Autumn vegetable tart

This tart is packed full of colourful and healthy veggies, and is particularly enjoyable at this time of year. The recipe is largely based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Very full tart’ recipe in Plenty. If you can, I’d encourage you to make your own shortcrust pastry beforehand. It is well worth the time and effort.

I’m just a humble tart, saying “please eat me”…

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 medium aubergine, cut into 4cm dice
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3cm dice
  • 1 small courgette, cut into 3cm dice
  • 2 medium brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, quartered and separated into layers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 300g shortcrust pastry
  • 8 thyme sprigs, leaves picked (or you can substitute with dried mixed herbs)
  • 120g ricotta
  • 120g feta
  • 7 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 200ml double cream
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Method:

  1. Make the shortcrust pastry case and blind bake beforehand.
  2. Heat the oven to 230°C / 210°C fan / Gas Mark 8. Start by roasting the vegetables. For the peppers, cut out the stalks and discard along with the seeds. Place the two peppers in a small ovenproof tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and put on the top shelf of the oven. Check them periodically and turn to coat in the oil and roasting juices.
  3. Mix the aubergine in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking tin and place in the oven on the shelf beneath the peppers.
  4. After 12 minutes add the diced sweet potato to the aubergine tin and stir gently. Return to the oven to roast for another 12 minutes. Then add the courgette to the tin, stir and roast for a further 10-12 minutes.
  5. At this point the peppers should be brown and the rest of the vegetables cooked. Remove all from the oven and reduce the temperature to 160°C/ 140°C fan / Gas Mark 2 ½.
  6. Place a heated, rimmed baking sheet onto the top shelf of your oven.
  7. While the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Sauté the brown onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from the pan and discard the bay leaves.
  8. In the same pan, add the red onion segments. Toss in the oil and fry for a few minutes until the edges are starting to brown, but there’s still a crunchiness to the onion.
  9. Take your tart tin with the pastry shell inside. Scatter the cooked brown onion over the bottom of the pastry and top with the roasted vegetables (apart from the red onion), arranging them evenly. Scatter half the thyme leaves over. Next, dot the veg with small chunks of both cheeses and then the tomato halves, cut-side up, and the red onion segments.
  10. Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Slowly pour the mix into the tart case; the top layer of tomatoes, red onion and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme over the top.
  11. Place in the oven on the pre-heated baking sheet and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before taking the tart out of the tin and serving.

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