When I had kids, my number one criteria was to ensure that they eat good quality meals prepared with quality ingredients. Being an immigrant, I want to ensure my kids are exposed to foods from my culture in its entirety and foods from other cultures to appreciate the world around them. I grew up eating Bateta nu Shaak, you can find the recipe here. It is simply a potato curry where the potatoes are cooked in all these wonderful, earthy, aromatic spices like ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, and garam masala, spiced to perfection and thoroughly delicious! I wanted to bring a bit of my childhood into this beautiful Tart that I created – Indian Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Coriander Leeks, Gruyere Tart.
I have worked with Fillipo Berio this year on a couple of projects. It has been an absolute pleasure using their wonderful variety of olive oils, pestos, and vinegars in my daily cooking! When you choose Filippo Berio Olive Oil, you are choosing a product steeped in the traditions. For nearly 150 years, Filippo Berio Olive Oil’s superior quality has inspired cooking enthusiasts to create delicious meals for family and friends. Nothing is more enjoyable and satisfying than cooking a meaningful recipe near and dear to my heart for the ones I love. Preparing food with love is the secret ingredient to every dish I create! Especially in this pandemic, when I have been cooking more for my family on a daily basis, the importance of providing for good ingredients, especially good quality ingredients, has become ever more impertinent to ensure good health for my family. I was so excited when I had another project to work with Filippo Berio, revolving around culture-inspired recipes.
Filippo Berio Olive Oils impart that distinct flavor to each and every dish that I prepare for my family. All the olive oils are formulated differently with different varieties of olives and each varietal has its own characteristic. For this tart, I used 2 kinds of Filippo Berio Oils: 1) The Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil was used with all the wonderful Indian Spices and Butternut Squash, for roasting. The olive oil is intensely fruity with a peppery finish, which is what I was going for with the roasted butternut squash, with all the intense spices, to bring out the best flavors via roasting the squash. 2) I used the Filippo Berio Olive Oil, a bright olive oil with a mild taste, to flavor the caramelized leeks, to let the leeks shine. The olive oil was also used to fry up the sage leaves, making them crispy to decorate the tart.
I will walk you through the process of creating a homemade puff pastry! It is really not that difficult, just a bit tedious, but the flavors are impeccable, and they are made only with 5 ingredients, and no preservatives at all, which makes this a winner in my book!
HOMEMADE PUFF PASTRY OR BLITZ PUFF PASTRY:
The process is pretty straightforward to make the puff pastry at home. The flour, salt, cold unsalted butter, and ice cold-vinegar water are mixed together in a stand mixer for 2 minutes. The dough is allowed to rest in the fridge, wrapped up in a plastic wrap for an hour. And then we start the process of making the puff pastry. The idea of the rough puff or blitz puff is that the dough is blitz in the mixer, and then you give it 4 lamination turns, before rolling out the final dough into a puff pastry thickness, and use it for your tart.
Homemade puff pastry takes half a day to make from start to finish and it is not intimidating at all! Attempt it and you will see how easy the process is and how good, homemade puff pastry comes out to be!
Now, what are turns? You may ask?
When you have the dough ready after 1 hour’s rest, the gluten in the dough has rested, so the dough will be easy to roll out to form a good base for lamination. You have to roll out the dough into a 10×20 inch rectangle. You need a wide rolling pin for this task to go across the width of the dough when rolling out. The rolling motion has to be uniform, so that the thickness of the dough is consistent throughout the process. When rolling out the dough, after a couple of rolls, make sure to use a bench scraper, and the rolling pin to straighten out the edges from all the sides to form a perfect rectangle. This is essential to get uniformity at every step of the way. Use your hands to stretch the dough at the corners to level out the sides. The bench scraper is your most useful tool! I have a stainless-steel bench scraper that helps me a lot for various other tasks in the kitchen as well.
Once you roll out the dough, you have to do a business letter fold or a 3-letter fold where you fold one short edge two-thirds of the way on the dough, and then roll the other short edge overlapping the first fold, to form an even smaller rectangle with all the corners aligned. This is ONE TURN. You have to repeat this process of laminating the dough THREE MORE TIMES. This creates layers in the dough, with the butter encased between these layers. When the puff pastry hits the hot oven, the butter steams between the layers, lifting the layers up, and creating those signature puff pastry layers that you see from store-bought puff pastry. It is magic to see it happen, and just so satisfying when you make your own puff pastry dough and make the tart using the homemade puff pastry dough.
