The lovely thing about these tarts is that you can make them ahead of time and pop them in the oven for 10 mins to reheat. The mascarpone custard makes them a bit fancier than quiches, what with its creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
These tarts don’t need to be small. The ingredients will make one 21cm tart, six 11cm tarts, or between 12 and 18 party size tarts – the bigger the tart the less pasty required.
I made a batch of these tarts and took them into the office today. They took me an age to make (lots of little pastry cases are so fiddly!) and were devoured in 10 minutes. I’ll take that as a sign they were good. I urge you to dazzle your guests with this delicious tart dear readers – do let me know how you get on!
- Makes: six 11cm tarts (or 1 x 21cm tart, or 12 -18 party size)
- Preparation time: 30 mins
- Cooking time: 30 to 40 mins
- Wine match: To complement, a buttery chardonnay. To contrast, a spritzy pinot grigio.
- 1.5 sheets of ready-made shortcrust pastry
- 18 tsp goats cheese
- 150mL cream
- 175gm mascarpone
- 1 whole free-range egg
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 400gm jap pumpkin, peeled and cubed
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 spanish (red) onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 heaped tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh sage, whole leaves only
Step 1: Roast the pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 180c (356F).
Coat the pumpkin in a drizzle of olive oil, pop on a tray and bake for roughly 35 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and cool.
Step 2: Caramelise the onion
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Sweat the onion until translucent, then stir in the sugar. Reduce heat to lowest setting and caramelise for 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. Remove from heat and cool.
Step 3: Burn the sage
On high heat, fry the butter in a frying pan adding a drizzle of olive oil to stop it from burning. While it is still frothing add the whole sage leaves. Fry until the leaves are dark and crispy, about 3 minutes. Transfer the sage leaves to some paper towel. Keep the burnt sage butter – it’s great for cooking chicken or fish, or stirred into risotto.
Step 4: Make the pastry cases
Grease the baking tins and lay in the pastry, ensuring that no air bubbles are trapped underneath. Cut off the overhanging edges with a sharp knife, cutting away from the edge of the tin.
Blind-bake the tart cases. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160C (320F).
Step 5: Make the mascarpone custard
While the pastry cases are cooling you can make the mascarpone custard. Simply whisk the cream, mascarpone, egg and egg yolk, salt and pepper together in a bowl. The mixture might be runny, but don’t worry because it will set as it bakes.
Step 6: Fill and bake the tarts
Arrange the pumpkin, caramelised onion, burnt sage and goats cheese in the pasty cases. Add a little salt and pepper, then pour in the mascarpone custard, filling the pastry case up about three quarters. This leaves a little room for the custard to puff as it cooks.
Put the tarts into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the tops are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins. Let them cool for about 20 minutes before serving. If covered with a tea towel they will happily sit there waiting for you for up to 12 hours. Simply warm them for 10 minutes in the oven – just don’t serve them too hot.