Get your creative juice going by making a pattern that appeals to the eye and use a variety of vegetables to get a range of colour (plus kids love joining in)! Adapt this recipe – remove the lamb fora vegetarian centrepiece; char the vegetables for added flavour; or, make the tarts smaller for a delicious starter.
Cheddar Shortcrust Tart Shell
4 cups (1000 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra for rolling
pinch of salt
1¼ cups (300 ml) chilled butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon fresh (or dried) thyme
8-10 teaspoons (120-150 ml) ice water
Combine the flour, and salt. Rub in the butter until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add cheese and thyme.
Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough. Wrap in beeswax paper (or plastic) and allow to rest in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes.
Roll the dough to desired thickness. Drape over the pie tin and cut away excess pastry.
To blind bake, line pastry with wax paper and fill with rice, flour or ceramic baking beans. Bake at 350°F (150 °C) for 10-15 minutes. Remove wax paper and baking beans. Bake again in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
2 cups (500 ml) milk
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) mustard
1½ tablespoon (23 ml) salted butter
⅛ cup (30 ml) all-purpose flour
In a saucepan, bring milk to a simmer with bay leaf. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the roux: in another saucepan melt butter then add flour. Stir continuously until mixture forms a paste. Continue cooking out the flour for 2-3 minutes.
Strain the milk. Slowly add the milk to the roux, stirring continuously after every addition. Continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. Sauce should have the consistency of thick cream and coat the back of a wooden spoon so that a line drawn with finger will remain. Add the mustard and nutmeg.
1 medium sized zucchini
1 medium sized carrot
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
Using a vegetable peeler, make long strips of zucchini and carrot. Softened with a light sprinkling of salt, pepper and paprika to make rolling the strips easier and tastier. Roll each strip lengthwise to form a tight circle. Repeat with all strips. Set aside.
Ground Lamb Filling
1 cup (250 ml) ground lamb
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
1 small onion diced
¼ cup (60 ml) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground fennel
1 teaspoon (5 ml) smoked paprika
1 sprig parsley, finely chopped.
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a skillet over high heat, place onions and sautee until lightly golden. Add lamb and sautee until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, spices and seasonings. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes or until lamb has absorbed liquid. Remove from heat and add parsley. Set aside.
½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil leaves
½ cup (125 ml) pine nuts
2 tablespoon (30 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Place nuts, basil, cheese and garlic in a food processor. Blend to coarse puree. With machine running, add oil in a light stream. Blend until nearly smooth.
1 large round of burrata
Fresh basil leaves
Fill cooked tart bases with basil pesto, then a layer of béchamel sauce followed by a layer of ground lamb. Place multiple rolled vegetable circles snugly on top to form a pattern. Top with pieces of burrata and fresh basil leaves. Serve with oven roasted tomatoes, garlic toast and burrata.
Pair it With Carménère
Why This Pairing Works
Carménère marries well with food, especially these tarts. Charred vegetables (for vegetarians) or ground lamb accentuate the smoky notes and compliments the spices.
A grape originally from Bordeaux, that made its way to South America after the phylloxera epidemic in Europe in the 1800s, it is now predominantly associated with Chile.
While largely known for its Chilean production today, the grape is also grown France, Italy, Argentina, California and Washington.
This intensely dark and rich wine redolent of dark berries, cherry and also spice and peppercorn with a luscious mouth-feel, has soft tannins.
Carménère loves grilled food, so it is perfect for barbecue season. It is also among a handful of red wines that work beautifully with spicy food.
This original recipe article first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.