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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tartelettes with Seasonal Winter Veggies

wintery tartelettes with seasonal veggies

Shortcrust pastry and winter vegetables, a match made in heaven, especially during the cold seasons. They not only make you feel good, as this recipe mostly requires seasonal ingredients, they also leave behind a fuzzy feeling and keep you warm. On top of all, they are addictive! Yep, due to their miniature size you just won`t stop after eating one, or two, or  three...

I already mentioned the requirement of seasonal vegetables, this might upset a few of you, especially those ones that aren`t used to cook by season very often. For that very reason, I will try to give you a range of vegetables which are considered seasonal in winter. The following suggestions apply to the northern hemisphere, temperate zone. Or in other words they mostly apply to Northern and Middle Europe, as well as the Northern and Middle parts of the United States. Anyway here is the selection of winter veggies; chicory, kale, squash/pumpkin, parsnip, purslane, Brussel sprouts, black salsify, sunchoke, sugarloaf or turnip. Quite a selection you got there to choose from right? For charts displaying fruits and veggies by season, check out the following links for the US, for Europe, for Switzerland 1, 2 (where I`m from). 

mini pies with seasonal veggies

Well I, as an example, went for black salsify, parsnip and fennel, whereas I have to admit, that Swiss fennel is out of season since November, but at our neighbours they still are so I guess you guys let pass this one. 
The most interesting part of this recipe was working with black salsify. Until now I never prepared this vegetable, well ok I did, but the canned ones, which don`t count at all. So this was a pretty new experience for me. Did you ever prepare your own black salsifies? Well then you know it`s kind of a mess and your hands eventually will be covered all in black, that`s why you should use rubber gloves. And of course you need to work fast, due to the quick oxidation, which will turn your black salsify brown or just soak them in lemon water to prevent oxidation. But besides that they are prepared quite easily, in fact the whole recipe is pretty much a piece of cake.

veggies for wintery tartelettes

What you need for 12 tartelettes:

for the shortcrust pastry (recipe from swissmilk):
  • 200g flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter*, straight out of the fridge and cut into pieces
  • 500ml water
  • single use aluminium tartelettes tins or a tartelettes/mini pie tin
* I precisely followed the instructions of the recipe, but for my taste the pastry turned out a little bit too buttery, that`s why I would recommend to reduce the amount of butter, probably only use 80 to 75g.

for the filling*:
  • 100g black salsifies
  • 1 fennel
  • 1 parsnip
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 eggs, if you want them less eggy only use 1 egg and add a bit more milk instead
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • plastic gloves, for washing black salsify
* this will probably produce a bigger vegetable batch that you need for the filling, but don`t worry, just freeze them to use in another occasion, make a bigger batch of tartelettes or use the left over veggies to make your own homemade vegetable stock.

making shortcrust pastry tartelettes or mini pies


for the shortcrust pastry:
  • pour flour and salt on a flat surface
  • add butter, mix until little crumbs are formed
  • form a mould and slowly pour in the water, whilst forming (don`t knead!) into a dough
  • after adding all the water, continue forming a dough without kneading
  • lay out a parchment paper on a flat surface, place your dough onto the middle of your paper
  • sprinkle over a little bit of flour and add another parchment paper sheet on top of your dough
  • now roll it out thinly, about 5mm
  • spread the aluminium tins upside down on your dough, whilst slightly pressing them on
  • now you can trace the lines with a knife and cut out your tartelettes
  • put one tartelette in a aluminium tin and prick the bottom of every dough circle with a fork
  • put in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool down
filling the wintery tartelettes

wintery tartelettes before baking

for the filling:
  • preheat the oven at 200° Celsius
  • fill a pan with water and bring to a boil, add a pinch of salt
  • rinse off black salsifies, very thoroughly, peel and cut into little pieces
  • add them immediately to the boiling water before they turn brown
  • wash, peel and cut the parsnip into little pieces
  • add to the already cooking salsifies
  • cut of the fennel green and the bottom side, remove the single pieces, rinse them off and cut them into stripes or little pieces
  • add to the boiling water as well, as soon as the rest of the veggies is almost done (you should not yet be able to pinch them easily with a knife, but almost)
  • cook for approximately 2 or 3 minutes
  • pour off the water, let the veggies cool down for about 10 minutes
  • in the meantime pour milk and eggs into a measure cup, whisk well
  • equally distribute vegetables on every tartelettes
  • pour over 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling
  • season with salt and black pepper
  • bake your tartelettes for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly brown
Preparation time shortcrust pastry: 45 minutes, cooling time included
Preparation time filling: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Preparation time: 1 hour
baking time: 15 to 20 minutes

tartelettes with black salsify, fennel and parsnip

Ok, I admit, these little babies need some effort and time, but you can easily prepare a huge batch of them, freeze them for later and they will still be delicious after reheating. 
Now it`s your turn, what combo of winter veggies would you go for?

Read you soon,

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