Stunning to look at, and delicious too, this is the Rolls Royce of savoury tarts...
I saw a picture of a similar tart a while back and it looked so incredible, I knew that one day I'd be giving it a go myself. The thing is that I always like to add my own little twist to a recipe. What could I add that wouldn't change the look of the tart, but would add to the taste? A base of almond feta and caramalised onions under the roast veg! I was imagining the crumbly shortcrust pastry, the saltiness of the feta, the sweetness of the onions with the slightly charred vegetables. Perfect.
For the pastry
225g plain flour
100g vegan butter
Ice cold water to bind
For the almond feta layer
150g ground almond meal
60ml lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cold water
For the caramalised onion layer
1 large onion
For the roast vegetable layer - the following all thinly sliced lengthways
1 large courgette
1 large red pepper
1/4 of a pumpkin
1 large parsnip
1 tbsp of chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
First make the pastry. You can either make by hand or in a food processor. Rub or process the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and then add ice cold water, in small amounts, until the pastry comes together into a dough. If doing this by hand, use a knife and make cutting motions through the flour and butter mix after adding your water. A light touch results in a light, crispy pastry. If using the food processor method, just drizzle the cold water in and pulse the mix until a dough ball forms. Wrap your dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge.
Now onto the feta. Its a case of simply adding all the ingredients into a bowl or jug, and using a stick blender or mixer, combine them all together until its a creamy paste. Taste and check for seasoning. Put into a sealed tub and store in the fridge.
For the caramalised onions, cut your onion in half from top to root and thinly slice each half. Add to a frying pan with a good glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Allow to cook down on a low to medium heat until the onions turn golden and become all sticky. Once you're happy, set to one side to cool.
You can make the feta and the onions a day or two ahead of time to speed up the making of the tart on the day.
Preheat your oven to 180C ready to bake the pastry case. Roll out your pastry on a floured surface until about 3mm thick. Line a 9 inch loose bottomed tin with your pastry and allow it to drape over the edges of the tin, You can trim the excess pastry off once its cooked. Using a fork, prick the pastry base all over to help to keep it nice and even when baking. Place a sheet of baking paper over your raw pastry and pour in some raw rice, or baking beans if you have them to weigh the pastry down and prevent it rising too much. Bake for about 10 mins and then remove the paper and rice or beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Once its cool enough to handle, take a serrated knife and gently trim away the excess pastry from around the top of the tin. Set aside while you deal with the vegetables.
Line several baking trays with baking paper and lay out your sliced veg in single layers. Drizzle generously with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 180 for about 15 to 20 minutes. You want them to be soft and just slightly charring on the edges. Once you're happy, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Now we're ready for assembly.
Take your pastry case and spread a layer of your feta over the base. Then your caramalised onions, spreading out gently over the feta. Now its a case of getting creative with your roast vegetable slices. Starting from the outside and working towards the middle, place alternate slices of each veg, choosing the variety as randomly as you like, in a circle formation. Try to pack them tightly against each other. Keep working away until you end up in the centre. If you have leftover veg, you can slot individual slices into any small gaps. Pack as much veg in as you can as it will make a much more sturdy, easy to slice, tart. Drizzle over with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and your thyme leaves. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes at 180C until the veg are starting to brown and the pastry is golden.
Allow to rest and then remove from your tin, slice and enjoy!!