This puff pastry tart with a Middle Eastern twist may sound a little odd but the final product was without a doubt one of the best things I have rustled up in lockdown times.
Yes, it takes a bit of time and effort to make, the aubergine after all is prepared and used in 3 different ways, as homemade baba ganoush, griddled and roasted, but I promise you is very much worth it.
This tart is a real centrepiece for any picnic, flavourful and filling enough with the addition of cubed halloumi, to please and wow even the most dedicated carnivore.
- 3 aubergines
- 5tbsp olive oil
- 50g tahini
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 x 320g rolled sheet of puff pastry
- 250g halloumi cheese, cut into small cubes and tossed in a little olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the drizzle
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp runny honey
- A handful of mint leaves, shredded
- 1 red chilli, cut into tiny dice
- ½ a preserved lemon, flesh discarded, skin cut into tiny dice (you cant it at Waitrose)
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Cook one of the aubergines first. Cover your hob around the gas rings with foil to stop it getting filthy.
Ideally, you want to place the aubergine over the gas ring, using tongs, and char it with the open flame until it is completely burnt on the outside and collapsing. If you don’t have a gas hob, grill the aubergine instead.
When it is cool enough to handle, split the aubergine lengthways and scoop the flesh into a bowl, being careful not to get any of the burnt skin in with the flesh. Set aside.
Cut the second aubergine in half horizontally. Cut each chunk into eight vertical wedges (or six if your aubergines are on the skinny side). Toss them in 2tbsp of the olive oil, season well and arrange the wedges on one of the baking sheets, skin-side down.
Roast for 15 minutes, until golden and almost cooked. Heat a griddle pan on the hob. Take the third aubergine and cut it into thin, round slices. Toss them in 2tbsp of the olive oil, season and place the slices on the hot griddle pan, for 3 minutes on each side.
Take the flesh from the first aubergine and strain it through a sieve before placing it on a board and chopping to a rough purée. Place it in a bowl with the tahini, the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, and add ½tsp of salt. Mix well and taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary – it may need more salt.
Open the pastry roll and place it on the second baking sheet. Gently score a line around the pastry, about 2cm (¾in) from the edge, creating a border. Spread the aubergine purée – baba ganoush – over the inner section of the pastry. Lay the circles of griddled aubergine over the baba ganoush and arrange the wedges among the circles. Scatter with the halloumi. Season the tart with salt and pepper, and brush beaten egg over the pastry border. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the border is well risen and golden.
For the drizzle, mix the olive oil and date syrup or honey in a small bowl and add the mint leaves, chilli and preserved lemon. Using a teaspoon, drizzle all over the tart. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.