sweet tart

tarts. savory pies. assorted vegetables layered in a butter-y crust. whatever you want to call them, dinner pastries are a thing i've always wanted to tackle. the stuff of food magazine cover shots, with a hint of french mystique, the process of making a vegan veg tart struck me as more than a bit intimidating. how do you manipulate all the ingredients to gel, just so, in said crust? what do you use in place of cheese to give it a little extra flavor and texture? well, quickly enough i found out: it's not so hard!

i used a recipe for a crust from the vegan brunch cookbook. it's mostly flour and fat (in this case, margarine), with a bit of salt. the most annoying part is adding the margarine in tiny pieces. i did it with my fingers which soon became super greasy, maybe it was good for my skin though, i dunno. then you have to mash the margarine into the flour with a fork (what is a pastry knife?). this process, plus the insane amount of fat, is what gives the crust its flaky goodness. once the dough achieves an even, sandy texture, a few teaspoons of ice cold water get mixed in until a dough forms. the dough gets rolled into a ball, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated.

the next part was the trickiest - the filling. we had plenty of fresh vegetables, but i thought the pie needed a little something else. just veggies seem too boring, like if that's all there is, why not just make some biscuits and a stir fry and call it a day? we didn't have tofu or any other soy products to incorporate, so with lauren's input, i made a bootleg but ultimately awesome pesto-y filling. in the food processor we combined about 2/3 cup almonds (soaked 'em for a bit in boiling water to soften them up), tons of fresh basil, a handful of mixed olives, capers and artichoke hearts, and pulsed it all with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper. maybe i splashed a little red wine in there too, i forget? either way we just adjusted everything til it had a nice, robust flavor and a thick consistency. we didn't even need to add olive oil since the olives and marinated artichokes thickened it up nicely.

after the crust had chilled for about an hour, i rolled it out and poked a few holes in the bottom with a fork. the shell was then pre-baked at 375 for 10 minutes, while i cleaned, chopped and gently sauteed all the veggies for the filling: zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms. there were caramelized onions too, but i'd had those going since before i started the pie crust.

once the crust was partially cooked through, i pulled it out and let it cool for a sec. then i spread the filling on the bottom, layered the vegetables in a pretty pattern, and layered on some fresh tomatoes, kind of the dinner pie version of cherries on top!

baked the whole thing for another 20 minutes, then let it rest for 15 more. it maybe could've stayed in the oven for a bit longer but i was too hungry and impatient at that point to care. because all the vegetables were pre-cooked it just needed to heat through and the crust needed to brown. but then it was done, and delicious! here's a nice little cross section:

tart success!



Amy said...

Photos do not load. I think there may be a bad link. Please fix as I really want to see!! Also I have a pastry blender - I will show it to you next time you come down. It really solves the greasy fingers problem! Love you!

Emily said...

that's weird about the photos. they load fine on my laptop, as well as the PC at work (i double checked there). i'll upload them to the flickr, maybe you can see them there?

Amy said...

Now I can see them. And they made me HUNGRYYYYYY.