Recipe & Images FIONA HUGUES 

Japanese scholar Okakura Kakuzo said, “In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”

With this in mind, what better way to share flowers with loved ones than those that nourish too?

After the publication of my Peach & Burnt Buttercream Cake from the spring issue some asked for step-by-step instructions how to make my peach roses, so here is the technique, this time in savoury form.

For now, when the air has a whiff of autumn and you hanker for meals a little more earthy in flavour, this tart of soft roasted pumpkin nestled on creamy goats’ cheese filling makes a sensational lunch or light supper when accompanied by a leafy salad & crisp Pinot Gris.

It’s not too difficult to conjure. You can see from this tart I made in haste, even rough pumpkin roll ups look like blooms when grouped together and garnished with a few sage leaves. Don’t stop at pumpkin. Have a crack at other veg too—this tart is also a good time when made with orange kumara, beetroot or courgettes.

1 large butternut squash
sheet of flaky pastry
1 x free range egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, crushed
180g crème fraiche (or thickened cream)
180g chèvre or feta cheese
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard (I like Masterfoods Honey Wholegrain as the mustard seeds are whole)
salt & pepper
fresh sage leaves
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan forced.

Peel your pumpkin using a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Cut into quarters lengthwise and carefully use a mandolin slicer to cut long thin slices. Place the slices on a lined baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake to just soften (around 10–15 minutes). Let cool to the touch.

While the pumpkin is cooking, grease and line a small 22cm low sided tart or quiche tin with a sheet of flaky pastry.

Trim pastry edge and prick base with a fork. Brush the edges with the beaten egg.  Refrigerate while you prepare the goats’ cheese mixture. In a small bowl mix together the crème fraiche, garlic, chevre and mustard with a good grind of pepper. When the pumpkin is cooked, spread the cream mixture thickly onto your prepared pastry. Using your hands, roll bundles of the pumpkin slices into rose shapes and tuck onto the prepared tart base. Don’t worry if some don’t look perfect; the sage leaves we tuck in later hide a multitude of edible floristry sins. Continue to tuck in scrolls of pumpkin until the base is filled. Mist lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake for 30–40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the pumpkin is just beginning to darken and caramelise on the top.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a shallow pan and over medium heat lightly fry your sage leaves for a few seconds until just crispy and drain on paper towels. Arrange these on top of your tart. Use them to conceal the odd wonky bit.

Take this tart to a friend and help them devour it with a glass of chilled white wine, good conversation and some leafy greens on the side.

 

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