JULIE LE CLERC – former café owner, caterer and chef – is well-known for creating nourishing, innovative recipes that keen home-cooks can put together from scratch. Her stunning new book “is all about flavour, not sacrifice. Just because the food I am suggesting is natural, wholesome or light does not mean it’s boring or tasteless. This is about having your cake and eating it too …”
UPSIDE-DOWN TOMATO TART WITH OLIVE OIL PASTRY
A simple tart filling like this relies on beautifully flavoured tomatoes, so choose deep red, vine-ripened fruit. Olive oil replaces butter in this pastry and while it looks more rustic than standard pastry, it has a good texture that complements the bold, juicy, sweet tomato flavour of this upside-down tart.
- 12 small vine-ripened tomatoes
- ¾ cup plain flour
- ½ cup wholemeal flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup boiling hot filtered water
- extra flour, for dusting
- ½ cup quality black olives, cut in half and pitted
- olive oil, to grease pan
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut tomatoes in half and place, cut-side down, on several layers of paper towels. Leave to drain for 10 minutes.
- To make the pastry, place the flours and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the garlic to the well. Pour the oil and hot water into the well. Mix together with a wooden spoon just until the mixture forms a ball of dough.
- Turn dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour and knead briefly just until smooth. As this is a hot-water pastry it does not need to rest. Roll out pastry to a 3-mm thick, 26-cm round. Prick the base all over with a fork.
- Lightly oil the base of a 24cm frying-pan with an ovenproof handle and scatter with olives. Arrange tomatoes on top, cut-side down, packing them in firmly to fill the pan. Place pastry on top of tomatoes, tucking in the edges to fit neatly. The slight excess of pastry allows for shrinkage during cooking.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven and stand for 5 minutes, then invert the tart onto a serving board or plate. Season with salt and pepper and scatter with fresh oregano.
FINE APPLE TART
This classic French tart, with its neat rows of thinly sliced apples cooked until golden brown, is a great favourite of mine. For that professional finishing touch and for added flavour, I like to glaze the apples with hot apricot jam.
- 1 pre-rolled puff pastry sheet, thawed from frozen
- 4 Royal Gala apples, peeled and cored
- 20 g butter, melted
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- juice of 1 lemon
- Heat oven to 200˚C. Place puff pastry sheet on a baking tray. Using a large plate as a guide, cut pastry into a large round. Discard the trimmings. Prick the pastry circle all over with a fork to stop it puffing up when cooked.
- Thinly slice apples. Arrange slices in circles on top of the pastry, overlapping slightly, until pastry is covered. Brush surface of apple with melted butter and evenly sprinkle with a light dusting of sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry and apples are cooked and golden brown. Remove tart from oven. Glaze and serve hot or warm.
- To make apricot glaze, place apricot jam and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir over heat until jam melts. Sieve mixture to produce a smooth glaze. Brush glaze evenly over apples while glaze is still hot.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM ‘MADE BY HAND’ PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN GROUP (NZ). RRP $52. COPYRIGHT © JULIE LE CLERC, 2010.