I'm always on the hunt for new recipes and I've found some gems in all sorts of places from magazines, to food packaging and of course online. One of my favourite places to find recipes at the moment though is from supermarkets own free magazines. The majority of stores do them and you can find all sorts of recipes usually using fresh ingredients that are in season.
Just before Christmas I found a recipe in the Tesco magazine that I had try. Eating a predominantly gluten and wheat free diet, I miss a lot of things but probably one of the biggies for me is puff or flaky pastry. vanilla slices, cream horns, savoury tarts and even the much maligned vol au vent, have all been off the menu. Okay I've had the odd little bit of the naughty stuff here and then but up until recently gluten free puff pastry was nigh on impossible to find. I've found the odd recipe on the internet and in recipe books for it but for me they always look so complicated and time consuming that I just couldn't justify the effort.
Salvation came in the form of one the dominant UK gluten free brands, Genius. As well as their popular bread and bakery line recently they've introduced a line of free from frozen foods, including sweet and savoury pies and even pastry. Frustrating as it can be at times, I'm pretty happy with own homemade shortcrust pastry but as soon as I saw it I had to try some of their frozen puff pastry. It isn't quite as puffy or flaky, as wheat pastry but it fulfils that puff pastry need.
First of all I used it to make a batch of yummy cheese straws, but for the second batch I bought I wanted to try something different so I tried a recipe from a Tesco magazine for a Courgette, Basil and Ricotta Tart. It was nice but it was bit bland and lacking in flavour so I decided to pimp it up a bit and enhance those basil flavours with my own version.
Courgette, Basil And Ricotta Tart
1 Block Of Puff Pastry
1 Packet Of Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
1 x 250g Tub Of Ricotta Cheese
75g Grated Cheese
1-2 Tbsp Basil Pesto
1 Beaten Egg
Handful Fresh Basil Leaves - Torn
2 Tbsp Pine Nuts
Egg Or Milk For Glazing
1. If your puff pastry is frozen defrost as per the packet instructions - my Genius pastry needed to be defrosted overnight in the fridge. Lightly grease a large baking tray. Preheat your over to around 200°C
2. Put your ricotta, your egg, and half of your basil leaves into a large mixing bowl. Then add pesto to taste, and half of your grated cheese. The original recipe used Parmesan or Gran Padano but I just used a coloured mature cheddar here. You can use anything that has a bit of flavour.
3. If your using ready rolled pastry lay it straight on to your baking tray, or if like me your using a block of pastry roll it out on a floured board until you get either a large square or a rectangle depending on the size of your packet of pastry. Don't roll it out too thin though.
4. Then you want to score your pastry leaving a 1-2 cm border around the edge. Don't cut through it, you just want to score it so the edge of the tart rises a bit.
5. Spoon your cheese mixture onto your pastry base,
and spread it out, remembering to leave your border free around the edges. How thick you spread it depends on how big a base you have - I only managed a large square with my pastry so mine is spread quite thickly.
6. Then slice your courgettes. The amount of courgettes that you'll need depends on their size and the size of your base - I used two here. Place the courgette slices on top of the cheese mix, you might need to half a few to cover the top completely.
7. Brush the border of your tart with beaten egg or milk and sprinkle your tart with your remaining cheese, and bake for around 20 minutes.
8. After about 20 minutes your tart should be starting to brown, take it out of the oven, scatter over the pine nuts and return to the oven for around 5 minutes until puffed and golden.
9. Take it out of the oven
and sprinkle with the remaining torn basil leaves, cut into wedges, and serve either warm, or cold.
This is a lovely summer lunch or supper recipe, that could be served either on it's own or with salad. You could also make different shaped tarts and smaller ones for parties. This recipe using one pack of Genius Puff Pastry made a big enough tart to serve four people comfortably. I found it easiest to cut with either scissors or a pizza cutter, and the leftovers lasted a good 24 hours in the fridge.
The pesto wasn't included in the original recipe but I think it makes a big difference. Despite the number of steps this is a really easy recipe to make and it's something that I will definitely make again but I might switch the courgettes for something like tomatoes or roasted peppers. What do you think about this recipe? Let me know below x