Oh my , this is a long title. For a very uncomplicated dish. I thought I would be able to let the fall go by without making a squash recipe, but I did not succeed. It has been weeks already of squash hype in the blogs and I was feeling a bit stuffed. But as I wanted to try a new recipe for pastry case using some homemade fresh cheese that was decidedly past its prime, I decided to make a small quiche with a nice organic butternut squash I happened to find at the market. I confess I’m not a big fan of squash, I find it a bit… cloying, except when accompanied by a large amount of spices, as in this case, when it can turn out to be quite addictive actually. Still, the quiche did not quite blow away Mr. Winter Guest… but he is a bit of a picky eater. But fortunately I have other relatives who live nearby and are grateful recipients of my dishes. Nothing is wasted at the Winter Guest’s household.
As I said, I think squash is an ingredient that cries out for vast quantities of spices, including hot, so it was an excellent opportunity to elaborate on my addiction to… you guessed it: ras-el-hanout. Although a good curry powder is too the perfect match for the sweetness of the squash. The result was excellent considering it was completely improvised just to use up the cheese in the pastry case.
Spicy and savory butternut squash tart with a rye crust
For the pastry case (yields enough for 2 tarts), adapted from The Nordic Diet
- 75g AP flour
- 160g rye flour
- 150g fresh cheese
- 50g butter
- 30g cold water
- 1 pinch salt
- Weigh the flours, put them in a food processor and add the cold butter in small pieces. Pulse several times to obtain a crumbly mixture.
- Add the fresh cheese and the salt and knead by hand or with the processor until the dough coheres. If it doesn’t, start to add the water little by little, until you get a ball. The final amount of water needed depends on the consistency of the cheese and on the hydration of the flours.
- Divide dough in half and spread one of the portions with a roller on a floured counter top (you can freeze the other portion for later use). Butter and flour a cake pan and lay the dough on it. Fit it well and prick the bottom with a fork. Put it in the preheated oven (180 ºC) 10 to 15 minutes to seal.
For the filling
- 400g butternut squash
- 1 medium potato
- 2 eggs
- 50g fresh cheese
- 50ml milk
- 1 tsp ras el hanout or curry
- Olive oil for roasting the squash
- Cut the squash into large slices and remove the seeds. Lay onto an oiled baking dish, add salt and brush the slices with more oil. Bake in the oven at 180°C covered with aluminum foil to avoid drying out, until tender, about 3/4 hour, depending on the quality and size of the pieces. You can cook the potato at the same time, though it will take a little shorter (I usually cook the potato in the microwave). You can vary the proportions, decreasing the squash and adding more potato, I find potato makes a great addition to this type tart.
- Once the veggies are al dente, let them cool till you can touch them and slice as you like. Arrange the veggies on the half-baked pastry case in a nice pattern.
- Then mix the batter for the filling: eggs, cheese, milk and seasonings, and pour it on the veggies. Tap the dish on the counter for the batter to distribute evenly and bake half an hour at 180ºC. Enjoy!
My verdict about the pastry case was excellent, you save yourselves a portion of butter by substituting the cheese and the rye flour also gives it a different flavor twist that makes for a pleasant variation to the classical dough. I will definitely use it again.