People think gluten-free pastry is going to be hard work but Kathy Tsaples' recipe is ready in a flash and requires just a handful of ingredients to be mixed together in a bowl.
Tart base (double if making both)
- Butter, for greasing
- 200 g coarse polenta
- ½ tsp salt
- 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
- 100 g gluten-free self-raising flour
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 small beetroot
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 200 g marinated goat’s cheese
- Baby beetroot leaves or sorrel, to garnish
Mushroom and spinach filling
- 50 g butter
- 3 sprigs lemon thyme, plus extra to garnish
- 60 g whole button mushrooms, sliced
- 60 g small Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
- 3 pine mushrooms, sliced (or any other mushrooms)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 100 g baby spinach leaves
- 100 g kasseri cheese
Egg mix for filling
- 3 eggs
- 200 ml milk
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180°C. Generously grease two 13 cm x 35 cm rectangular tart tins with removeable bases.
1. For the bases, place the polenta and salt in a large bowl. Stirring vigorously to prevent lumps forming, add the boiling water and stir until smooth. Add the flour, oil and baking powder and mix to combine, ensuring there are no lumps- you may need to use your hands to ensure the ingredients are incorporated.
2. Using wet hands, spread the dough over the base and sides of a tin. This is a wet dough, so take your time. Have a bowl of water ready to regularly wet your hands and ensure the dough is evenly spread over the base and sides of the tin. It should be about 5 mm thick. Neaten the edges with a knife or your fingers. Repeat with the remaining pastry in the second tin if making both tarts. Set aside while you prepare your filling.
For the beetroot filling
3. Place the beetroot on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the foil around the beetroot, then roast for 30 minutes or until tender when tested with a skewer. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, peel the beetroot and cut each into about 6 wedges. While still hot, drizzle with the vinegar and a little olive oil. Toss and set aside to allow the beetroot to absorb the flavours.
For the mushroom and spinach filling
4. Heat the butter and thyme in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add all the mushrooms and cook quickly to sear them. Season to taste, then remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
5. Return the pan to medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes or until soft and translucent. Place the baby spinach in a bowl and put the hot onion mixture over it. Season with salt and pepper and toss well until the leaves start to wilt.
6. In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper until combined.
7. Divide the spinach and onion mixture between the bases. Spread the mushrooms evenly over the spinach in one tin and arrange the beetroot over the spinach in the other. Carefully pour the custard into the tins and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the custard has just set. Note that the beetroot will bleed into the custard, creating a beautiful pinkish colour in the tart.
8. As soon as the tarts come out of the oven, immediately shave the kasseri cheese over the top of the spinach and mushroom tart and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.
Allow the beetroot tart to cool a little before crumbling the goat’s cheese over it and topping with the baby beetroot or sorrel leaves. You don’t want the tart to be so hot that it melts the cheese.
Catch Helen Tzouganatos whipping up lush gluten-free meals alongside guests in the brand new series of Loving Gluten Free on SBS and SBS On Demand.