This is Incredible.
Make it for someone you love kind of incredible. Can’t wait to make it again and again kind of incredible. Make it in the afternoon and watch it cease to exist by the evening kind of incredible. Thyme scented garlic, slick with balsamic syrup, glossier than Cheryl Cole’s barnet kind of incredible. Clods of butternut roasted to coax out the sugar, cosseted in a duvet of delicately shuddering dairy kind of incredible. There are no words kind of incredible.
Mr Ottolenghi – I salute you.
30g unsalted butter, melted
375g puff pastry
½ butternut squash (250g), peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 heads garlic, cloves peeled
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1½ tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme, plus a few whole sprigs to finish
130g rich, creamy goats’ cheese, such as Ragstone, rind removed (I didn’t have any, so used Davidstow cheddar instead to v.tasty effect)
100ml double cream
100ml crème fraîche
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Brush a 22cm round cake tin with melted butter. Roll out the pastry to a square 3-4mm thick, then cut out a circle to cover the base of the tin and come about 3cm up its sides. Brush with more butter, line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Put into the fridge for 20 minutes, bake for 20 minutes, remove the beans and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the pastry is golden. Remove and set aside.
- Spread the squash over an oven tray, sprinkle with a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt, and roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through. Meanwhile, put the garlic in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, blanch for three minutes and drain. Return cloves to the dry pan and add two tablespoons of oil. Fry for two minutes, add the vinegar and 180ml water, simmer for 10 minutes, add the sugar, chopped herbs and half a teaspoon of salt, and simmer for another 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cloves are coated in dark, caramelly syrup.
- Arrange the squash in the tart case, dot with pieces of cheese and scatter the garlic and its syrup all over. Whisk eggs, creams, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper, and pour over the tart, plugging the gaps but letting the filling peek over the surface. Lay a few thyme sprigs on top.
- Reduce the oven to 170C/325F/ gas mark 3 and bake the tart for 35-45 minutes, until it sets and the top goes golden-brown. Eat warm or at room temperature with a crisp salad.