Zucchini Tarts with Feta
Every now and then I make pastry dough, both sweet (with sugar) and savoury (without sugar) and keep them in the fridge for a few days so when I get in the mood to bake tarts I have the dough all ready to go. I make a full recipe but cut the ball of dough in half and wrap each individually before refrigerating. This way I can make only 4 tarts at a time if that’s all I need without disturbing the rest of the dough. These tarts were made the same way. I had the dough, felt like using some of the lovely zucchini hanging around my kitchen so, I made a few zucchini tarts. They were delicious, I have to say. The pastry is flakey, the filling flavourful. I didn’t hear any complaints. Here is the recipe for 8 individual tarts or one larger one.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, very cold (or use vegetables shortening for a vegan version)
4 tablespoons ice water (about)
Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add cold butter and pulse a few times to break down the butter. Mix until butter is coated with the flour and the mixture is crumbly. Do not over mix.
Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and run the processor until mixture begins to clump together but does not form a ball quite yet (see image below).
Empty the dough onto a board or your clean counter and bring it together with your hands. You can sprinkle the work surface with a light dusting of flour to prevent the buttery dough from sticking. Work fairly quickly because you do not want your warm hands to melt the butter in the pastry. As soon as you have a ball of pastry, smooth it to bring it together and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes or overnight. I make this dough days in advance, then cut it in half, wrap each half with plastic and refrigerate until needed. I cut it in half so I can make a small number of tarts (4 maybe) without rolling out the whole dough.
When ready to proceed remove dough from the fridge and let it warm up on the counter for a while but only until it is pliable enough to roll. You want a cold dough (don’t bring it to room temperature) but the butter has to be pliable enough to roll smoothly. I usually beat the ball of dough a few times (ouch) with the roller to soften the butter and flatten it into a disk, I think it warms up faster that way.
Have individual small tart pans ready for the pastry (use muffin pan if you don’t have tart molds but invest in a few if you can, the ones with the removable bottom).
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter cut the dough into rounds just large enough to fit into the tart molds you are using with enough for the sides. When you finish placing the pastry in the tart molds place them in the fridge to chill again. Let it chill for 30 minutes before baking or you can keep it in the fridge overnight or longer. No need to bring back to room temperature before baking as you want the pastry to remain cold.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 zucchini, unpeeled, diced
Salt and pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat butter and oil in a large pan. Add onion and cook until fragrant and translucent but not coloured.
Add zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is cooked through but not too browned.
When zucchini is done add the cheese and let come to room temperature.
2 cup cream
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Combine the cream with the eggs, salt, pepper and cheese.
Assembling the tarts
Remove the tart shells from the fridge and set on a baking sheet.
Spoon enough of the cooled zucchini-cheese mixture into each tart until it is level with the rim of the pastry.
Gently pour the cream mixture over each tart, just so it reaches the rim but does not spill over.
Crumble a little more cheese on top.
Gently transfer the baking pan to a preheated 400℉ oven and bake about 25 minutes or until nice and golden and puffy. The filling will sink a little as it cools.
Garnish with a couple of sprigs of herbs and serve warm.