There are mornings when being a rebel without a cause is warranted.
Mornings when you wake up and it's been ten days since you've seen your boyfriend all because he had to go all "law student" on you and study for his final exams. (What is that?)
Mornings when you realize you've dreamt about lab and doing experiments and PIPETTING every night. For a week. This is the stuff that neither dreams nor restful sleep are made of, let me tell you.
Mornings when you know you're going to have to spend a fair part of the upcoming weekend in a car. With your mother. Probably stuck in traffic on the LIE going to a baby shower where there will be meager if any vegetarian food options, and which you will probably leave at 4:30pm with an empty, angry and belligerent stomach only having ingested the 1/4 cup of potatoes and half an egg on half an English muffin that was served you since these were the only items that didn't involve bacon.
And though you refused to even try a bite of the cake because your sister told you it was so not that delicious (even though she devoured her entire slice. hmm. suspicious.) and so not worth the calories...you'll be so hungry on the ride home that you'll proceed to stuff yourself with the Jordan almonds that were in the goodie boxes. Because that makes sense.
Well. At least you looked cute.
But do you see what I mean?
These kinds of mornings require rebellion and insubordination.
A going-to-work-on-time revolution, if you will.
All in the name of tartlet-making.
Okay, so mayyybeee I did have a cause. And these tartlets were it.
But a poppy seed-infused pastry crust topped with a citrus carrot marmalade, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese and a chive/egg/parmesan cream?
The most worthy of all causes, if you ask me.
First of all, there's the cute factor, which alone will make your day especially if you get a text message from your roommate (who slept through your entire tart-making morning, might I add) in the middle of the afternoon saying "what are these adorable things on our table?!?!?". See? So gratifying.
And then there's the delicious factor.
Which is, like. Wow.
Who needs normal REM cycles when you have these babies on your table? NOT I!
I'm thinking they'd also be perfect for thanking your mother for torturing you in the car for four hours with questions like, "Do you ever wear make-up?" "Not even lip gloss?" "If you want you can borrow my BRICK RED lipstick?" "And really, what are you wearing?"
I mean, uh.
Thanking her for spending over 24 hours in labor with you and not even remembering a single ounce of the pain! (Her selective memory can be pretty impressive when she's trying to convince you to give her grandbabies. Like, yesterday.)
But no matter what your reason for making these, even if there is no reason at all, just...do it. Be a few hours late to work because of it. Trust me. It'll be worth it.
Butternut, Carrot and Goat's Cheese Tartlets
Makes 6, adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
For the pastry crust:
- 230 g all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 25 g poppy seeds
- 110 g cold butter, cut into small pieces (1 stick)
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
For the filling:
- 20 oz peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into small dice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 6 oz peeled and coarsely grated carrots
- 35 g sugar
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 1/2 tbsp orange juice
- 4 oz soft goat cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 20 g chopped chives
- 40 g parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and black pepper
- To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and poppy seeds. Place in a food processor along with the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together. Shape the dough into a flat disk , wrap in saran wrap and chill for a few hours (or overnight).
- Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the diced squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil as well as some salt and pepper. Put the squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes or until semisoft. Set aside to cool.
- While the squash is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Cook until they start to pop. Add the grated carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar, white wine vinegar, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and break it into sixths. Roll each sixth out into a circle, about 1/10-inch thick. Press the circle into a 4 1/2-inch tartlet pan, working with your fingers around the edges to line them evenly. Drape any excess over the side and then roll a rolling pin over the top to remove it. Chill for 30 minutes. Line the base and sides of each tartlet with parchment paper and fill it with baking beans or rice. bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans or rice and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool.
- Turn the oven up to 375. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolk with the cream, chives, parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Whisk together until the cream forms soft peaks. Refrigerate.
- To assemble the tartlets, divide the carrot mixture evenly between the tart shells, spreading it over the bases. Top with the butternut squash and crumble the goat cheese over it. Place the tartlets on a parchment-lined baking tray. Spoon over the cream mixture, filling them almost to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the filling has set. Let cool before serving.