I always like Sunday lunch to be an event. Even if it’s just Andrew and me, I tend not to turn to leftovers at this particular time of the week. Instead, it’s a time for experimenting with new recipes, often elaborate multi-step ventures. For lack of a better word, I like my Sunday midday meal to be “fancy”.
This isn’t a hangover from my childhood; weekend lunches in my family are a non-starter at best. It was a mug of soup from the freezer or some toast from the breadbox, and my sister and I were pretty much left to fend for ourselves. (After we’d reached an appropriately independent age, of course- it’s not like our parents neglected to feed their babies.) Perhaps my predilection for involved weekend lunches is some sort of post-adulthood rebellion.
As those lunches go, a vegetable quiche/tart is certainly one of the most involved. There’s the pastry, the veg, the filling, the blind baking and the actual baking- definitely one to sink your cooking teeth into. I made just such a tart last weekend, after being inspired by my sister’s Pumpkin, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Tart.
Wanting to keep the essence of that pie while still making the recipe my own, I made some (not insignificant) changes. The first was to use an all-butter pastry, because I’ve gotta tell you, I just don’t hold with that shortening nonsense. Bland, flavourless and just plain gross – at what cost flakiness, I ask you?
Since I’ve promised not to cook with pumpkin anymore (at least not for another year) I used butternut squash, an old favourite of mine. Greens came in the form of Russian kale, my new favourite addition to soups and stir-fries. Surprisingly for me, I didn’t have any cheese, save a bit of leftover cream cheese, in the house at all. I opted to mix this into the egg and cream mixture, which gave the tart a subtle cheesy taste.
So was all this “involvement” worth it? Oh, yes. One of the best things about flexing your culinary muscles on the weekend is reaping the benefits all week long- this baby here made many a delicious lunch, I can assure you.
- Squash and Kale Tart
- adapted from Let Her Bake Cake
- makes one 10″ tart
- Pastry Tart Case
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp. salt
113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes and very cold
1/4 – 1/3 cup ice cold water
1 small butternut squash
75g Russian kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped roughly
200ml double cream
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
- 1. To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, but with some visible pea-sized pieces of butter remaining.
2. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the ice water, and mix it into the flour with a fork or dough whisk. Work until it just comes together, but no more (you may need to add a bit more water, but do so a teaspoon at a time).
3. Gather up the pastry and wrap it tightly in clingfilm; place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days.
4. When ready to use, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Gently lift into a 10″ tart tin and press into the corners, being careful not to “stretch” the dough too much. Trim off the excess, prick the bottom and sides a few times with a fork, and put the unbaked tart tin into the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. Just before you’re ready to bake the pastry, preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the frozen pastry with parchment paper, and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans/paper and cook for a further 7 minutes to dry out the bottom. Set the tart case aside to cool- it can be wrapped in clingfilm and frozen at this point, as well.
6. To prepare the butternut squash, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and brush the insides lightly with olive oil. Place the cut halves facing down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Allow to cool before peeling off the skin and chopping the squash into 1″ cubes.
7. For the kale, bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the kale. Cook for about 7 minutes, until tender to your liking. Drain the kale and “squeeze” it dry using some paper towels or a clean tea towel.
8. To prepare the filling, whisk together the eggs, cream, cream cheese, parmesan, salt and pepper in a large jug.
9. Next, put everything together: dot the squash over the bottom of the tart case and “fill in the gaps” with the cooked kale. Pour the egg mixture over everything, but be careful not to let it overflow. Bake tart in a 180°C/350°F oven for 30-35 minutes, until tart is browned on top and springy to the touch. Cool slightly before serving.