Halloween Pumpkin & Goats Cheese Tartlets Recipe

There is absolutely no reason at all why vegetarian food should be dull, as demonstrated by my very special Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Tart recipe, the first of many delicious vegetarian dishes I will be sharing with you.

Having spent the majority of my life as a vegetarian, I have always made it my mission to invent beautiful and delicious vegetarian food after years of being presented with a stuffed mushroom or aubergine, every time you leave the house for dinner! Particularly as I find both vegetables abhorrent. My dislike of Mushrooms stems back to childhood when I was force-fed watery, grey, mushroom soup by a nun at convent school! Aubergines, well it’s just a texture thing in the main.

My very special Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Tart recipe is so simple to make and works very well as a starter, main course or canape for almost any occasion. I chose to publish this special Rachel Bates recipe now as it makes a perfect addition to the menu for my sophisticated Halloween theme this year. To make these delicious tartlets at home you will need:

Equipment

Dependant on the size of Tartlets you wish to produce you will require:

6-12  x    11cm/12cm loose bottom tart tins (main course tart)

8-16  x     9cm/10cm loose bottom tart tins (starter tart)

2-4 x         12 cup Tart Pan (I like to use 12 cup - Chicago metallic single squares tart pans)

NB – For the main course tarts you will need double the portions of the recipe.

Kitchen Aid/electric mixer with dough hook attachment

Food Processor

Rubber Spatula

Large Glass

Tablespoon

Ceramic Baking Beans

Non-stick baking parchment circles - 15cm diameter (6”)

8cm-9cm pastry cutter

Rolling pin

Cooling wires

For freezer storage - Greaseproof baking paper, tin foil, cling film and labels. Foil storage tray.

Ingredients

Parmesan & Cumin Shortcrust Pastry

  • 230g plain flour (plus extra flour for dusting)
  • 115g chilled, diced butter
  • 80g grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 tbsp iced water

NB – For party and large dinner party entertaining I make double the above recipe (two portions) of the above.

Pumpkin Filling

  • 800g pumpkin chopped into cubes (you can also use a mix of half pumpkin and half sweet potato, I sometimes do)
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions finely chopped
  • 15g fresh thyme
  • 2 level tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3 level tsp of crushed chilli flakes (this can be reduced or removed to your taste)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to coat all the vegetables for roasting
  • A sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes

NB – For party and large dinner party entertaining I make double the above recipe (two portions) of the above.

For adding to the Pumpkin Puree

  • 20g-40g to your taste, of grated parmesan cheese
  • Heaped tablespoon of crème Fraiche

For the topping

  • Soft goats cheese – 75g or as desired per 11-12cm tart / 50g or as desired per 9-10cm tart / 100g or as desired to top a 12 cup tart pan (canape size).
  • 100g parmesan cheese
  • 100g pine nuts

Pastry Method

  1. Pre-heat your fan oven to 180°C
  2. Place the plain flour and the chilled butter in your kitchen aid or electric mixer
  3. Add the grated parmesan cheese, the cumin seeds, ground cumin and a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Then add 8 tbsp of iced water

NB – It’s important that the butter is cold, and the water chilled with ice. My great Aunt Kathleen, or Cotty as we knew her, was a wonderful cook and she taught me as a child the importance of chilled butter and iced water, for making the perfect shortcrust pastry.

  1. On a low to medium speed setting, using your dough hook mix all the ingredients until your pastry is formed.
  2. Remove from the mixer and place on a bed of dusted flour and divide your pastry into quarters. I find this the best way to get the most out of your pastry in terms of less waste when rolling out.
  3. Roll the first quarter of pastry out with your dusted rolling pin.

NB – Rolling Pin Tip - I use a non-stick coated, stainless steel Eddington’s rolling pin which is just fantastic. Much easier to use than its wooden counterpart. Even though it is non-stick I still always dust with flour before each use and in-between rolling where necessary.

  1. Once the pastry is rolled out evenly all over (I like the pastry thin and crisp for a tartlet but if you prefer a thicker crust, by all means, roll your finished pastry as desired) you can then begin to divide your rolled pastry for your starter, main course or canape size tart tins.
  2. Based on the 11/12cm size tins -divide your pastry into 3 equal pieces of pastry.
  3. Based on the 9/10cm size tins – divide your pastry into 4 equal pieces of pastry.
  4. Based on the 12-cup tart tin – you should be able to fill the full tin using your 8-9cm round pastry cutter.
  5. Now it’s time to blind bake your pastry.
  6. If you are making the starter or main course size individual tarts, line the tart cases filled with pastry with non-stick baking parchment circles and ceramic baking beans. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, then remove baking beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further 5 mins.
  7. The canape size in the 12 cup tart tins does not require blind baking.
  8. Once pastry cases are removed from the oven cover with kitchen roll and set to one side until ready to fill.

NB – I do not fill my tart cases until I am ready to return to the oven for the final stage of cooking to avoid the pastry bases becoming soggy.

Pumpkin Filling Method

  1. Set fan oven to pre-heat to 140℃
  2. First line a large baking tray with tin foil and then greaseproof paper. This ensures that the food will not stick to the tray and makes cleaning up afterwards very easy.
  3. Add the pumpkin filling ingredients to the tray:
  4. Chopped cubed pumpkin, finely chopped red onion, fresh thyme, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, Maldon sea salt flakes and olive oil.
  5. A note on the fresh thyme – I tend to remove approximately half the thyme leaves from the stalks and then the remaining half I leave whole and dot on top of the vegetables.
  6. Place your baking tray on the centre shelf of your pre-heated fan oven and slowly roast for at least 90minutes until gently caramelised and soft.
  7. Once removed from the oven leave to cool on cooling wires.
  8. Once cool remove all whole thyme stalks and any little bits of stalk that may have fallen on the roasted vegetables when you were removing the leaves before cooking.
  9. Next place at least a quarter of the tray of roasted vegetables into the food processor, then add the parmesan cheese and crème Fraiche and blend all ingredients together until quite smooth. If the puree is still quite thick, use some milk or water to thin into a loose puree and set aside until required.

Tart Assembly & Final Topping Method

  1. Preheat your fan oven to 160°C
  2. Leave your pastry cases in the tart tins for the final cooking stage.
  3. Smooth a layer of the pumpkin puree across the base of all the tartlets until you have used all of the mixture.
  4. Next add a good layer of the slow roasted pumpkin and red onion mixture to the tart cases, reserving a little for decoration.
  5. Following this, cover the top of each tart with chunks of soft creamy goats’ cheese and sprinkle with a covering of pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
  6. Finally, pop a few of the reserved cubes of pumpkin on the top of each tart.
  7. Place in your pre-heated fan oven (160°C) and cook for around 20-30mins or until the goats’ cheese is starting to brown at the edges nicely.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve immediately on warm plates with a rocket and basil side salad.

NB - for the main course it’s also delicious served with a portion of homemade oven roasted fries too! Special recipes coming soon.

 

Extra storage and serving tips

You can make these tarts right up to the topping with goats’ cheese and pine nut stage and then leaving them inside the tart tins cover securely and place on a tray in the freezer for serving another time.
When you remove from the freezer add straight from frozen to your preheated oven and cook as normal.

 

Happy Halloween!

Enjoy!

Love RB xx

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