Savour a deliciously creamy Bircher Muesli.
The sweetness of the roasted vegetables in here makes these utterly delicious – and the colours make them a show-stopper. Feast on them for dinner but they work equally well cold in a picnic, with a salad for lunch, or made into tiny, bite-sized nibbles. (They were one of the nibbles I served at my launch party and they went down extremely well!) It is worth making the effort to get xanthum gum as this does make a difference, but the pastry will still work if you can't get hold of any.
preparation time 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time cooking 65–75 minutes makes 4 or 6
3 peppers (a mixture of red, orange and yellow or all one colour), deseeded and cut into quarters
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
1 onion, cut into 16 pieces
dairy-free margarine, for greasing
rice flour, for dusting
2 large eggs plus 6 large egg yolks, beaten
4 tbsp sugar-free soya milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
85g rice flour
85g gram flour
30g buckwheat flour
½ tsp sea salt
1tsp xanthum gum
125g chilled dairy-free margarine
1 large egg, beaten
1 To make the pastry, sift the flours, salt and xanthum gum into a large mixing bowl. Cut the margarine into small cubes and, using cold fingertips, rub it into the flours until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2 Make a well in the centre and add the egg, mixing lightly with a round-bladed knife so that the mixture begins to hold together. It needs to form a dough with a little extra moisture at the base of the bowl. If it is too dry, gradually add 1–2 tbsp chilled water to make it quite sticky. If too sticky, add some rice flour.
3 Shape the pastry into a ball. Wrap in greaseproof paper and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. This amount will line a 25cm tart tin, 3cm deep, or 5 x 12cm, 2cm deep.
4 The pastry can also be made in a food processor. Simply tip the sifted flours and salt into the bowl, add the margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough, adding more water if needed.
5 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Arrange the peppers, cut-side down, and the tomatoes and onions on two baking trays and drizzle over the oil. Place both trays of vegetables in the hot oven and roast for about 20–25 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and onions, but leave the peppers to roast for a further 10 minutes until the skins are black.
6 Put the peppers in a plastic food bag and leave for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the bag and peel off the skins. Turn the oven up to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease 11/2 x four-hole Yorkshire pudding tins or 6 x 12cm tartlet tins, 2cm deep, with dairy-free margarine.
7 Gently roll out the pastry on a surface liberally dusted with rice flour until about 2mm thick. Using a pastry cutter that is slightly larger in diameter than the Yorkshire pudding tin holes or the tartlet tins, to allow enough pastry for the sides, cut out six or four pastry circles, discarding any extra pastry. Be very gentle, as the dough will still be slightly sticky.
8 Lift the pastry circles into each hole (you may need to use a metal spatula) and press down lightly to remove any pockets of air. Line each pastry case with a piece of non-stick baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Place the tartlet tins, if using, on a baking tray. Bake in the hot oven for 8–10 minutes until firm and lightly golden. Take the pastry cases out of the oven and remove the parchment and beans.Turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
9 Divide the roasted onion between the pastry cases, then top each with four tomato pieces and two pepper quarters. Mix the eggs, egg yolks and soya milk together in a bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the vegetables.
10 Bake the filled pastry cases in the hot oven for 25–30 minutes until the filling is cooked through. Take them out of the oven, leave to cool in the tins until the filling has set, then carefully ease out onto a plate and serve with vegetables or mixed salad leaves.
related ingredients: gram/chickpea flour, rice flour, xanthum gum