The last week was busy with impromptu, late night birthday celebrations and somehow in the midst of it all I made this tart to serve with some celebratory drinks. My tart is perfect for casual entertaining as it is best served room temperature and makes a nice change from the usual cocktail snacks. I picked up the gorgeous fresh goat cheese in the photo below from my favorite cheese shop, Saxelby cheese mongers in the Essex street market. Anne Saxelby sells an inspiring selection of carefully sourced, local dairy products and some of the best local cheeses you can find. I was dreaming of eating the cheese with roasted squash and arugula (a common Australian combination), so I made a buttery oatmeal crust to deliver it in and added caramelized onions and fresh thyme. What is unique about this tart is that there is no egg custard binding the filling together and with the addition of some extra caramelized onions, it could easily be dairy free.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or melted butter ( I used a combination)
2-3 tablespoons soymilk or filtered water (milk would also be fine)
2 large red onions, sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 large butternut or red kuri squash, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, peeled and seeded
fresh black pepper
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
1/4 pound fresh goat cheese
arugula to serve
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pulse oats in a food processor until coarsely ground, place in a bowl with flour, salt and baking powder, mix well. Melt butter (if using) in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add olive oil and brush a little into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pour the rest into oat-flour mixture. Mix with a folk until all the butter and oil is combined, drizzle in soy milk (or water) and mix until pastry holds together, it shouldn’t be too wet. Press crust into tart pan and pre-bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.
Place onions and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a wide skillet or frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and cook until caramelized, this takes a good 30 minutes, if they begin to stick turn heat down a little. Stir in a large pinch of sea salt and the balsamic vinegar, cook another few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Cut squash into 3/4 inches chunks, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with remaining olive oil, a large pinch of sea salt and pepper, toss well. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine caramelized onions, roasted squash and thyme leaves.
Crumble half of the goat cheese into the bowl and gently toss. Crumble remaining goat cheese over the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell, top with squash mixture and return to oven for another 20 minutes until goat cheese is golden and slightly melted. Allow to cool before serving.
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