I am always looking to come up with recipes for lunchtimes, picnics or for buffets. I am a carb lover and love a pastry-based treat occasionally.
The summertime is full of plump, ripe, and juicy tomatoes. This time of the year locally grown tomatoes are at their utmost best.
I spent many happy days of my childhood running around my uncle’s industrial greenhouses on the beautiful island of Guernsey, so the smell of a ripe tomato takes me right back there.
Many of us now, including myself grow our tomatoes and it gives it such pleasure to nurture and pick our first ripe one.
This tart is a multi-layer delight. It starts with a tomato ragu like sauce, next a silky layer of cheesy sauce followed by a sprinkling of cheese, breadcrumbs and finishing with some sliced tomatoes.
They really are
Yes, they are a little bit fiddly to make and time consuming but so well worth it. It is very rare that we can find a delicious savoury tart that is not only vegan but also gluten-free.
Can these be frozen?
Yes these can definitely be frozen without any deterioration. Freeze in an airtight freezer bag and then either warm in a hot oven both defrosted or from frozen.
Cheese and Tomato Tarts
A gorgeous tart made in the summer when tomatoes are at their best along with a silky Bechamel sauce.
For this recipe you will need 6 individual 6 x 10 cm loose-bottomed tart tins or you could use a 22cm large one.
- Firstly make the tomato ragu. Preheat the oven to 190C.
- In a small casserole dish add the tomatoes, garlic bulbs, oregano and seasoning. Add the olive oil and mix through. Place into the oven and cook for around 15 minutes until the tomatoes start to collapse and take on colour.
- Remove from the oven and add the roast pepper slices to the tomatoes. Next, you can either blitz this into a smooth sauce or just mash together and leave it slightly chunky ( my preference). Once done leave to one side.
- Next, make the pastry. Sieve together the plain flour, xanthan gum and salt and then add the cubed butter and shortening. Either using your hands or a pastry cutter work the fats into the flour until it resembles rough breadcrumbs. Add your water or egg replacements (see notes) and using a round-bladed knife bring the dough together until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough and leave to rest for 15 minutes. I do not chill gluten-free pastry as I find it tends to crack more easily.
- While the dough is resting it is time to make the bechamel cheese sauce. In a pan add the butter and place it on a low heat until it has melted. Add the flour and using a whisk combine with the butter until it forms a thick paste, continue to cook this for 2 minutes to make sure the raw flour is cooked out. Slowly add your milk a little at a time, whisking after each addition to remove any lumps and to keep it silky smooth.
- Continue to cook until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the grated nutmeg, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and Dijon mustard and stir vigorously. Taste and see if the seasonings need to be adjusted, if so adjust and re taste.
- Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stirring it through the sauce. Cover with clingfilm resting on the surface to stop a skin forming.
Preheat the oven to 200C
- Spray your tart tins with oil and then roll out your pastry on a piece of baking parchment dusted with gluten-free flour.
- Cut the pastry into 6 pieces and use each piece to line the tart tins. Making sure you push the pastry into the fluted grooves, cutting off the excess pastry but leaving a little over-hang to allow for pastry shrinkage. Line each pastry case with a square of baking parchment and add a few tablespoons of baking beans/ uncooked beans/ dry rice or lentils. Place them on a tray in the oven and blind bake for 10-12 minutes or until very lightly brown. Blind-baking ensures the pastry is fully cooked and does not have a soggy bottom.
- Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes and then carefully remove the baking parchment and beans/rice and brush around the rims with a little milk.
- Add 2 tbsp of your ragu to each of your tarts topping it with 3 tbsp of cheese sauce, spreading it carefully around to cover the ragu. Sprinkle the tops with gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and then the vegan “cheddar”. Then arrange a few slices of tomato on top and sprinkle with some salt and pepper
Place them into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until they are golden brown.
- 1. I do not normally use eggs when making pastry, although when making gluten-free pastry I do find that you do need something apart from water to act as a binder and help with the structure of the final result such as avoiding cracking. For me I prefer to use Crackd egg replacer, Orgran vegan Easy egg or flaxseed eggs. For flaxseeds you would need 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed with 5 tbsp of hot water, mix and leave for 5 minutes before adding to your pastry instead of water. If you are using Orgran or Crackd please follow the instructions and ratios to make 2 replacement eggs.
- If you do not want to make your own tomato sauce, you could use any vegan and gluten-free already made ragu sauce.
- Roasted Fresh Tomato Sauce
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- Vegan (Tofu) Schnitzel
- “Cheese” and Tomato Tartlets
- Coffee & Walnut Cupcakes
If you make this, don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too.