Today is shaping up to be a beautiful Autumn day, cool but with just enough sun to keep your back warm. The change of seasons has brought an exciting new posse of foods to enjoy at their peak. In Australia these foods include pumpkin, pomegranates, apples, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, sage, thyme, figs and nuts. Yummo!! And because they are in season, they will be at their peak in terms of flavour and nutritional content. Awesome.
To celebrate, why not make this wonderful Autumn Tart, bursting with the goodness of these seasonal beauties!
I’ll deal with just a few here. Firstly pumpkin. Jam packed with beta-carotene, (a pre-cursor to vitamin A) it helps to nourish and protect your skin, prevent oxidation, assist immune function, and also has some groovy anti-carcinogenic activity. Pumpkin is also generously endowed with Vitamin C, E, folate, calcium and magnesium.
Broccoli has a nutrient profile very similar to pumpkin, containing an even higher amount of beta-carotene. Along with the Vitamin C, E, folate, calcium and magnesium, it is also naturally high in sulphur, iron, B-vitamins and chlorophyll – try to keep the cooking to a minimum to retain as much of these qualities as you can.
And finally, walnuts! Loaded with omega-3s these little brain-shaped beauties are just fabulous. Hosting a plethora of goodies including protein, manganese, selenium, zinc, magnesium and iron, walnuts nourish the adrenal glands, kidneys and brain, and enrich sperm – fab!
So onto some cooking. Pastry is something that is often thrown straight into the too hard basket – but it is actually super easy to make, and SO worth it!
I have used spelt flour here for added nutrients and ease of digestion, but feel free to use whole wheat if you prefer. This amount makes about 12 little tarts.
You will need:
3/4 cup plain wholemeal spelt flour
3/4 cup plain white spelt flour
100g chilled, chopped butter
Ice cold water
Suggested filling ingredients:
Broccoli or kale or silverbeet
Combine the flours and then rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (or pulse in a food processor). Gradually fold a little (20-30ml) cold water into the mix and keep adding a little more until the mix comes together into a ball and looks evenly moist. Wrap up in a bag/plastic wrap and chill for 20 mins in the fridge.
Roll out your pastry, cut and place into greased or lined individual tins (or you could make one large tart if you prefer). Chill for another 10 minutes in the freezer.
Now add your filling! Saute off some onions in a little oil with chopped garlic and mushrooms over medium heat until nicely caramelised. Pop this into the tarts as the base, and then build your creation from there. I roasted some pumpkin tossed in minced garlic, coconut oil and poppy seeds (a technique I picked up from Sarah and My New Roots!) and added this along with some broccoli, chopped walnuts, fresh sage and goat’s cheese chunks. Whisk your eggs with a pinch of sea salt (about one egg for every two tarts – just enough to hold everything together) and gently spoon into the crevices of your tarts. Pop into a moderate oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes, or until the egg is set.
I couldn’t help myself so I sprinkled on some pomegranate seeds for colour and a little tarty flavour surprise, and threw a few chives around.
If you prefer a gluten-free option, you could make little frittatas by forgetting the pastry and adding extra egg.
Now I’m off to eat an apple and a fig. x