This winter vegetable tart combines the best of the winter veggies with fresh herbs and spices to warm you up on a cold winter night.
It may still not be as cold here as I’d have wanted but the markets have started stocking up on fresh winter produce. Making savory was not really on my mind but when I saw these gorgeous beets and carrots piled high in the markets, I just couldn’t resist. A winter vegetable tart had to happen.
This winter vegetable tart does not contain a large list of ingredients. Quite frankly, you might even frown when I tell you that the only herbs and spices that make it to the list are fresh oregano and red chilli powder. But would you believe that this tart packs a flavorful punch despite the minimal ingredients? I hope you do, because it surely does.
Customise your winter vegetable tart with your choice of veggies.
The thing about this winter vegetable tart is that it is extremely versatile. The only veggies I’ve included in it are onions, beets and carrots. However, if there is any specific vegetable that is available where you stay during the winters, you could easily include those as well. Besides, there is minimal cooking needed and I kept the beets and carrots raw so they could naturally roast in the tart while baking leaving their sweet juices that thicken, bubble and ooze out of the tart.
It is safe to say that despite using more carrots in this winter vegetable tart, it may look more like a beet tart. This is simply because beets tend to overpower any veggie in the color department. I wanted to add a certain amount of creaminess to the tart. Besides, it was also important to create something that would hold the filling together. Cream and eggs spiked with a generous pinch of red chili powder made its way into the winter vegetable tart and it all came together like a dream.
Why I make my Shortcrust Pastry in a food processor and you should too:
I made my tart shell from scratch using shortcrust pastry. I made this pastry in the chopper attachment of my hand blender. There is one very important reason for doing this as opposed to making it with your hands. For shortcrust pastry, it is extremely important to have all your ingredients extremely cold. It is the coldness of the ingredients that adds intense flakiness to your pastry. If you stay in an area where it is generally cold and dry, using your fingertips to rub the butter and flour to make breadcrumbs is totally acceptable. However, if you stay in a place where it’s hot for most part of the year (Like here in Mumbai), the heat from your fingers will end up melting the butter and instead of getting a short, flaky pastry, you’ll end up having chewy pastry. Not good at all!
Add your choice of firm cheese to make this winter vegetable tart extra special.
Is there anything that is complete without cheese? Nope, not in a million years. There has to be cheese and not the processed kind but real, good quality cheese. You can use melty cheeses too, there is no hard and fast rule as such. However, a firmer cheese will give more dimension to this winter vegetable tart as far as textures are concerned. So, you get the slight roasted crunch for the veggies, the crispness from the tart shell, the softness from the cooked onions and finally the chewy, meatiness from the firm cheese. I’ve used paneer because it is fresh and locally available. You could opt for Feta or ricotta or any firm cheese you can get hold of.
Blind baking is involved and as your pastry blind bakes, you can prepare the filling for your winter vegetable tart. Fill it in, bake for another half an hour. 30 minutes later, you’ll have the most delicious and comforting winter vegetable tart that you’ll want to make every so often of cold wintery nights.
- 150 grams all purpose flour, sifted
- 75 grams butter, cold
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon water, cold
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Leaves from 4-5 sprigs of fresh oregano*
- 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 small beets, peeled and chopped
- 120 grams fresh paneer (or any firm cheese)
- 50 mls fresh cream
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- In a food processor or chopper attachment of hand blender, blitz the sifted flour, salt and butter till they resemble breadcrumbs.
- Take it out into a bowl and knead just till it begins to clump together.
- Add the cold water and bring together into a dough.
- Do not overwork it.
- Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- Lightly grease a 15 cm tart tin.
- Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment and line the tart case with it.
- Refrigerate for another 30 – 60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Stab the base with a fork a few times to enable the heat to escape from the tart shell when baking.
- Place a parchment paper on the lined tart, fill with baking beans or rice and bake for 15 minutes.
- Take the parchment with rice / baking beans off and bake again for 15 minutes.
- In a saucepan, heat butter on low and add the onions, garlic, salt and oregano and cook till onions go translucent.
- In a jug, mix cream, eggs and red chili powder.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Add an even layer of the cooked onion mix to the base of the partially baked tart.
- Add the chopped carrot and beets.
- Throw in chopped paneer.
- Evenly pour the cream and egg mix.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Take it out of the oven. Let it cool for about 15-20 minutes before cutting into it. This will help all the bubbling juices to settle.
*Use 2 teaspoons dried oregano if you cannot find fresh.