RESTING AND CHILLING THE DOUGH and the ASSEMBLED TART, AND THE COOL WEATHER:
Firstly, it is very important that the weather that you make the puff pastry dough in, is cooler weather, especially if this is your first time making homemade puff pastry. Weather plays an important part because you have to be quick at every step in the process, to ensure that the butter and the dough remain cold, so that rolling out the dough is easier and quicker. If the dough is not pliable and you feel you are unable to roll it with ease, then pop it into the fridge on a baking sheet for half an hour and then resume your activities again. Once you get used to the process, if you make it in the summer, be sure to keep the AC on, so that you can work through the puff pastry making process.
After the two turns, it is important to rest the dough so that the dough and butter remain cold. Hence, we pop it into the fridge for an hour. Then we remove it and get two more turns in. After which we again pop it into the freezer for an hour. Finally, we are able to use the puff pastry dough to roll it out into thin sheets and use it for our purpose. Even after rolling it out into thin sheets, I freeze it to ensure that the dough is cold when you are topping it with fillings. You want to make sure that every step of the way the dough is cold, the puff pastry is chilled. That will ensure the best results.
Even after adding the fillings/toppings on the tart, I freeze the entire tart for 10 minutes to set everything, before popping it into the oven to bake. This really helps to whole tart process. When you remove the tart after baking, and you look at the bottom crust, you can see it is golden brown in color and sturdy, because all the precautions were taken to ensure best results.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FILLINGS/TOPPINGS:
Caramelized leeks are made by slow cooking the leeks, in Filippo Berio Olive Oil. I love adding toasted coarsely crushed coriander seeds to it, to give it an added flavor/aroma, and nuttiness from the coriander seeds. The leeks have so much flavor and added a wonderful element to the tart.
The butternut squash is spiced with Indian spices and also the wonderful Robusto Filippo Berio Olive Oil, which is full bodied and gives a wonderful punch to the sweet aromas of the butternut squash, along with the spices!
These flavors, along with the gruyere and fontina cheese make for such an amazing combination along with the homemade puff pastry, and a lovely treat to enjoy over a couple of days! This tart can be made as an appetizer, cut into squares, and served on a platter, OR as a main, with a larger square, and some arugula salad to go with it! It works either ways. I know it would be a huge hit at a small party and even for Thanksgiving, given the pandemic situation, and bring a little joy in this festive season.
I hope you get a chance to make this homemade puff pastry, and enjoy the therapeutic experience of making this tart for your family and your loved ones. If you do, please let me know how you enjoyed it, on Instagram or on this blog post.
Indian Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Coarse Coriander Leeks, Gruyere Tart
1.) Tart can be stored in the cooled down oven, in the baking sheet itself.
2.) It can be heated up in a toasted oven, on the Toast Setting and enjoyed the next day.
3.) It will keep up to 3 days.
Blitz Puff Pastry:
- 454 gms of bread flour
- 454 unsalted European butter, cold and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 ½ (9 gms) table salt
- 200 gms ice cold water
- 1 tsp (4 gms) apple cider vinegar
- Extra bread flour for laminating the dough
- Indian Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash:
- 488 gms butternut squash, skin removed, cut in half and sliced horizontally into ¼ inch thick slices.
- ¼ cup (32.5 gms) Filippo Berio Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ tsp (1 gm) ground turmeric
- ½ tsp (1 gm) ground cumin
- ½ tsp (1 gm) ground coriander
- ¾ tsp (4 gm) table salt
- ½ tsp (1 gm) red chili powder
- ½ tsp (1 gm) garam masala
Caramelized Coarse Coriander Leeks:
- 1 leek, washed, cut into half and sliced thin
- ½ tsp (1 gm) coriander seeds
- ½ tsp (3 gms) table salt
- ½ tsp (1 gm) coarse black pepper
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 tbsp (16 gms) Filippo Berio Olive Oil
- 280 gms gruyere cheese, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
- 70 gms grated fontina cheese
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 10-12 sage leaves
- 3 tbsp (24 gms) Filippo Berio Olive Oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
Equipment for Blitz Puff Pastry:
- Wide rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- ½ sheet Baking trays
- Bench scraper
- 2 feet stainless steel ruler
- Pastry brush
- Wide haired brush to brush off excess flour
Blitz Puff Pastry:
- 1.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, mix the flour and salt together. Add in the butter, few at a time while the mixture is running on slow speed. After adding all of the butter, mix on medium speed until the butter breaks up a little. Mix the apple cider vinegar into the water, and add the water slowly, while the mixer is running on slow speed to combine the dough. Increase the speed to medium for a few seconds until the dough is incorporated. It will be slightly sticky and you should see the butter pieces throughout the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, shape it into a rectangle and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
Laminating the dough:
- 1.) Keep the stainless-steel ruler, bench scraper, wide haired brush, extra flour, rolling pin handy. After an hour, on a clean work surface, add a bit of bread flour on the surface. Add some on the dough as well. Using the wide rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 10x20 inch rectangle. Make indentations on the dough, and start rolling out towards you and in the up direction, always maintaining a constant rolling motion up and down uniformly. You have to keep straightening the sides of the rolled-out dough with the bench scraper and rolling pin, to ensure that the rectangular shape is maintained at all times, while at the same time maintaining the thickness of the dough throughout as well, whilst rolling the desired size. Use extra flour as and when needed to ensure that the dough does not stick to the surface. You can pull the dough from the corners to make sure that the dough is straight and forms a neat rectangle.
