There are definite fringe benefits to working at Shipton Mill. This week we’ve been making the most of the fabulous produce from the Mill’s biodynamic garden to do some baking. Swiss chard and summer squashes are right in season at the moment. We used a Peter Pan squash (the pale green one shaped like a UFO) and Shipton Mill No.117 Cake & Pastry Flour in this recipe by Jane Baxter from Riverford Organics to make a simply sensational summer tart.
A delicious summer main course that needs no adornment other than a crisp green salad. Serves four to six.
175g plain flour (We used Shipton Mill No.117 Cake & Pastry Flour)
1 tsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
125g cold unsalted butter, diced
3 tbsp very cold water
75g pecan nuts
1 pinch cayenne
A dash of Tabasco
½ tsp salt
1 butternut squash
(Or substitute any kind of summer squash for a seasonal twist, we used a Peter Pan squash)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small onions, sliced
300g Swiss chard (use spinach if you can’t find chard)
200g blue cheese, chopped
(We used a mix of cambazola and gorgonzola because that’s what was in the fridge)
50g grated parmesan
20 sage leaves
1 tbsp butter
Briefly process the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, add the butter, pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, tip into a bowl and stir in enough water to make a dough. Wrap in greaseproof paper* and chill for half an hour. On a floured surface, roll into a rough circle, lay on a greased baking sheet, prick with a fork and chill for 15 minutes. In a 200C/400F/gas mark 6 oven, bake the pastry for 10–15 minutes, until golden brown.
Mix the pecans, cayenne, Tabasco and salt on an oven tray and bake for five minutes, until lightly toasted.
Halve, deseed and peel the squash, and chop into 2cm cubes. Place on an oven tray, toss in oil, season and bake for 30 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle over the garlic, bake for five minutes, then set aside to cool.
Gently sweat the onions in oil for 20 minutes until soft but not brown, and set aside. Separate the chard stalks and leaves. Chop the stalks into 1cm pieces, blanch in boiling, salted water for four minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same water, cook the leaves for a minute, remove, refresh under cold water and squeeze out any excess. Add the stalks and leaves to the onions, mix well and season.
In a bowl, combine the pecans, squash, chard and cheese. Use this to cover the pastry base, sprinkle parmesan on top and bake for 10 minutes. Fry the sage in butter until crisp and use to garnish the tart.
* Shipton Mill Tip - Contrary to the advice in many recipes, always wrap your pastry in greaseproof paper rather than cling film before resting it in the fridge. This will stop the pastry from sweating as it cools and prevent the formation of condensation which will make your pastry wet and difficult to work with. If you are planning to keep the pastry in the fridge for a few days before using it, allow it to cool right down to fridge temperature before you then wrap cling film around the whole pack (leaving the greaseproof paper inside) to keep it fresh.