This classic easy dinner is a great one for children to help make. Rolling out and pricking the pastry, ‘painting’ it with egg and talking about different vegetables and how to prepare them gives lots of scope for involvement. Whizzing up the pesto is fun too – this one was devised with seasonality in mind (the primary school children were visiting a local community garden a few hours before this cooking class), and to cater for a nut allergy. You could always add walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or almonds to it though.
Most roast veg tarts pre-roast the vegetables, but if you prepare them thinly enough you can skip that step.
250g puff pastry
Mixed vegetables to roast, e.g. courgettes, aubergine, peppers, kale, spinach, onion, tomatoes, broccoli, seasonal asparagus etc
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 small clove of garlic, crushed – start with half as it can easily get too strong
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
Juice of half a lemon
5 tablespoons olive oil
A small handful of fresh basil – this is very much to your own taste, use as much as you like
Two big handfuls of spinach/kale
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4, with the baking tray inside to heat up.
- Prepare the vegetables:
– Slice vegetables like courgettes and peppers a maximum of 5mm thick.
– Break broccoli into small florets.
– Tear the central vein out of kale leaves and tear them into smaller pieces. Kale can be scattered over about five minutes before the tart finishes cooking.
– Slice tomatoes, or half cherry tomatoes.
– Chop aubergine into 1cm dice or cut into thin ribbons.
– Asparagus can just be laid on whole and raw.
– If using spinach, wilt it in a saucepan with a few drops of water, drain thoroughly.
- Whizz the pesto ingredients in a food processor, checking for seasoning and adjusting to taste.
- Roll out the puff pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Slide it onto a piece of baking paper the same size as your baking tray and lightly prick holes all over the base with a fork, leaving a 3cm border all around the edge.
- Spread the pesto over the base of the pastry, up to and not including the border.
- Arrange over the vegetables, then lightly brush the pastry border with beaten egg.
- Slide the tart on the baking paper into the hot baking tray (this helps the base crisp up). Pop it all back in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the edges are risen and golden brown, and the vegetables are cooked.