dairy-free and egg-free cooking for pleasure

Posts tagged “tart

Tomato tart – dairy-free

This tart brings out all the latent flavour of even sun-starved tomatoes. And the contrast in texture between the crunchy pastry and the deep soft filling makes it quite different from a pizza. The colours are a pleasing reminder of summer. Those inclined to vegetarian cuisine can use vegetable fat for the pastry and leave out the bacon, though it does add a little crispy something.

  • shortcrust pastry dough, using 250 g flour, 80 g lard or vegetable fat, ¼ tsp salt (for a method of making pastry and rolling it out, see Olive Oil, Garlic & Parsley – the book, otherwise use your own)
  • 1–1.5 kg ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 250 g onions
  • olive oil
  • 2–4 sprigs or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 pinch of sugar (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1–2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1–2 tsp harissa or ¼ tsp chilli powder or 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3–4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • black olives

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C.

Roll out the pastry dough, make a tart shell, and bake it blind (i.e., prick the pastry base with a fork and cover the whole tart mould with greaseproof paper weighted down with dried or ceramic beans) for 10 min. Set it to one side.

Skin and chop the tomatoes. Finely chop the garlic and, separately, the onion, and soften the latter slowly in a generous tablespoon of olive oil.

If the oven is not already alight from baking the pastry, put it on at this point (gas mark 6/200°C).

With a draining spoon, so as to leave as much liquid behind as possible, add the chopped tomato to the onion in the pan, followed by the thyme, sugar, if you judge the tomatoes need a flavour-enhancer, salt and pepper, and the chopped garlic. Cover, and cook down gently for 5–10 min. Stir in the tomato paste and harissa, chilli powder, or cayenne pepper, and cook another 3–4 min.

While the tomato is cooking, cut the bacon into small strips and brown in their own fat, before spreading them over the partially cooked pastry shell. Cover with the tomato mixture and arrange some olives on top.

Bake for 25–30 min in the middle of the oven. Serve hot or cold.

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Dairy-free strawberry tart


Another lovely dairy-free pudding that can be made simply and without recourse to substitute ingredients. These provide at best the texture of the real thing.

Strawberries appear in Provence after Easter. And this year, spring having been wet, they are not as fragrant as they might be. Perfect candidates for this tart where the glaze brings out all the latent flavour of the fruit.

The three parts, the pastry, the glaze, and the strawberries may each be prepared beforehand. The glaze (made according to the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1, by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child) is arguably the fiddliest bit, but it truly enhances the strawberry flavour, and can be made in quantity, stored in a jar, and re-heated when needed.

The fat for the pastry can be vegetable fat or lard. The latter is no longer so disapproved of by nutritionists.

  • unsweetened shortcrust pastry dough (see Olive Oil, Garlic & Parsley – the Book for an easy and reliable method, if you don’t already have your own), using 50–60 g fat for 180 g flour
  • fat to grease the tart tin
  • 500 g fresh strawberries
  • 175 ml apricot jam or red-currant jelly, for the glaze
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C.

Roll out the pastry, line a greased tart tin (22 cm), and bake the pastry blind (i.e., the pastry base pricked with a fork, and the whole tart mould covered with greaseproof paper weighted down with dried haricot or ceramic beans) for 7 min.

Remove the beans and greaseproof paper, prick the pastry base again, and return it to the oven for a further 7–10 min for a fully baked shell. Set it aside to cool, but keep the oven on.

While the pastry is baking, hull the strawberries, leaving them whole.

To make the glaze, first strain the apricot jam, if used, through a sieve to remove skins (if the jam is very stiff and dense, soften it over a gentle heat first). Then heat the strained jam or the red-currant jelly with the granulated sugar, in a small saucepan, over a medium heat, stirring continuously, with a wooden spoon, for 2–3 min. The glaze is ready when it coats the spoon with a thin film and drips off stickily. Don’t overheat it or it will become brittle on cooling.

Arrange the whole strawberries in circles, stem-end downwards, on the tart base. Pour over the warm glaze and return to the oven for 5 min. Serve warm or cold.

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Pumpkin and almond tart – gorgeous & dairy-free


At this time of year, the markets and local shops have pumpkins piled high, adding their colours to the autumn spectrum. Pumpkin features in quite a few Provençal recipes, none perhaps nicer than this Christmas dessert – worth enjoying on other occasions too.

  • unsweetened shortcrust pastry dough (see Olive Oil, Garlic & Parsley – the book for a method), using 50–60 g fat for 180 g flour
  • fat to grease the tart mould
  • 250 g pumpkin, rind and seeds removed
  • 100–150 g shelled almonds
  • 90 g (vanilla) castor sugar
  • 3–4 sml pieces of orange zest

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C.

Roll out the dough, line a greased, 22 cm, tart mould, and bake blind (i.e., the dough pricked with a fork and covered in greaseproof paper weighted down with dried or ceramic beans) for 7 min.

Remove the beans and greaseproof paper. Return the shell to the oven, having pricked the base again with a fork, for a further 2–3 min, then set aside. Turn the oven down to gas mark 4/180°C.

Blanch and peel the almonds by immersing them for 1–2 min in boiling water, taking them out with a slotted spoon, and slipping off the skins when you can handle them.

Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and cook gently in a covered pan, with 2 tbsp water, until soft enough to be crushed with a spatula (5–8 min). Mash with a fork, return to a low heat, uncovered, and stirring often, reduce to a thick purée (approx 5 min, some liquid will always remain).

At the same time, grill the almonds until lightly coloured. Put them through a food-processor, along with the sugar and orange peel, whizzing until you have a medium-fine crumble. Turn out into a mixing bowl and stir in the pumpkin, using a draining spoon to transfer it from the saucepan.

Fill the waiting tart shell and return to the middle of the oven for 20 min.

Serve hot with a sweet white wine such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise or de Rasteau. Any left over can be eaten cold.

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