

To make the pastry base, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the wet ingredients.

Using clean hands, bring everything together and work into a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead for two minutes.  If the dough is still sticky, add a little more flour.

Roll out to 3mm thickness and use to line the tin but leave the edges untrimmed.

To make the filling, peel the onion and slice thinly.  Peel the squash, discard the seeds and cut into matchsticks.  Mix together in a bowl.

In a large jug, whisk together the cream, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper.

Pour half the cream mixture into the tin, spread the vegetables on top, then pour over the rest of the liquid.  Run a rolling pin over the tart to trim off the excess pastry.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and set, but check after 30 for browning.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.  Serve warm or cold, with salad, or warm as a side dish to a roast.

Serves 8 generously and keeps for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.


  1. Wow. It looks very hearty and so deep. Maybe it should be a double deep tart! I'm loving this challenge this month to find out a little more about you all and why you like the books you like. I've never heard of that book before do its a new discovery for me and fab for you to try the pizza dough trick. A fab random recipes entry. Thank you x

    1. Dom, it really is a lovely book, full of recipes that you can't wait to try. Different from a lot of cookbooks where so many of the recipes seem just too way out with a few that actually look possible !!
      I would recommend that you put it on your list for Santa Claus this year, or maybe borrow it from the library - which is where I first came across it.

  2. I've become deeply fond of butternut squash (or BNS as it's known in our house) in the last few years and I'm definitely fond of monster tarts. It looks delicious. I've just picked up a copy of Annie Bell’s “Gorgeous Cakes” and I'm particularly looking forward to a peruse now that I know it's one of your preferred books.

  3. Well, that uses one of the remaining four butternuts on the stairs...
    but we've no red bunions...
    might use shallots instead....
    and how much of La Borde's trebbbble cream to use...
    we just opened one to put on the Plum and Gooseberry Tart...
    (our 'gages and your goosgogs [pureed, thickened with arrowroot and poured over the 'gages... no added sugar]}...
    and I had to use another spoon to get it off the first!!!

    Can you use another butter knut and a couple of Yellow Crooknecks??
    Errr... and a cuke or two??

    1. Tim, any type of squash or pumpkin would probably work, but I have my doubts about the cucumber!

    2. {Can you use another butter knut and a couple of Yellow Crooknecks?? Errr... and a cuke or two??}

      No... I meant...
      do you want us to hang some on your door?