Spiral vegetable tart with a labneh pesto filling


 

This tart falls in the realm of "Things that are actually way easier to make than they look". I came across the recipe online a couple of months ago when looking for quiche inspiration, and decided I wanted to have a try. It is a little fiddly, but totally worth it! The labneh pesto base compliments the vegetables, and the flaky crust rounds it all off nicely. Feel free to use a store bought crust. Puff pastry also works really well as a base - simply omit the freezing step, and blind bake it as per the recipe. 

Your life will be made significantly easier if you have a mandolin slicer. You want to slice the vegetables thin enough that they roll, but not so thin that it is going to take you forever to roll up. Zucchini and eggplant are best done with the mandolin, whereas with carrot you will want to get up close and personal with a vegetable peeler and peel thin strips off. (It makes it easier if you cut both sides off the carrot before you start so it is relatively straight) I find it easiest to make three piles of the vegetables, and make the majority of the roll on the bench until it gets too tricky. Then I place it into the filled crust, and continue arranging from there. The filling helps a lot to hold everything in place. 

You can use whatever vegetables you would like! I have substituted the carrot with yellow squash before which works quite well. Choose vegetables which are quite uniform in thickness. It definitely helps to trim them down so that they are all the same height before you start rolling. This will allow you to get a nice tight even roll, that sits nicely in the tart pan. 

 

 

Spiral vegetable tart with a labneh pesto filling

- Makes one ten inch tart. -

Inspired by "bake to the roots"

Pastry crust:
8 Tablespoons (100g) cold unsalted butter, cut into one inch cubes
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
Ice water

Filling:
1 Cup soft labneh, homemade or store bought
⅓ cup pesto
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Juice of half a lemon
½ tsp red chilli flakes
3-4 large zucchinis
3-4 large carrots
2-3 large eggplants

Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil (approx one large bunch), washed and drained
1 clove of garlic
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
⅓ cup pine nuts or walnuts
½ to 3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

 

- PROCESS -

To make the crust, sift flour into a large bowl and add the salt.  Add butter, and with your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in butter until pea-sized chunks remain. Add ice water a teaspoon at a time until a cohesive dough is formed. Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour, or overnight. Alternatively, use a store bought crust, or puff pastry.

Roll out pastry on a floured surface and place into a 10 inch greased removable bottom quiche tin (ideally one that is quite deep to accommodate the vegetables). Prick base with a fork, and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 f/220c. Cover pastry tightly with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Ensure that you curl the foil over the edges of the tin. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights, and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

Add basil, garlic, parmesan and nuts to the work bowl of a food processor or blender. (Grate the cheese if you would like, I normally just throw in the whole chunk).  Add the oil and pulse until smooth. Salt well.

Place labneh into a medium bowl. Add pesto, lemon juice, grated parmesan and chilli flakes and mix well. Spread into the bottom of the cooled crust with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.

Slice the zucchini, carrot and eggplant into thin slices lengthwise using a mandolin or vegetable peeler.  (Using a peeler is significantly easier for the carrot, as it tends to break on the mandolin). When cutting the eggplant, cut it into quarters before slicing.  If necessary, briefly blanch the carrots in salted water to make them more pliable. 

Roll a strip of zucchini into a tight spiral, followed by a strip of carrot and then eggplant. Continue alternating, forming a tight spiral. As the roll gets larger, you may find you need to use two strips of vegetable to complete the circle. Once the roll gets too large to handle easily on the bench, place in the centre of the filled crust. Continue arranging alternating layers of vegetables around the spiral until you reach the outer edge of the crust.

Drizzle tart with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 f/180c or until vegetables are slightly tender.

Serve warm with remaining pesto on the side.