Living in France I bore on more than one occasion witness to the heated discussion over what constitutes the difference between “une quiche et une tarte”. Luckily for me, this was because we were in the process of eating one, (or the other) over work lunches, picnics or laid-back evening get-togethers. Whilst it was never managed to truly get to the bottom of this conundrum, I basically took the understanding that a quiche is a strictly savoury, deep-filled dish which must contain bacon (chiefly the classic Quiche Lorraine), whereas a tart could be either savoury or sweet, is more shallow, it’s filling vegetable-based, or, indeed, sweet. Whether this conclusion is accurate or not I don’t know, and in any case, sensibly this was a debate which was always quickly brought to an end in favour of shutting up and getting on with enjoying the delicious dish in front of us. A friend made this vegetable tart for me on one of my final nights in France in order that I leave with fond memories of classic French cuisine. She succeeded, and although it was perfectly delicious in all it’s original, all-butter-pastry glory, I have slightly modified the recipe and swapped out the buttery base for this wonderfully light, crisp chickpea-flour alternative. Whilst of course it lacks that classic buttery taste that is so reminiscent of everything French, I find it’s dryness a pleasing change from the greasiness you sometimes get with a butter pastry, and the chickpea adds a delicate twist of flavour which compliments the flavour of the fresh vegetables.
For the pastry:
- 140-150g chickpea flour
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 4-5 tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the tart:
- 1 small-medium courgette
- 2 fresh round tomatoes or 4 cherry tomatoes
- 4 – 5 sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 eggs
- 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons grated emmental cheese
- Dijon mustard
- Basil, dried and fresh
- Dried onion/shallot
- Dried parsley
- Salt and pepper
To make the pastry.
- Sift the chickpea flour into a bowl with the salt.
- Pour in the coconut oil, and gradually add in the cold water, mixing with your hands until a fairly firm dough is formed. You may need to add more flour or water as required. Wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
To make the tart.
Preheat oven to 180ºc.
- Slice the courgette and fresh tomato into rounds of about 2cm thickness.
- Using a piece of kitchen paper, dry the excess oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Roughly chop them.
- In a jug, beat the eggs and add in the milk and crème fraîche. Beat well until just combined (but do not over-beat), and add in all seasonings to taste. (Plenty of dried onion!) Mix in the emmental.
- To assemble the tart; remove the pastry from the fridge and press it into the tart dish. Lightly flour the dish first to ensure a dry base and easy removal once baked.
- Spread a thin layer of mustard over the base.
- Distribute the chopped sun-dried tomatoes over the mustard layer.
- Now arrange the rounds of courgette and fresh tomato over the top of this.
- Pour in the egg mixture, ideally leaving the tops of the courgette and tomato exposed. Top with fresh basil leaves.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until the tart is golden.
Best served lukewarm from the oven with a crisp salad.