December 31st, 2014
Paneer And Pumpkin Tarts
As I sit down to write my last post for this year, it is time to reflect, ascertain and maybe analyze the year gone by! Like any other year, it was a mixture of many events and emotions that unfolded a way, teaching me lessons to last a lifetime.
It was a year of extremes. Extreme betrayal in friendships and profession, extreme love and support from family and some friends, some milestones being met, the birth of my nephew and new relationships being formed and forged.
I look forward to 2015 with hope, prayer and enthusiasm as I’m filled with gratitude about my work here touching so many lives and knowing about it through comments, emails and messages from you, my dear readers!
And here, I am today, bidding adieu to 2014 with these fantabulous tarts!
Tarts, not only make a pretty picture, but also a wholesome meal.
You can have them for brunch, at tea time, at lunch or dinner. They are perfect for a party or a picnic or when you want to make something elegant yet homey for a homemade delight.
These tarts were met with rave reviews at home and it also comes with a guaranteed seal of approval from my five year old, my hardest taste tester!
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this little boy of mine ate an entire tart at one go!
I love paneer, but if you don’t you can substitute it with tofu. The buttery crust filled with a smooth yet spiced paneer and pumpkin filling is a great meal by itself. Add a soup and salad to this and you are all set!
I chanced upon some baby rucola and I used them to sprinkle over my tarts. If you are serving these tarts to kids, then you might not want to use salad leaves that are tart and astringent.
In 2015, I hope to fill this space with a myriad of flavours, textures and tastes! In the meanwhile, enjoy these tarts and do come back for a second helping!
Paneer And Pumpkin Tarts Recipe
Paneer can be substituted with tofu and the butter with olive oil for a vegan version
For the Tart
140 gm (1 cup) plain flour*
70 gm (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour*
100 gm (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime juice
5 to 6 tbsp icy cold water
In a bowl, mix in both the flours and the salt. Put in the cold butter and using a pastry blender or with your hands rub the butter into the flour until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, process the flour with the butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.)
Sprinkle the lime juice and the water and mix quickly until it forms a ball. (If using a food processor, add the water and process for a few seconds until the mixtures comes together and forms a mass.) If the mixture is a little dry, you can use a few drops of cold water. Gently knead the dough for about 10 to 15 seconds, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. (If using a food processor turn the mixture onto a cool surface and proceed as given above.)
Roll out the dough to about 3 mm (1/8”) thickness and using a round cookie cutter which is a little bigger than your tart mold, cut out rounds and line the tins or molds. (If you don’t have a tart mold, don’t fret…simply cut rounds and lightly press them into muffin or cup cake tins.) Do not over stretch the dough and turning it over and over again while rolling. Prick with a fork all over and bake in a pre heated oven at about 180 C/350 F for about 25 minutes*.
Allow to cool completely before removing the tarts from their tins.
*You can use 100% plain flour for a very tender and flaky crust or 50% plain flour and 50% whole wheat flour for a grainer and healthier version.
*The baking time can be 5 minutes more or less depending on your oven.
For the Filling
250 gm (1 cup) firm paneer*, grated
200 to 250 gm pumpkin, steamed and cubed into 1” pieces
dry red chili
½ tsp asafetida
2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
salad leaves (optional)
jalapeno pepper or red chili in brine for garnishing (optional)
Grate the paneer or chop coarsely and blend in a processor until smooth.
Put the paneer into a bowl and add in the rest of spices and the oil or ghee and mix well. Fold in the pumpkin pieces, reserving a few pieces for the topping.
Assemble the Tarts:
Spoon a little cooled filling over a cooled tart. Place a few pieces of pumpkin in the centre. Bake for 10 to 15 more.
Sprinkle over fresh salad leaves and garnish with the optional red chili or jalapeno pepper. .
Makes 12 small tarts or tartlets and one 9” pie.