Woolworth’s ruined the friendship when they discontinued their pastry shell bases.
Combining them with both sweet and savoury fillings was so effortless I added them to a new course only to find out Woolworth’s would no longer be stocking the shells.
Thankfully the timing coincided with my foody friend Lisa Brink discovering a really quick and easy but amazing, no-bake-blind savoury pastry alternative and I was able to go ahead with the tarts, without scaring off the non-bakers and busy moms.
My choice of tart was the most delicious caramelised garlic filling (a slightly tweaked Ottolengi recipe below) but I ended up adding a butternut and goats cheese filling for the non-garlic lovers (most who were converted after tasting the garlic tart anyway).
Using the same pastry and custard, I have made various fillings, most recently two variations for my vegetarian cousin who came for dinner last night. A black and porcini mushroom filling with caramelised onion as well as an orange sweet potato, sun-dried tomato and feta filling (below) worked beautifully with the parmesan pastry.
I have also added smoked salmon and parmesan, topping the tarts with slivers of salmon and fresh dill for my sister’s baby shower.
Make any size tart-large, individual or even fill a casserole dish-just adjust the baking time as indicated. The custard is not eggy, more creamy, so some large tarts may ooze a little if sliced from the oven.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon castor sugar
- 1/3 cup parmesan
- 150g cold butter, diced
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Process flour, sugar, Parmesan and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
- Add the egg and milk and process until the dough just comes together in a log
- Remove the log, roll out a bit more with your hands, to resemble a thick sausage and slice into pieces
- Place the pieces in the desired dish and press together with your fingers, covering the entire base of the pie dish/tart pan
- Refrigerate half an hour before proceeding
- Remove pie from fridge, prick with a fork and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 180˚C for a large tart or 10-15 minutes for a small tart
- Fill as desired and then top with the basic cream mix
- Bake for 30-35 minutes at 180 ˚C for a large tart, 15-20 minutes for a small tart or until the top is golden brown and the centre not too wobbly.
Combine the following:
- 1cup cream
- ½ tub crème fraîche
- 3 egg yolks
CARAMELISED GARLIC FILLING
- 4 onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ Punnet fresh thyme-about 2 TBS of the leaves
- 2 Bags Woolies giant garlic (4 giant garlic heads)
- Place the peeled garlic cloves in a sauce pan, cover well with boiling water and cook for about 25-30 minutes or until tender
- Pan-fry the onions for 10-15 minutes, adding a teaspoon of sugar just before the cooking process so that they are nicely caramelised. Add the thyme. Remove onions but keep the pan
- Drain the water from the softened cloves, place the pan back on the heat with a little oil and add the cloves
- Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce for a minute or two.
- Remove from heat when the cloves are coated with a dark caramel sauce, at this stage you may add more balsamic vinegar if needed.
- Place the onions into the pre-cooked shell and top with the cloves and then custard and bake
ROASTED BUTTERNUT AND GOATS CHEESE FILLING
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 350g (or more) butternut, cubed according to the size of the tart
- ¼ Punnet fresh thyme-about 2 tablespoons of the leaves
- 1 -2 Rounds (80g each) Woolies goat’s cheese (Crottin with the rind, not the cream cheese log)
- Olive oil
- Drizzle the butternut with a bit of olive oil and roast at 180 ˚C for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked
- Pan fry the onions for 10-15 minutes, adding a teaspoon of sugar just before the cooking process so that they are nicely caramelised. Add the thyme.
- Slice the goats cheese into 6 (or 12) slices
- Fill the pre-cooked shell with the onions and then the butternut, add the custard and then top with the goat’s cheese and bake.
MEAT- FREE MONDAY ROAST VEGETABLE FILLING
- 1 Packet/500g Woolworth’s ready to roast Mediterranean vegetables
- Drunken Pecorino cheese
- Small rocket leaves to top
- Roast the vegetables according to instructions
- Place the vegetables in the pre-cooked tart shell, top with custard
- Bake for 35 minutes at 190 ˚C
- To serve: Scatter the vegetables with rocket leaves and shave cheese on top
OTHER FILLINGS AND IDEAS
Fill your tart with absolutely anything using the custard recipe as well as caramelised onions as the base. Here are some ideas.
1. Fry 3 onions as the base and top with mushrooms. Use 1 large or 2 small punnets of brown or black mushrooms with about half a cup of porcini mushrooms (rehydrated in water). To Serve shave parmesan on top.
2. Omit the caramelised onion base and fry some chopped spring onions instead. Flake cooked salmon or chopped smoked salmon and with some chopped and fried. Add some parmesan to the custard. To serve add a slither of smoked salmon and garnish with fresh dill
3. Add cooked asparagus and hydrated sun dried tomato to the caramelised onion base
4. Roast, blister and peel peppers, slice and add to the tart with chunks of Philadelphia cheese
5. Make a caramelised onion base with 4 onions and add blue cheese. Garnish with roasted walnuts
6. Use leftovers for a mid-week meal; shredded chicken, roast vegetables, olives, tomatoes, even scrape out the onion marmalade jar in the fridge and dollop around the tart.