Adapted from Gaia's Kitchen,by Julia Ponsonby. Roasted red peppers and eggplants provide the filling in this wonderful Mediterranean tart. In contrast to a regular quiche, no eggs or milk are included in the filling. Instead, there is rich base of cream cheese and basil, while either mozzarella or goat’s cheese melts luxuriously over the vegetables. This recipe has the advantage that you can prepare the various elements in advance and then assemble it at the last moment.
- 6 ounces ground walnuts
- 8 ounces plain white flour
- 5 ounces butter
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 -4 tablespoons cold water
- 1 1⁄4 lbs bell peppers, mainly red
- 2 medium eggplants
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons pesto sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 6 ounces goat cheese or 6 ounces mozzarella cheese
- olive oil, for roasting
- Slice the butter into a mixing bowl containing flour and salt.
- Rub the butter lightly into the flour with your fingertips, to obtain a buttery, breadcrumb-like consistency.
- Grind or crush the walnuts fairly finely, then stir these into the butter/flour mixture.
- Next add the tahini, egg and water and mix until everything binds together.
- Divide the dough into the number of tarts you are making.
- Roll each portion into a ball and pat down a little.
- Chill in the fridge for about half an hour while you get on with preparing the vegetables.
- Roll the pastry out on a floured surface until it is about 3/16" thick.
- Because it is so short (i. e. buttery), it may be difficult to line your lightly oiled flan tin with one piece, but you can push it into place with your fingers.
- Pre-bake for 15-20 minutes in a moderate to low oven, or until the pastry has become quite firm, but is not yet browning.
- Slice the eggplants into circles measuring about 3/8" thick.
- Quarter these.
- Toss salt over the eggplants and leave for half an hour to sweat.
- Afterwards rinse them and leave to drain in a colander, either pressing or patting out excess moisture.
- Spread out on a baking tray and massage generously with olive oil.
- Season with a little dried oregano or basil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring half way through.
- While the eggplants are roasting, you can begin preparing the bell peppers.
- Slice these into 3/8" wide strips the full length of each pepper.
- As with the eggplant, place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with a little black pepper and oregano or basil.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes at 400F.
- Peel and finely slice about two-thirds of the garlic, and stir this into the cooking peppers when you give them a midway stir.
- When the roast vegetables are ready they can be combined, and the excess olive oil drained off and kept to add to the cream cheese later – or for making a vinaigrette.
- If you intend to assemble the tart later on, keep the roast vegetables in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
- Final preparation: Crush the rest of the garlic and mix this into the cream cheese along with half the chopped fresh basil, pesto, tomato puree, a teaspoonful of Dijon mustard and the reserved roasting oil.
- Season with a little salt and black pepper.
- Spread out this mixture evenly in the bottom of the walnut pastry cases.
- Mix the rest of the basil with the roast vegetables, and spread them over the cream cheese mixture.
- Slice the goat’s cheese and/or soft mozzarella into generous rounds, perhaps averaging 3/16" thick.
- Place six to eight pieces of cheese decoratively on top of each tart.
- Place in a pre-heated moderate oven (350F) for 30-40 minutes – as long as it takes for the tart to warm up and the cheese to melt and brown a little.
- When the cheese is looking an inviting golden brown in patches and all is hot – even sizzling – remove from the oven.
- Slip off the edges of the flan tin (if detachable) before serving.
- Serve with a green salad, and perhaps new potatoes fresh with garden mint.
I'm excited to see this recipe online. Now I'll know where to find it when my tattered old paper copy bites the dust. This is my favorite ever special occasion main dish tart. Yeah, it's a fair amount of work, but so worth it. Thanks for uploading!
Spectacular tart! The crust is in it's own league, though it was a bit crumbly and there was plenty of it. Maybe little less flour would help the issue. I made it as instructed, but I think any mixture of roasted or grilled veggies would go well.
I didn't have the same problems others did with the crust being crumbly. I think the trick is to get the nuts very fine. I put mine in a coffee grinder and it was nearly walnut butter from the grind.