Flavours of Italy: Heirloom Tomato and Zucchini Flower Tart

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

This heirloom tomato and zucchini flower tart makes the most of the last of the summer's produce of sweet, ripe Oxheart tomatoes and zucchini flowers. On the base is a crisp pastry and it is topped with pesto, bechamel sauce, cheese, sweet red tomatoes and zucchini flowers and finished with olive oil and flakey salt. This is the perfect tart or pie for lunch for a crowd!

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

This tomato pie or tart was not supposed to be as delicious as it was. It was actually a purely leftover pie. I was headed to interstate for a food festival and I wanted to make something to use up the vegetables from our vege box and the things I had in my fridge. That afternoon I did a quick survey: I had some leftover home made pastry in the freezer, some cheese that needed to be eaten, a cup of béchamel sauce and pesto. I know it may sound a bit too much adding tomatoes and zucchini flowers as well (it's like I basically tossed together every Italian ingredient I had) but I just had to use up these ingredients.

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

The flavour of the tomatoes really shines in this tart and nothing can really go wrong when you add pesto or bechamel to anything while zucchini flowers are really there to add sparkle-they're the sequins on top of the tart. Using leftover Brillat Savarin cheese seems extravagant but it had sat in our fridge for longer than it should have (now that I have high cholesterol thanks to genetics I can't eat cheese like I used to) and I know Mr NQN would never help himself to cheese while I was away so in it went to the tomato pie.

This was actually very similar to a tomato tart that Queen Viv brought over for Christmas. She made it in a round, ceramic pie dish and uncovered it ready to serve. Now Queen Viv is one of my longest term friends and she is sort of like a mother to me. However she has always had a soft spot for men, especially good looking men. I always tell her that she always tends to give them an easy out whereas she is harder on women (it might be a generational thing). On the other hand, she's also a strong woman who would prefer to live alone than be with a sub standard guy. It's complicated.

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

She asked Mr NQN to cut up the tart for her. He took her knife and looked at it as if he didn't know what to do with it. He made a half hearted attempt to cut it and she watched him with growing impatience before taking the tart and knife away from him exclaiming, "He's got very weak wrists!". We had to explain that nowadays we call that weaponised incompetence. And once I explained what weaponised incompetence was, Mr NQN started to change things. He now does so much housework (probably more than me) although all the cooking is still done by me which I prefer because I care about what I eat!

So tell me Dear Reader, how do you split the housework? Have you ever had a leftover dish come together really well?

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

For Pastry

  • 320g/11ozs plain all purpose flour (you may need a bit more)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 130g/4.6ozs cold butter, cubed
  • 120ml/4flozs ice water

For Topping

  • 120g/4ozs basil pesto
  • 1 cup bechamel sauce*
  • 60g/2ozs red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g/3.5ozs goats cheese or soft cheese
  • 3 tomatoes, around 300g/10.6ozs, sliced
  • 6 zucchini flower, split lengthways
  • Olive oil and flaked salt and black pepper to drizzle

Bechamel sauce

  • 25g/1oz. butter
  • 25g/1oz. flour
  • 250ml/8.8flozs milk, heated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Step 1 - Add the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (little lumps of butter are great and make the pastry beautifully flakey). Add the water and pulse until it starts to ball together. Then empty the mixture out on a large clean surface and knead to form a dough. If you need a drop or two of water you can add it here (don't add too much or it will be sticky).

Step 2 - Take two large sheets of parchment, flour lightly and roll out the dough to 3mm/0.12inches in thickness into a large rectangle. Spray the base and sides of a 30x20cm/12x8inch rectangular tart tin. Press the pastry into the tin making sure to get it right into the corners and trim the sides. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Then prick holes in the base, cover with foil or parchment and add baking beads or dried beans to weigh it down. Bake at 180C/350F fan forced for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beads and bake for 10 minutes uncovered until the base is cooked through.

Step 3 - While the pastry is resting make the bechamel sauce. Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt. Add the flour and cook the flour in the butter for a minute. Add the milk gradually and stir until smooth. Add salt. Thermomix bechamel recipe note: add all ingredients in the Thermomix and set to 7 minutes, 90C and speed 4.

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

Step 4 - Spread the pesto across the base of the cooked pastry. Then spread the béchamel over this and then scatter onion on top. Dot with small dabs of the cheese. Then add the tomato slices and zucchini flowers covering up the tart. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are getting soft and oozy.

Heirloom Tomato Zucchini Flower Tart

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