Little Butternut Squash Tarts
They are little. They are delicious. One for a child, four for an adult.
Brilliant for dinner parties, as they’re very edible with a glass of wine in your other hand. Nutritious to the max, they also freeze well. Replace the gram flour with any other kind of flour if it’s not to hand. But gram flour gives a lovely flakiness to pastry.
Makes 24 little tarts.
For the filling:
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 small red onions, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 3 medium courgettes, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 red chiles, de-seeded, de-veined and finely chopped the little corns cut off with a sharp knife from 2 ears of sweetcorn
For the pastry:
- 175g margarine, cold and chopped into little bits 200g gram flour, plus 100g more
- a little bit of cold water
- two handfuls of uncooked beans, e.g. haricots, pinto, etc
Prick the squash with a fork, put it in a metal baking tray, and bake at 220 degrees C / 425 degrees F / Gas Mark 7 for about 45 minutes, turning it every quarter of an hour. It will make delicious smells as it gently turns mushy inside and toffee-ish sap oozes out of the tiny holes you have made with the fork.
In a large mixing bowl, rub the margarine into the 200g of flour with your fingers. When it looks like breadcrumbs, add a tablespoon of water. Mix in with your fingers, then keep adding tablespoons full until it combines into a sticky pastry dough. Lightly flour your work surface with some of the extra flour, then flour the top of the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin. When it’s quite thin, cut individual bits off and line each of the dips in two shallow muffin baking trays. Put a few uncooked beans into each pastry case. Set aside.
Next, gently saute the onions in the oil for about four minutes, then add the courgettes, garlic, chiles and corn and keep sauteing for another five minutes or so, until everything looks nicely cooked.
Retrieve the squash, which should be very tender by now. Put in its place in the oven the two pastry-lined muffin trays. Then carefully slice the squash down its length and scrape out the seeds and seed fibres. Peel the skin off with a knife and your fingers, but be careful not to burn yourself. Roughly chop the flesh and put it in a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the veg and mash it together with a fork.
Take the muffin trays out of the oven and take the beans out of each case. Scoop some squash filling into each tart until they’re all full, then whack the lot back in the oven for another twenty minutes or so. Serve hot or cold with some salad.