So, this isn’t my first dabble with gluten free, and, if I'm entirely honest, this tart didn’t start out with that in mind but rather a search for a healthy alternative to an all butter shortcrust pastry. I had something of a feast over christmas (no, we aren’t just talking mince pies, we’re talking yule logs covered with melted Lindors, walnut cookies, gingerbread, an absolute FEAST) so it’s time to rein it in and add a few healthy grains, see my personal trainer more often than I’d really like and overall pretend I think my body is a temple. The trouble is that I don’t really believe that. I wish I had the diminished appetite of Gwyneth Paltrow or the dedication of Deliciously Ella to be vegan but I simply don’t because I LOVE FOOD. (Food… will you be my valentine?) Healthy food, indulgent food, good for me, bad for me… (would now be a good time to confess I have been known to thoroughly enjoy a few slices of an American Hot from Dominos?) but the overriding theme for me would have to be a balance. My aim is to eat healthily but every so often something else slips in there - like the amazing cream cheese pastry cinnamon buns that are next on my list - you see what I’m up against?
But back to our tart. There are actually two versions of it. One version I made for Country Life magazine and I gave it a more Italian theme by using olive oil and and parmesan in the crust and added fresh anchovy fillets and chilli to the filling and the other, that I have given permission to Anthropolgie to use (I practically felt like I’d won an Oscar when THEY asked ME if they could use my image!) uses coconut oil in the crust and is vegetarian. Both are equally delicious… just different.
Remember when earlier I said there needed to be more healthy grains? Well, let me introduce you (or reintroduce you if you two have met before) to buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is your new best friend. An amazing ingredient. Not really a grain at all but a seed, that is related to rhubarb. It’s thought to reduce the risk of diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, AND contains a crazy number of nutrients and anti oxidants. The flour feels really silky when you rub it between your fingers, almost like icing sugar, but somehow turns into a very substantial, whole grain tasting crust. To top off the whole healthy thing I poured in 50g of mixed seeds, AND coconut oil making this a most nutritious tart crust that Gwynnie and Ella may even approve of. The tart is then filled with spring vegetables and, a fabulous superfood: eggs. Don’t even get me started on how good eggs are for you… but I’ll save that for another time when I’m making something truly indulgent whose only redeeming ingredient is an egg.
Recipe: buckwheat tart with spring vegetables and chilli
For the pastry:
300g buckwheat flour
50g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, linseed)
50g Grana Padano
a generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon xanthum gum (optional but improves elasticity for rolling)
80ml coconut oil
100ml almond milk, unsweetened
For the filling:
220g broccoli and cauliflower couscous (simply process broccoli and cauliflower until it resembles couscous)
200g courgettes, sliced into coins
150g garden peas
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 red chilli, diced
100ml single cream
a large handful pea shoots for serving
Preheat your oven to 180c/350f/gas 3 and grease a 25cm tart dish with coconut oil.
Take the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand - which is very workable) and add the buckwheat flour, mixed seeds, xanthum gum, salt and grated cheese. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and coconut oil. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and place the bowl under it and mix on a slow speed. As it comes together, add the almond milk slowly, only adding more as it is needed. Remove the dough from the bowl and bring it together with your hands. Put the dough o your work surface and roll out to the thickness of a point coin. Carefully place it in the tart dish - it may crumble but it won’t matter if you patch it together as you go. Once lined, bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes (no need for baking beans).
Remove from the oven and spoon over the vegetable couscous, add the sliced courgettes, spring onions, peas, red chilli slices, and then pour over the contents of a jug that contains the beaten eggs, cream and seasoning that have all been well beaten together. Bake for around 25-30 minutes or until the centre no longer moves.
Remove from the oven and serve scattered with pea shoots... and take a picture to share with us all on instagram!