- 2.) Remove the excess flour from the dough, by using the wide haired brush. Wrap first the left side upto 2/3 rd of the dough. Then wrap the right side of the dough, over the left side, aligning all the corners. Using the wide haired brush, brush off the excess flour from the dough. Using the bench scraper, make sure that the edges are need and straight by aligning the bench scraper against the dough.
- 3.) Now with the open edge towards you, start rolling the dough again, to the same 10X20 inch size.
- 4.) Repeat Step 2). You have completed 2 turns.
- 5.) Put the dough to rest on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and keep it in the fridge for an hour.
- 6.) Remove the dough and repeat the rolling and folding process 2 more times for 2 more turns.
- 7.) Put the dough to rest on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and keep it in the fridge for an hour.
- 8.) Cut the dough into half horizontally. Store one half in the fridge and the other half, roll it out into 3mm thickness, into approximately 17x12 inch rectangle.
- 9.) Keep the puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet with parchment paper and freeze it for 15 minutes.
- 10.) Use half of the remaining half of puff pastry, to roll it out into 3mm thickness, and cut out leaf shapes, using a leaf cutter, to decorate the outside of the puff pastry. This step is completely optional. It simply gives the tart a bit of elegance and fall fun. If you do use the leaf cutter, make sure to dip it in extra flour and then use it on the puff pastry dough, else it will stick. Put the leaves on a quarter baking sheet and store in the freezer to use later.
- 11.) The remainder of the puff pastry can be used to make palmiers, or a smaller tart, or cheese straws, or anything at all!
Indian Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash:
- 1.) While the puff pastry dough is resting for an hour, prepare the roasted butternut squash. In a medium bowl, add in the oil and all the spices and whisk. Add in the butternut squash and coat them well with the marinade.
- 2.) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- 3.) Add the slices laterally, not overlapping each other on a baking sheet. Make sure to empty out any marinade onto the squash and smear it on top of them.
- 4.) Roast the squash for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Caramelized Coarse Coriander Leeks:
- 1.) While the puff pastry dough is resting for an hour, prepare the leeks. In a small skillet pan, at medium heat, add in the coriander seeds and lightly toast them for 2 minutes. Once you smell the aroma you know it is done. Grind them coarsely in a coffee grinder or use a mortar pestle to grind it coarsely.
- 2.) In a medium skillet pan at medium heat, add in the olive oil. After a minute, add in the chopped leeks, grated garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, coriander, and continuously sauté for 12 minutes until caramelized and ready.
Fried Sage Leaves:
- 1.) In a small skillet, on medium heat, add the oil. Add the sage leaves, the oil may splatter so be careful. Using tongs, remove the sage leaves after 10-15 seconds after crisping both sides. Remove on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.
- 1.) Take the tart out of the freezer after 15 minutes. Top with the caramelized leeks and using a rubber spatula smear it all over, leaving a ½ inch border all around the tart.
- 2.) Top with the gruyere slices uniformly on top off the leeks. Sprinkle the fontina cheese, and distribute it uniformly.
- 3.) In a pattern, top with the roasted butternut squash, slightly overlapping each other.
- 4.) Top with the toasted pine nuts.
- 5.) Egg Wash: To prepare the egg wash, add in all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously for 1 minute to combine.
- 6.) Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the tart dough with the egg wash.
- 7.) Add the leaf cutouts around the edge of the tart. Brush the leaves with egg wash as well.
- 8.) Freeze the tart again for 10 minutes to chill.
*Bake the tart: *
- 1.) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- 2.) Bake the tart for a total of 45-50 minutes, until the tart is golden brown in color. The leaves may hang off the tart and the puff pastry is going to puff up, and the cheese may ooze out, but once you get the tart out of the oven, it will settle down and you can nudge the leaves back onto the tart.
- 3.) Let it cool for 10 minutes, decorate with the fried sage leaves.
- 4.) Cut into pieces and serve with an arugula salad!