Roast Butternut, Goats Cheese & Caramelised Fennel Tart
PREP TIME: 25mins
COOKING TIME: 50mins
Delicious! This is my Aunt Maryna’s recipe which I adapted a bit. She, along with her sister Louise are excellent kitchen garden cooks and some of the best vegetarian food I have ever tasted was lovingly made in their kitchens.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making your own pastry, this ‘no-roll’ whole wheat spelt crust is buttery and very easy to work with. The combination of roasted butternut, goats cheese and fennel ensures this tart will be a showstopper!
The teenagers gave it a thumbs up and it was requested twice in the same week!
Getting Ahead: you can make your veggies and the cream mixture a day ahead. You can also blind bake your pastry a day ahead, in fact the tart can be made a day ahead but the pastry will soften.
Leftovers: Perfect picnic food! The pastry will soften but the tart will still be delicious the next day.
Seasonal Swaps: you can use pumpkin instead of butternut. This can be the base for a tart of all seasons, swapping the veg according to the season. You can leave out the goats cheese if you prefer. If you can only find ‘normal’ spelt flour you might need less water.
Serve as a vegetarian main with some well dressed leaves on the side.
What you'll need:
- 20cm tart dish,
- square baking paper sheet roughly the size of your tin and
- baking beans (I use a combination of dry beans)
- 3 small sized fennel bulbs, (200g) finely sliced (fonds reserved for garnish)
- 1 medium butternut, (1 cup/200g) peeled and cut into smallish blocks
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (opt)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 15g flat leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped (opt)
- olive oil
- 300ml cream
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 100g soft goats cheese (chèvre) (opt)
- salt & pepper
- 200g wholemeal spelt flour
- 100g cold butter, cut into pieces
- a good pinch of salt
- 1-3 tablespoons ice cold water
- Preheat the oven to 180c
- Pastry: Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using your hands work the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.Using a knife to stir, start by adding 1 teaspoon, of water at a time to bring the pastry together until a soft dough forms.
- If using a food-processor add the flour, butter and salt and process until the dough resembles breadcrumbs, adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time, process until the dough comes together, it will take a minute or so. Every time I make this tart the amount of water I need changes, so do keep an eye on the amount. Tip: pinch some dough together, if it comes together easily and holds, the dough is ready.
- Dust your work surface lightly with flour, put the dough on the surface and form into a flat disk, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the butternut with some olive oil & salt. Spread in a single layer and roast for 20min or until tender, keep aside.
- While the butternut is roasting, cook the fennel, add 3 tablespoons of oil to a medium saucepan, add the sliced fennel, stir to coat with the oil, cook, covered on a low to medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally, 15minutes. Once soft turn up the heat, stirring continuously until golden, add the garlic & fennel seeds and stir until fragrant for about 5 minutes.
- Pastry: Remove the dough from the fridge & unwrap. Using the course side of a grater, grate the dough into the tart dish and lightly press into the tin, starting with with sides making sure the case is well covered with the dough. Prick all over with a fork and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. (see note).
- Blind baking: Remove the tart, scrunch up your baking paper and place in the pastry case, add the beans and lightly move the beans so they cover the whole area inside the case including the sides. Bake blind for 15/20 minutes, have a peak, the pastry should not have any raw or grey spots, continue to bake until the pastry appears ‘sandy’ and dry. Carefully remove the baking paper and the beans and bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. The pastry is now ready to be filled.
- Place your pastry case onto a large baking sheet. This makes it easier to lift in and out from the oven.
- For the filling, mix the cream and eggs together. Add the butternut, fennel, parsley (if using) to the cream mixture. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Fill your pastry with the cream mixture and dollop the goats cheese on top.
- Bake the tart at 180c until just set about 20/25min, there should be no ‘wobble’ when you lightly shake the tart case.
- Remove and leave to cool in the tart case before removing or serve in the case. Garnish with the fennel fonds. ENJOY!
Rules of Pastry 101:
- The number one rule of any pastry is everything needs to be kept cold. (surface, water and butter.
- Don’t handle the pastry too much
- Chill after handling (rolling, folding & lining of a pasty case)
- Blind bake from chilled.