I love baking – when I open the door of the oven and take out the finished result, it feels like I’ve created something wonderful. This tart is taken from my new book Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free which is going to be published on 1 April. This might look hard – but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. You just make the pastry case, then fill it with a mixture of baked aubergine and sun-dried tomato paste, and cover it with chopped tomatoes and basil. You can even make this ahead of time – the pastry dough can be made up to a couple of days before and stored in the fridge, or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. And you can make the aubergine filling and store this in the fridge for a couple of days, too. Simple and utterly stunning!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling the pastry Cooking time 1 hour 5 minutes
- dairy-free margarine, for greasing
- 2 aubergines
- 100g/3½oz sun-dried tomato paste
- 6–7 tomatoes, sliced and end pieces discarded
- 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
- 1 small handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour, plus extra for dusting
- 40g/1½oz/heaped ¹⁄₃ cup gram flour
- 40g/1½oz/scant ¹⁄₃ cup maize flour
- ½ tsp sea salt, crushed, plus extra to season
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 125g/4½oz chilled dairy-free margarine, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 1 large egg, beaten
- To make the pastry, put the potato in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, then mash until smooth.
- Sift the flours, salt and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor. Add the dairy-free margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the mashed potato and blend for a few seconds until mixed in. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a sticky dough. There should be a little extra moisture at the base of the bowl. If it is too dry, gradually blend in 1–2 tablespoons chilled water. If it is too sticky, add a little rice flour.
- Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and grease a loose-based, 20 x 30cm/8 x 12in tart tin with dairy-free margarine. Prick the aubergines all over with a fork, put them in a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes until very soft.
- Meanwhile, liberally dust a large chopping board with rice flour and gently roll out the pastry to about 5mm/¼in thick. Put the loose base of the tart tin on top of the pastry and, using a sharp knife, cut around it. Shape the pastry trimmings into a ball and set aside. Lift the chopping board and turn it over to drop the pastry and base into the tin.
- Dust the chopping board again with rice flour and gently roll the remaining pastry out again. Cut it into strips wide enough to line the sides of the tin. To secure the sides of the tart, lightly brush some water along the bottom edges of the pastry strips that will overlap with the base. Gently press the pastry into the sides of the tin and along the bottom edge where it overlaps with the pastry on the base, taking care to remove any air pockets. Neaten the edges, using a sharp knife, then prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry case with a piece of baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake alongside the aubergines for 12–15 minutes until lightly golden. Take the pastry case out of the oven and remove the parchment and beans, then bake for another 2–3 minutes.
- Remove the aubergines from the oven and turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Cut the aubergines in half and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash well with a fork, then mix in the sun-dried tomato paste.
- Spread the aubergine and tomato mixture over the bottom of the pastry case and cover with the sliced tomatoes, followed by the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with the basil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Serve either hot or cold.