I had the idea for this ages ago, although I wasn’t sure if it would work. So I had to wait for the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl and find out. That time arrived (at last!) as two friends came to stay for the weekend, and found themselves as taste testers in my culinary experiment.
Fortunately for them, it turned out pretty well – hurrah! To be honest, I’d never doubted that the flavour wouldn’t be great – roasted butternut squash and caramelised onions, paired with feta cheese and a hint of spice. How wrong could it go? My main concern was the texture of the filling and how well (or otherwise) it would set. I should have had more confidence! The creamy, softly set butternut squash filling was just right. Firm enough to slice, but soft enough to melt in the mouth. Yum.
Rather than whizz up all the squash into a smooth custardy filling, I kept some back and dropped chunks of squash onto the top of the tart with the cubes of feta cheese, to add a little variety to the tart-eating experience. Once you also factor in the crisp, buttery pastry, this roasted butternut squash and feta tart really is a meal in itself. We enjoyed it with nothing more than a simple salad.
Kipper wasn’t 100% convinced by this, but as is often the case with her food preferences, I suspect it was a texture rather than a taste thing. She ate the chunks of squash, and the crisp, crumbly pastry, but wasn’t too keen on the smooth, butternut squash filling, although she agreed it was “yummy”. The adults scoffed the lot though 🙂
One last thing – the recipe looks massively complicated and really it isn’t. You make the pastry case. You roast the squash. You whizz up the filling and bake it in the pastry case. That’s it. Unfortunately, when I wrote it out recipe-style, it seemed to run away with me. Please don’t be put off by all the instructions. Oh, and also, most of the time involved, it’s doing it’s own thing in the fridge/oven and you’re free to put your feet up, do the crossword, whatever.
This made one 23cm roasted butternut squash and feta tart. Serves 4?
- 150g plain flour
- 75g butter
- 2-4 tbsp cold water
- 1 medium butternut squash (approx. 1 kg)
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4-5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- Good pinch chilli powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 150g feta cheese
- First, make the pastry. Using a food processor, whizz the flour and butter to fine crumbs. With the motor running, add the water a little at a time, just until the pastry comes together.
- Knead lightly, wrap in cling-film, and refrigerate for at 30-60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C.
- Peel the squash, remove the seeds, and cut the flesh into 1.5cm cubes. Peel the garlic cloves but leave them whole.
- Place the squash cubes, garlic cloves, dried thyme and olive oil in a large baking tin and mix well. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes until soft and browning.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to 3-4mm thickness and use it to line a 24-25cm loose bottomed flan tin. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.
- Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans, and bake at 180C for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the roasted squash from the oven. Reserve 2 tbsp of roasted squash chunks for the top of the tart, and blend the rest, together with the roasted garlic and any oil, to give a smooth puree. Add the eggs, chilli and seasoning and mix well. Set aside.
- Cut the feta cheese into small cubes.
- Once the pastry case is baked, remove the beans and baking paper. Pour the butternut squash puree into the hot pastry case and sprinkle the reserved squash and feta cheese over the top.
- Bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes, until the tart is set and golden.
- Serve warm.