Serves: 4 – 6
Preparation time: ~45 minutes
Calories: ~640 per serving, if divided by 4 people
Joy of joys, I just discovered that one can actually buy puff pastry in France! Call me silly, and indeed, people who live in France, or near France already will probably be face-palming at my previous stupidity but seriously… in England it’s sold frozen in thick blocks. To use it, you have to defrost it and then roll it out to the desired thickness. It never occurred to me that it would be sold with the ready-to-cook pizza dough and shortcrust pastry in the chiller cabinet, and as a result I just assumed that it was just one of those things that aren’t really sold here. Silly me! Naturally, it is sold and in many different varieties. Thick, thin, sweet, savoury, low fat, regular. This is just great because I love the stuff and while I am a big fan of making your own doughs and pastries (I’d always make my own shortcrust and flaky pastry), when even the “quickest” puff pastry can take ~2-3 hours to make, what with all the resting time, and even famous, professional chefs are saying that bought puff pastry is excellent and a more than adequate alternative to the home-made variety… well, there’s not really much contest.
So, what does the appearance of puff pastry mean for me? Well – a whole lot of fun, that’s what! I can make all sorts of wonderful tarts, pies and pastry-based awesomeness now, starting with today’s tart. The original recipe I saw was courgette only but to me it seemed rather dull. I wanted something both with a bit of colour and zing, as well as a bit of creaminess so I went for tomatoes and a bit of feta as well. No matter how you decide to customise the dish, I would recommend keeping the feta in there as it really bulks it out and gives a feeling that it’s a full meal, as opposed to just a light starter or snack. I’d recommend serving it up with some new potatoes or a good salad. My wife and I actually finished off the whole tart in one go, but I didn’t bother making any accompaniment and we were pretty hungry
In other news – I did a bit of shopping today. It’s strange how buying tins in various shapes and sizes is my idea of good fun! I also got a new sugar and oil thermometer and a pastry bag (it was actually a pastry “gun”, although it got very good reviews). Can’t wait for that to be delivered because I already have some great ideas on what to do with it all so stay tuned for that. This weekend I’ll be cooking up a couple of Swedish dishes which I’m looking forward to sharing with you all as well!
Have a great remainder of the week – if you’re like me and get to enjoy a bank holiday tomorrow then have a wonderful day off, but if not then cheer up – it’s only two days of the week left until the weekend! See you back here on Saturday for a cookie with a twist
Courgette, Tomato and Feta Cheese Tart
- 1 pack of Puff Pastry (~350g)
- ~2 Courgettes (a.k.a. zucchinis)
- ~5 medium Tomatoes
- ~130g Feta Cheese
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 2 tbsps Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Juice from half a Lemon
- Small handful of fresh Thyme
- Salt and Pepper
- Start off by preheating your oven to 220 degrees Celsius and then take your puff pastry and roll it out to a circle, roughly 30cm in diameter and about 4mm thick. If it’s already circular in shape, like the stuff I buy, then awesome – unroll it, job done! Oil an oven tray – a pizza tray is perfect for this – and place the disc of pastry on top. Prick it all over with a fork and allow to rest in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel and finely chop the red onion and then heat the 2 tbsps of Olive Oil in a pan until very hot. Add in the red onion and cook through until softened. Add the 1 tbsp of Caster Sugar and continue to cook, stirring well, for another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, wash and slice your tomatoes and courgettes finely. You want the slices to be ~3mm thick. They should be flexible, without being too translucent. You may find a mandoline is useful for chopping the courgettes, though a good, sharp knife will also do the job well. Once you’ve cut the courgettes, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then toss in the courgettes and boil for 30 seconds, just to start the cooking process and ensure they’re well done on the tart later. After 30 seconds, drain immediately and pat the slices dry on a cloth.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and then spread the red onion thinly over the pastry base. Next, start arranging the vegetables on top of the onion. Starting from the outside, almost next to the edge, make an overlapping ring, and then work inwards, making further rings, each one slightly overlapping the outer one. Depending on the ratio of courgette to tomato you may want to do two slices of courgette to one slice of tomato, or something like this. Finish off by crumbling the feta in small pieces over the top.
- Drizzle the tart with a little oil and place into the oven for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the tart briefly and sprinkle over some torn up sprigs of thyme, before returning to the oven once more to finish cooking. When the tart is risen around the edges, crisp and golden brown it’s good to go – normally around the 30 minute mark. Remove and enjoy! To serve, drizzle over the lemon juice, a bit more olive oil and some freshly ground salt and pepper!