Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Zucchini and tomato tart

This is a recipe that combines two or three recipes I found in the New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas and in the BBC recipes section (sadly, I had done this a long time ago and it seems I have cooked up the exact link). I had bought the Vegetarian Epicure when I was a student and needed to cook for myself, and I remember reading it at night in bed, like a novel. Because Anna Thomas writes so beautifully. All the recipes I have tried from her book are excellent and really really work.

I made this for the magazine and after the shoot, we had some out in the balcony, under the sun. It is a recipe for summer lunches.

For 4-6 servings

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ -3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz/115 g cold butter
  • 2 ½ fl oz / 70 ml ice water

For the filling

  • 2 zucchinis in slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400 gr potatoes, peeled, cooked and in slices
  • 350 gr tomatoes in slices
  • 100 gr gruyere cheese, grated
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Sift together flour and salt. Slice butter and drop the slices into the flour. Work the mixture until it resembles big breadcrumbs.
Pour the cold water over the flour butter mixture and stir it in very quickly with a fork, until the dough gathers together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in foil and chill it for about two hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough out into a circle about 2 ½ in/62 mm larger than your quiche or flan tin. Roll the circle of dough round the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart tin, centering it as well as possible.
Press the sides in against the rim of the tin, pushing the extra dough down, to make an edge slightly thicker than the bottom.
Crimp the ridge of dough neatly just above the rim of the tin. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork and chill the shell for 30 minutes.

Line the inside of the shell with aluminium foil and fill it with dried beans or nuts so that the pastry won’t puff up. Bake the shell in a preheated oven at 450 F /230 C for about 8 minutes, then remove the beans and foil and bake for another 5 minutes until the bottom of the shell begins to colour. Allow the shell to cool slightly, then fill the tart shell with the filling.

Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté zucchinis.
Layer potatoes, zucchinis and tomatoes in the pastry shell, season between layers and sprinkle with a little gruyere and basil leaves. Repeat, finishing with a layer of tomatoes.
Beat together the eggs and cream. Season, stir in the remaining gruyere and half the parmesan.
Pour this over the filling and sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden and firm. Sprinkle with the remaining basil. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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