Magical carrots.

Carrot Tart

Carrots are pretty amazing little nutritional powerhouses.  Packed with beta-carotene (which gives them their vibrant orange colour), they’re fantastically antioxidant, and have a list of health benefits as long as your arm.  In western herbal tradition, carrots have been variously used as a treatment for night blindness, whooping cough, and cancerous tumours – to name but a few things – and researchers are now isolating various compounds in them that have indeed proven to be beneficial for some of the many ailments they’ve been used to treat over hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  I love it when science catches up with folklore 🙂

My purposes with this delicious gluten-free carrot tart were probably a little more stomach than health focussed however!  The recipe below is featured on the cover of this month’s Australian delicious. magazine…it looked so vibrantly orangey and, well, delicious, I couldn’t resist!

I do love delicious. magazine.  I’ve been subscribing for years now (or rather, one of my brothers buys me a gift subscription every year!) and i’m slightly addicted to it…I went through a lengthy period where I was going through each month’s issue as it arrived, with a bunch of sticky tabs, marking out all the recipes I wanted to make that month.  Needless to say – while I was without doubt very well fed – given that I live on my own, I also put on a lot of weight during that period!

Then as I started to realise I needed to rein my ballooning waistline in, and began adopting more and more paleo principles into my diet at that time, I found the magazine wasn’t really speaking to that healthier eating side of me, so I actually went nearly a year without opening any of the issues that arrived on my doorstep…frankly I just didn’t want to be tempted by things I was opting not to eat.

In more recent times, however, delicous. has really been stepping it up in the health stakes, with an increasing focus on recipes that are variously vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, raw, paleo, sustainable, locally sourced, no-waste, low or no sugar, dairy free…you get the picture!  It’s great to see such an inclusive approach, and especially one that brings so-called ‘fringe’ eating into the mainstream – whilst also proving that eating mindfully, and eating for pleasure, can indeed walk hand in hand.

Gluten-Free Caramelised Carrot Tart with Carrot-Top Salsa Verde

Cover recipe from Australian delicious. magazine, Feb 2016

Ingredients

  • Gluten-free plain flour, to dust
  • 400g frozen Careme Gluten Free Sour Cream Shortcrust Pastry, thawed
  • 1 bunch unpeeled mixed baby (Dutch) heirloom carrots
  • 700g unpeeled carrots, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
  • Labneh, dukkha and snow pea tendrils, to serve
Carrot Top Salsa Verde
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Carrot tops/fronds from Dutch carrots (above)
  • 1 tbs baby capers in vinegar, drained, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Grease an 18cm x 25cm rectangular/25cm diameter round fluted tart pan.  Lightly dust a work surface with flour.  Roll out pastry until 3mm thick, then use to line pan.  Freeze for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 200C.  Line pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice.  Bake for 25 mins or until just dry.  Remove the weights and paper, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden and dry.  Set aside.
  3. Cut off tops from baby carrots and wash.  Set aside two of these for garnish, chop the rest into 3cm pieces.  Place in a microwave bowl with regular carrots, then cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10 minutes or until slightly tender. (Alternatively, steam in a colander set over a saucepan of simmering water for 20 minutes).  Drain liquid, then place carrots on a baking tray.  Drizzle with 2 tbs oil, scatter with caraway seeds and season.  Roast for 40 minutes or until caramelised and tender.  Cool.  Reduce oven to 160C.
  4. Whiz the carrot mixture in a food processor to a puree, scaping side of bowl.  Add the eggs and sour cream, and whiz to combine.  Pour into pastry shell and bake for 40 minutes or until filling is set.  Cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, for the salsa verde, finely chop reserved carrot tops, then combine with all remaining ingredients in a bowl and season.
  6. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the reserved baby carrots and place in a bowl of iced water.  Drain just before serving.
  7. To serve, spread tart with labneh and scatter with dukkha, snow pea tendrils, salsa verde and thinly shaved carrots.

Notes

  • My grocer only stocks the regular Careme pastry (which is divine, it must be said), so I made my own GF pastry – you can find the recipe and method I used here.
  • I don’t know what it is about carrots and me, but I can never seem to get them to cook properly!  I also hate using the microwave for lengthy cooking times, so I opted for the steaming method above…and while they certainly seemed cooked before I put them in the oven, my final result was still a tiny bit chunky, rather than a completely smooth puree.  I think next time I would boil them until soft, then roast til caramelised, and see if this results in a smoother end texture.
  • In typing this recipe out, I realised I completely forgot to put the dukkha on top!  I’m a bit bummed about this frankly, because it would have really rounded it out…anyway, you need not make the same mistake – the dukkha recipe I always use is here, and I promise you it will become a pantry staple.
  • On that note, the salsa verde recipe above makes more than you will use for this tart…so i’ve been flinging it on eggs, pairing it with salmon, and using it as a sort of sandwich relish…totally yum 🙂
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