I’m loving the Butternut and Pumpkin season at Chez Foti. To be honest it’s making a welcome change from all those tomatoes of the summer, not that they’ve completely finished yet!. And it’s been lots of fun getting a little more inventive with them than the usual soups and stews. One of my biggest successes was the Chocolate Pumpkin Cake, but I’ve also been making all manner of other sweet and savoury baked goodies that I haven’t found the time to blog yet. My latest mission has been to develop an interesting Butternut Tart and I’m finally happy with the results and ready to share the recipe. A Shortcrust pastry base (homemade or shop bought), a meltingly soft layer of red onions topped with roasted butternut cubes, crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine kernels, a generous sprinkling of fresh thyme and finally a drizzle of balsamic for a little zing. Not only is this a great family-friendly mid-week supper or lunch tart, it’s a more interesting than normal vegetarian dinner party option too.
I have to hold my hands up and admit I do use ready-made shortcrust or puff pastry occasionally, particularly to make a quickie mid-week supper. In France both pastries are readily and cheaply sold in a roll, ready rolled and ready to place directly onto a (round) baking tin or tray. How’s that for super-cheating? Even better that it can sometimes be very good quality pastry, but like most things you get what you pay for. I believe in the UK you can only buy frozen shortcrust or puff pastry that needs to be rolled out? I do obviously make my own pastry quite often too!
You could happily also use a flavoursome pumpkin for this tart, and in fact I used a mixture of pumpkin and butternut here as I was using up what I happened to have in the fridge. Though my normal warning with using pumpkin stands…make sure it’s a sweetie! Pumpkin can all too often be bland and devoid of flavour, particularly the pumpkins sold for Halloween in the UK. I’m luckily enough to have really flavoursome ones at Chez Foti, but then I’m also lucky enough to have long sunshiny summers!.
I’m also entering it to the One Ingredient Challenge for a second time this month, hopefully this is allowed?! The One Ingredient Challenge is a monthly blog event, held jointly by Laura @ How to Cook Good Food and this month by Nazima @ Franglais Kitchen, picking out a particular ingredient each month, and this month it so happens to be Pumpkin or Squash. Perfect!
Butternut, Feta and Red Onion Tart with Thyme
Serves 3 to 4 people, or a family of 4:
400g of Butternut squash, peeled
a tablespoon of olive oil
salt & pepper
1 very large or 2 medium red onions
35g of butter
250g of shortcrust pastry, either homemade or shop bought
25g of pine kernels
a medium free range egg, lightly beaten
130g of feta cheese, roughly crumbled
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt & pepper
Special Equipment: A large oblong or round baking sheet or tray
Start with roasting your Butternut. Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6. Dice into smallish 1 to 1.5cm cubes, toss in the olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place on a roasting tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the squash is soft and slightly browned.
Meanwhile finely slice the onions. Heat the butter in a frying pan on a low heat and saute the onions for 25 to 30 minutes until meltingly soft.
Roll out the pastry (or de-roll in my lazy case!) into a circular (roughly 30 x 30cm) or oblong (roughly 35 x 20cm) shape. Place on an appropriately sized and shaped baking sheet or tray. Lightly prick the surface all over with a fork. Bake blind in the already pre-heated oven (200ºC) for 10 minutes.
Now to toast the pine kernels. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and once hot throw in the kernels. Shake every few moments until you have been lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once the onions are cooked allow to cool for a few minutes before mixing them with the beaten egg and a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
Once the butternut has finished roasting, the onions are ready and pastry baked blind you can begin your assembly. Evenly spread the onion mix over the pastry, followed by the roasted butternut cubes then a scattering of the feta and pine kernels. Generously sprinkle on the thyme leaves and a little more black pepper. Carefully drizzle a few drops of Balsamic evenly all over.
Place back in the already heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes (200ºC). Remove when the pastry is golden at the edges. Slice and serve. Lovely with a tomato or green salad.
How about trying some of my other related recipes Butternut Squash & Chorizo Soup with Chorizo Croutons, Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese, Chicken, Pumpkin & Borlotti Beans, A Couple of Tomato Tarts, Leek & Goats Cheese Tart