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.
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
2tblsp olive oil
1egg, lightly beaten
80ml warm water
For the filling:
1 small red onion
400g butternut squash
250ml double cream
4tblsp grated parmesan cheese
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.