My big fussy eater (aka my husband!) is a bit of a a meatatarian. He views most vegetables with as much suspicion as the little fussy eater and I find myself using the same tricks on them both to get them to eat their greens! Given the chance he would choose to eat meat everyday but I do believe it’s good for our bodies, and the planet, to have a couple of meat-free days a week.
With this in mind I made a Halloumi & Courgette Tart for dinner last week. I love halloumi. It has a fantastic meaty texture that holds well when cooked so it’s the perfect substitute for those days when you are trying to go veggie. The little fussy eater has always refused to even taste it up until now so I thought putting it in a tart might encourage her to try a bit.
Courgettes have been another “no go” food with her too but I took my chances and included them in the tart in the hope that the pretty stripes would distract her from the fact that she was eating a vegetable.
Luckily the tart went down a storm all round. The little fussy eater ate most of her portion without too much fuss and the big fussy eater went back for seconds. Result!
If you’re now thinking ” Yeah that all looks great but I don’t have time to be faffing around at home making pastry” then here’s a newsflash – Life is too short to make your own pastry! There, I said it! I am all for home cooking and cooking from scratch as much as you can, but somethings are just best left to the experts. Heck, even Jamie Oliver has admitted to using frozen pastry sheets so if they’re good enough for the Olivers they’re good enough for my fussy eaters!
Another quick point about this pastry – it does require cooling in the fridge and then blind-baking but this can be done in advance and the filling added later. I made the pastry in the morning and left it loosely covered with a tea towel until later that evening.
All in all I am chuffed how this tart turned out, considering it was the first time I made it. I usually need to tinker with new recipes a few times to get them right. It’s also wonderfully versatile. The creme fraiche filling can be used as a base for a whole range of different tart flavours – maybe asparagus and Gruyere cheese? Or mozarella, tomato and basil?
- 375g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
- 300ml creme fraiche
- 3 eggs
- 25g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ tsp fresh thyme
- 250g halloumi, cut into approx 10 slices
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 3 courgettes
- 250g halloumi
- Unroll the pastry from the packet and place it into a tart or flan dish. You may have to roll the pastry width-ways with a rolling pin in order to get it to fit just right. Trim the pastry from the sides of the dish and prick the bottom with a fork in several times.
- Chill the pastry for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 170c.
- Once chilled, removed the pastry from the fridge, line with baking parchment and cover with baking beans (or rice will do the job just fine if you don't have baking beans).
- Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove the pastry from the oven and reduce the temperature to 140c.
- Whisk the creme fraiche and eggs together in a bowl. Add the parmesan, shallot, garlic and thyme and season with a little pepper. Do not add the salt as the halloumi is quite salty itself and adding any more will make it overpowering.
- Place 8 slices of halloumi onto the pastry and pour the creme fraiche mixture on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling has set.
- Meanwhile slice the courgette into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Toss the ribbons in olive oil and fry on a griddle pan for 2-3 minutes. You will need to do this in batches, frying 4-5 ribbons at a time. You won't need to turn the ribbons as the chargrilled marks should come through on both sides.
- Fry the remaining slices of halloumi on the griddle pan.
- Once the tart has set, remove from the oven and top with the courgette ribbons and halloumi. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Allow the tart to cool for approximately 10 minutes before cutting and serving.