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Courgette, Ricotta and Dill Tart with Spelt-rye Pastry

by Alice Hart from The New Vegetarian

This tart is an excellent way to use up a glut of summer courgettes. The creamy courgette and ricotta filling is especially good with the sweet, nutty spelt-rye pastry, though standard shortcrust would also work well.

From the book


A deep tart, packed with a light, summery mix of vegetables and a touch of buttermilk. Do squeeze as much moisture as possible from the courgettes or the filling will be watery. The pastry is a cinch, nutty and sweet from rye, but use any shortcrust pastry, bought or not. If you don’t have a deep enough tin (5–6cm is ideal), use a 25cm tart tin. A shallower tart will cook in 20–25 minutes.

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For the pastry:
325g wholemeal spelt flour
100g wholemeal rye flour
200g salted butter, chopped
For the filling:
3 courgettes, shredded or coarsely grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
150g peas, defrosted if frozen
small bunch of dill, finely chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
200ml buttermilk
250g ricotta cheese, drained
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
500g tomatoes, sliced or halved
small handful of oregano leaves
extra virgin olive oil

Essential kit

You will need a 5–6cm-deep, 23cm-diameter pie dish or tart tin.

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Start with the pastry (at least an hour ahead). Put both flours in a food processor, or, if making this by hand, a large bowl. Add the butter and pulse in the food processor, or rub in by hand, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough iced water to bring the mixture together in a ball, starting with 1½ tbsp and working up to no more than 3 tbsp, as needed. Again, either use a food processor here, being careful not to overwork the dough, or ‘cut’ the water in with a table knife. Form the pastry into a flattened disc and roll out between sheets of greaseproof paper until it is about the thickness of a pound coin. Unpeel the top sheet of paper and flip the pastry on to a 5–6cm-deep, 23cm-diameter pie dish or tart tin. Unpeel the second sheet of paper (now on top) and press the pastry into the tin, trimming the edges flush with the dish. Keep the paper. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Line the pastry case with a saved paper sheet and fill with baking beans or raw rice. Bake for 15 minutes until the pastry is set and no longer looks ‘wet’. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5–6 minutes, until colouring lightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4. Put the courgettes in a sieve and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, tossing to distribute evenly. Set aside for 10 minutes, then press down on them to drain. Put into a clean tea towel and wring out any remaining liquid very forcefully.

Combine the courgettes, capers, peas, dill and lemon zest in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, half the ricotta and the eggs with a little salt and a lot of pepper. Fold the 2 mixtures together. Pour into the tart case and dot with the remaining ricotta. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until just set. Set aside for 15 minutes so the filling can settle. Toss the tomatoes with the oregano, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to taste. Season and serve as a salad with slices of the warm or cold tart.

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From the book: The New Vegetarian

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