I have a thing for big bags of summer squash (yellow and green). Or let’s just say I have a big bag of summer squash in the back of my fridge and I’m trying to develop a thing for them. I do love them, no doubt, but I need a break in the form of this tart. It’s like a pie filled with vegetables or, in other words, a perfect meal.
Summer squashes, so different from their autumn brethren: slender, slight and unimposing, somewhat carefree with their dresses of speckled green and headdress flowers of egg-yolk orange.
Their beauty is subtle: the garden aroma from freshly picked globe squashes, the kempt fur of a young zucchini, the swan’s neck curve of a tromboncino; it takes time to fall in love with the summer squash.
Yet to anyone that grows them, zucchini quickly become a burden: a new day, another basket of squash. For weeks, all we can think about are new ways to use them: first salads, then pasta, then chutneys and finally cakes and cookies. By late September the love affair is often over and we set our sights on those voluptuous, bold, and autumnal pumpkins and butternuts.
This tart is one recipe that might just keep the spark alive a moment longer. My dishes tend to take on a bit more spicy warmth in the autumn, and this is no exception: a traditional English tart with an Indian flare. Despite the fragrance of turmeric, nigella and garam masala, the mellow sourness of the ricotta and the sweetness of the carrots, the zucchini still holds it own. This is, I suppose, a swansong of zucchini season; a way to use up the last few before the rains roll in.
Spiced Carrot & Zucchini Tart
Makes: 1 Tart
Ingredients:For the pastry
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 4 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- 1 large carrot
- 3 small zucchini
- 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 9 ounces ricotta
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces cheddar cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil for pan-frying
Directions:Make the pastry
- Put the flour, turmeric, nigella seeds, and salt in a large bowl. Mix with a spoon to combine the ingredients and then add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, with no large buttery lumps remaining. Wear gloves when you mix as the turmeric will stain your fingers.
- Add a dash of water, just enough to bind the pastry together. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you need it. Roll out the pastry until large enough to line a 10- to 11-inch tart tin. The pastry will be very thin, but that’s a good thing.
- Butter the tin and press the pastry into the tin, until it’s quite snug. Make sure there is about 1/2 inch of overhanging pastry around each tin.
- Prick the base of the pastry a few times with a fork. Line the pastry tin with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice.
- Preheat the oven to 390°F. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, or until the top is a malty biscuit color. Remove the baking beans and parchment from the tins, put the pastry back in the oven for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove and set aside.
- Peel and roughly dice the carrots. Add to a pan of salted boiling water until softly cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a good glug of olive oil. Sauté the onions for about 10 minutes until they start to take on a bit of color. Add the garlic towards the end. Don’t stir too often. Remove the onions and garlic and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Heat the saucepan again and add the diced carrots. Season with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Sauté on a high heat until they brown on each side. Remove and add to the mixing bowl with the onions.
- Do the same with the courgettes: season with salt, pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala. Sauté on a high heat until the zucchini becomes soft and brown. Add to the mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the ricotta, cream, and eggs together with a little salt and pepper. Stir in the vegetables and give it all a good mix.
- Pour the mixture into the tart case. Sprinkle with a handful of cheese. Bake the tart for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden.
- Leave to rest 5 minutes, and tidy up any overhanging pastry. Remove the tart from the tin then serve or gift wrap. This tart goes extremely well with an Indian pickle.
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.