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Vegan Savoury Tarts with Chickpea Flour and Vegetables

On our vegan cookery courses we are often asked how to make an eggless quiche. There are a few options but the one we like best is based on a batter made with gram flour (a.k.a. chickpea flour). The batter sets firm and has an ‘eggy’ consistency and a neutral taste so can take up what ever flavour you fancy. These tarts travel well so are perfect for picnics and packed lunches.

The gram flour batter we use here can also be made into a perfect vegan crepe style pancakes called Socca, popular in southern France. Cook exactly as you would a regular pancake, but pour a little more batter into a non-stick frying pan than you might usually. Before the top is set, scatter over a few cooked vegetables such as the ones in the tart recipe, or some chopped herbs like parsley and basil. Instead of flipping the pancake over, pop the frying pan under a hot grill to cook the top, then slide out onto a serving plate or board.

Vegan Savoury Tarts with Chickpea Flour and Vegetables

Makes: 6 individual 10cm tarts or a large 22cm tart

Dietary: Vegan | Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 150gplain white flour
  • 75g hard vegan margarine such as Tomor, chopped into small pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4-6 tbsp very cold water

Filling

  • 100g gram flour
  • 300ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • Dried oregano or herbes de Provence
  • Mixed black and green olives, pitted and halved
  • 12 basil leaves
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt, pepper

Method

  1. To make the pastry, mix the flour with the salt in a mixing bowl, then rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, or pulse together in a food processor until crumbly.
  2. Add 4-6 tablespoons of very cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir through or pulse till it forms a dough. It should come together as a firm ball, so add enough water to just bring together.
  3. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. To make the filling, sieve the gram flour with the salt and paprika into a mixing bowl, then whisk in the water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to make a smooth lump free batter. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables for the filling.
  5. Pre-heat the oven 180CFan.
  6. Place the halved cherry tomatoes in a roasting tray cut side up. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of oregano or herbes de Provence. Roast for 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven, then remove from the oven and allow to cool. The tomatoes will shrivel and wrinkle a little as they cool.
  7. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Place the fennel slices in one layer, and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until soft and beginning to caramelise. Set aside to cool.
  8. Roll out the pastry and line 6 individual tart tins. The easiest way to do this is to divide the pastry into 6 equal portions, then roll each into a ball, flatten slightly then roll out into circles large enough to line the tins so that the pastry overhangs just a little. Place the tins onto a baking tray and prick the surface of the pastry a couple of times with a fork. Line each tart case with a square of parchment or foil and baking beans, place the tray of tarts in the pre-heated oven and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment or foil and the baking beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes to cook the pastry base.
  9. Divide the fennel between the tarts, then pour enough batter over to almost reach the top of the pastry. (There will be batter left over but see note below for tips to use it up)
  10. Top each tart with 5 tomato halves, a few olive halves and a couple of torn basil leaves.
  11. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the batter has set and feels firm when pressed.
  12. Serve straight away or leave to cool for your picnic.
  13. These tarts are lovely with a herby dressing such as salsa verde or mayonnaise. You could use any summer roasted vegetables such as courgettes and red peppers in place of the fennel and tomatoes.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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