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Vegetable Tart – My Vegetarian Alternative

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This tart can be a real showstopper at any dinner table. It makes a wonderful vegetarian centrepiece and often prompts little gasps and many a ‘how did you do that?!’  The concept is simple: celebrate the roots, the vegetables and make them the stars of the show but putting them on show. Many vegetarian main course dishes hide underneath blankets of mashed potato or simply substitute meat for mushrooms. This will show your vegetarian guests that you made a real effort for them, and I promise you they’ll appreciate it!

I recommend buying ready-made pastry for this dish – it is such a time-saver and when you’re entertaining at Christmas, time-savers are a must. You don’t want to have any pastry disasters on a day you’re hosting!

I would also recommend using a mandolin for this if you have one. If not, a vegetable peeler will do just fine.

You’ll need a 23cm pie dish to bake this in.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Shortcrust or puff pastry, rolled out to just cover the edges of the pie dish – approximately 25cm in diameter

Sour cream

Cheddar cheese

1 courgette

1 small aubergine

6 small carrots, assorted colours

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the cheddar, sour cream, salt and pepper.
  3. Roll the pastry out until you have a circle approximately 28cm in diameter.
  4. Lay it over the tin and press into the sides. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. At this point, slice your vegetables using a very sharp knife or a mandolin. Try and keep the width of each strip consistent – I suggest somewhere between 1 and 1.5cm.
  6. After the pastry has chilled, prick it all over the base with a fork.
  7. Blind bake the pastry shell for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the shell from the oven, and pour in the cheese mixture and spread until even.
  9. To begin arranging the vegetables, start with a piece of carrot and roll into a tight coil. Keep wrapping more strips around the centre coil until it’s too big to keep in your hands. Place it at the centre of the tart.
  10. Continue to work your way outwards until you reach the edge. Be as artistic as you like.
  11. Once the pie is filled up, drizzle the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  12. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Check back half way.
  13. If you notice the edges of the pie browning excessively, you can cover it with foil until cooking time is complete.
  14. Serve warm alongside a leafy green salad.

 

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