There are some things that seem meant for 2020, and this grain free zucchini tart is one of those things. It’s fiddly and involved, but it’s also a form of kitchen meditation. Carefully folding thinly sliced zucchini around one another is a time consuming but worthy endeavour.
In addition to being grain free, this tart is gluten free, vegetarian and FODMAP friendly. It can also be made even more lactose friendly, nut free or vegan. See the links below for those options.
GRAIN FREE ZUCCHINI TART NOTES
- If you’re conscious about lactose, I have a recipe for lactose free ricotta here. Ricotta making is quite a milk intensive process – I’d say for 500g final weight, you’d need 2 1/2 to 3 litres of lactose free full cream milk.
- If you’d like to avoid animal products altogether, I have also developed a vegan version of this tart, which can be found here.
- Looking for a nut free pastry? This flaky, buttery gluten free pastry is my current favourite.
- The thinner your zucchini slices, the easier this will be. Because the slices need to be flexible, thicker will be a lot more frustrating.
- If you’re not into zucchini, I have made a similar tart with small, thin skinned pumpkins. Here is the recipe.
THE SECRET INGREDIENT: A MANDOLINE
Sometimes I am so naive and oblivious that I wonder how I’ve made it to the ripe old age of 26. Up until recently, I watched on in awe as the illustrious people of Instagram showcased their perfectly, uniformly sliced carrot batons, leaving me wondering why mine ranged from the side of a matchstick to the size of half an entire carrot.
Newly enlightened, that is, told of the concept of a mandoline, I knew I had to acquire one. While they can be a truly terrifying contraption (A lot of Instagram followers have suggested to invest in a mandoline glove) the accuracy and ease with which they cut previously irritating-to-cut vegetables cannot be overlooked. Go on, treat yourself. And your followers.
My mandoline is by no means fancy, but it does the trick. I got it at Williams Sonoma.
RECIPE TIPS AND TRICKS
- As I have mentioned, your life will be made a lot easier by using a mandoline to cut the zucchini. Thin slices are bendier and easier to manipulate, which translates to a more intricate zucchini topping.
- Zucchini contains a lot of liquid, so it can sometimes seep a little as the tart cooks. Personally, I just dab it off at the end, but there is another option. You can lightly salt the zucchini slices to draw out extra liquid, leaving them to drain for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you don’t over salt though, or the flavour will carry through to the tart itself.
Zucchini, ricotta and herb tart
FOR THE GRAIN FREE TART CRUST:
- 125g (1 cup) tapioca flour
- 150g (1 1/2 cups) almond meal
- 80 g butter
- 1 egg
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 20 g freshly grated parmesan
FOR THE GRAIN FREE TART FILLING:
- 500 g firm ricotta from the deli
- ½ cup water
- 2 eggs
- 100 g freshly grated parmesan
- 30-50 g capers depending on how much you luff capers
- 75 g Persian or Danish feta
- 1 bunch mint finely chopped
- 1 bunch dill finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 3-4 medium sized zucchinis
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- In your food processor, combine all the ingredients for the tart crust, until it comes together into a dough. Grease your tart tin and press the dough into it until it is nice and snug. Discard any leftover dough. Poke a few lil fork holes in the base to allow air to escape, and then pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the filling. Loosen the ricotta with the water, and then add the salt and pepper, nutmeg, chilli, and cheeses. Continue to stir until all combined. Add the chopped herbs and capers and taste for seasoning. Finally, add the eggs and stir well to combine.
- Use your mandoline (being very careful of your fingers - I learned that lesson for you) slice your zucchini lengthways into the finest slices you can. Once you've done this, slice each of those thin slices in half lengthways (so you have two long slices instead of one) - the easiest way to do this is by hand.
- Once the base is cooked and cooled, pour the cheesy ricotta mixture into it and smooth it over.
- Now for the fun part. Take one zucchini ribbon, and curl it around itself, until it becomes a little circle. Get it as tight a circle as you can, and plonk this circle in the middle of the tart, pressing it down into the ricotta a little. Continue to wrap your zucchini around this centre circle, and keep going and going and going until you have completely covered the tart in zucchini. This step is actually a whole lot easier than it looks, I promise.
- Pop the tart into the oven, and cook for around 40 minutes to an hour. The zucchini might leak liquid - you can either drain it (covered in salt to extract moisture) beforehand, or you can just use a bit of kitchen towel to suck the moisture off the top of the tart after it cooks. That is the infinitely easier option.
- Gently cut (the oodles of zucchini slices necessitate a sharp knife and decisive cutting) and eat!