Our last skiing weekend of the season was an unmitigated success after a slightly shaky start. I tend to be a bit bossy (as I think Hugo has mentioned), meaning that I pay a lot of attention to telling other people what to do, and less attention to what I should be doing. A case in point: on Saturday we took the first chairlift of the day with two other people and my backpack, which could quite legitimately have had a seat of its own, filled as it was with clothes, water, food, camera and video material. One would have been forgiven for assuming we were about to climb Everest, not spend a leisurely day in the Spring snow. In the interests of pedagogy, I explained to Léo on the ride up that, especially when there are four people on the lift, it’s important to go straight forward when you disembark. Five minutes later, I had ended up on my back with my skis in the air like a tortoise on its shell, unable to stand up due to the sheer size and weight of my backpack. The chairlift operator was very kind and stopped the lift (presumably to avoid a tortoise roadkill scenario) and hauled me up with a large smile (or snigger?) and a gracious ’bienvenue Madame!’
These savoury tarts are quick and easy to make (particularly if you’ve made the pastry cases in advance) and will be even more delicious when tomatoes come into season properly.
Ingredients for pastry (makes about six mini tarts):
110g buckwheat flour
20ml olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Roughly 6 tablespoons of cold water
Ingredients for filling:
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, cut into thin slices
6 slices of goats cheese
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, paprika
To make the pastry, begin by cutting the butter into small cubes. Add to the flour and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Blend by hand until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the olive oil, blending well and then the cold water, mixing rapidly with a spoon. Remove the mixture from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until you obtain a ball of pastry (if the mixture isn’t ‘sticky’ enough to form a ball, you may need a drop more water). Wrap in a clean cotton tea towel or some cling film and leave to ‘rest’ in the fridge for about two hours. This relaxes the dough and makes it easier to use.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry on a clean, lightly floured surface and fill the tart tins. Bear in mind that buckwheat pastry is extremely crumbly as it contains no gluten to ‘stick’ it together. You’ll probably need to patch and press the pastry into the tins as opposed to just cutting and placing it in as you would with normal pastry. Precook the pastry for 10 minutes.
Fill the tarts with the shallots, garlic and tomato slices, finishing up with a slice of goats cheese on top. Season and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are ‘mushy’ and the cheese has melted.