After long weekends of freezing cold weather and snow, it finally warmed up a little this weekend. The temperature hit 60 today and it was actually sunny. So we decided to celebrate with a little brunch with friends. We were quite maxed out with eggs so we decided to keep this one egg free and focus more on some vegetarian options. And as if by intuition, both A and I decided to recreate a butternut squash tart we had absolutely loved at Busy Bee Cafe in downtown Raleigh, which by the way is a really nice place to get dinner or a drink or both.
Anyway, coming back to the butternut squash tart, I was trying to take the easier route by buying a pre-made pie crust. But A refused. He was intent on making the crust from scratch and he also wanted to make it a healthy one. So we decided to take a little inspiration from this previous recipe and use the oats/flour combination. We did reduce the amount of sugar by a little and also added in some chopped hazelnuts. For the butternut squash mixture, it was lots of, well, butternut squash mixed in with some caramelised onions. And carmelised onions need goat cheese for company so that went in as well. We were a little worried about the lack of a binder but really we shouldnt have since everything stuck quite well together after a little oven time. The tart made for a great sunny brunch accompanied by a simple salad. Now I am just hoping that the sunny weather continues for a little bit. But alas there is forecast for rain tomorrow. Oh well.
1 cup oats
1 cup Unbleached All purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1/4 chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup butter (we used Smart Balance)
1 medium-large butternut squash
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
bread crumbs to top (optional)
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 8-inch pie pans (we used the disposable aluminium foil ones) with a little bit of butter.
- Combine all the dry ingredients for the crust with a whisk till well mixed.
- Add in cubes of chilled butter and mix in with hands till the mixture resembles small moist clumps.
- Divide the mixture equally between the two pans and firmly pat down till it sticks to the pan and sides.
- Bake till golden brown (around 35 mins). These can be baked ahead of time and frozen.
For the filling:
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes. Thinly slice the beets.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spread squash evenly on it. On a separate sheet line the beets.
- Drizzle both with olive oil, salt, pepper and mix well.
- Bake both in a 350F oven till tender (around 30 mins)..
- While the squash bakes, cook the onions in olive oil with a little sugar till they caramelise. Set aside.
- After the squash is ready, mix it in with the caramelised onions and goat cheese. Add paprika and more salt or pepper if required.
- Line each tart shell with the roasted beet slices, then add the butternut squash mixture and top it with some bread crumbs.
- Bake for 10 more minutes for the filling to settle in. Broil for a minute or two for the tops to get browned.
- Serve with a simple salad. We made a quick dressing of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, honey, olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper, which was tossed over mixed greens.
Makes two 8-inch tarts.