In South-Africa, most cities are now experiencing cool mornings and evenings, which means that Autumn is here. I absolutely love this time of year when salads become stews and soups and I can start wearing my favourite coats and boots. I am after all, a Winter baby.
But I do get sad when I walk into the produce section of a supermarket and the only fruit on offer are citrus related. There’s just nothing like the fresh nectarines, peaches, watermelon and grapes you get in Summer. And the same goes for vegetables. But I’m very excited to be experimenting with root vegetables, mushrooms etc. this Winter.
So to bid Summer farewell, I decided to make the best of it and I made this gorgeous tart. Not that you can’t make this in Winter (the variations are endless), but tarts and quiches are almost synonymous with Summer to me. Zucchini (Courgette) is probably my favourite vegetable at the moment so that would get the starring roll in my tart. I had a version of this last week with ripe, sliced tomatoes which was to die for and I started thinking of fabulous combinations. Using the same pesto ‘base’, you could add things like thinly sliced potatoes and fresh chives, pan-fried mushrooms with garlic, small cubes of roasted butternut and crumbled feta…there are truly endless combinations.
I really like the freshness of zucchini to be balanced with a spicy kick, so just before serving, I sprinkled over just a bit of finely chopped chillies and I also added a few baby mint leaves, for that extra Summer kick. And for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are going into Spring now, make use of all those gorgeous fresh vegetables you’ll be able to get hold of and play with different combinations, let me know what you come up with!
Makes 1 tart (Serves 4-6)
1 roll, ready-made puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
3tbsn basil pesto
4tbsn Crème fraiche
5 large zucchini, thinly sliced or sliced using a vegetable peeler
1tsp red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2tbsn baby mint leaves or sliced mint
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil, to drizzle
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
- To make the tart, roll out the puff pastry slightly and score a border around the edge. (As you’ll see in the photo, there is a border, this is done by scoring the pastry. Use a sharp knife for this but make sure that you don’t cut all the way through the pastry). Place the pastry on a greased baking tray.
- Brush the border with the egg.
- Mix the pesto and Crème fraiche and spread on the pastry, leaving the border clean.
- Place the Zucchini ribbons on the pastry and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden and the zucchini is cooked.
- Sprinkle with the chopped chillies and mint. Season with salt & pepper and drizzle with some olive oil.