Saturday 10 December 2011

Squash Courgette Garlic Tart 2

This post has been a long time coming. So long, that we're almost at Christmas rather than Canadian Thanksgiving, when I first made it, hehe. Sorry about that. Sometimes I never know where my head is at. Especially in December, when its a busy month, and crazy even by my usual laid back standards.

We decided to stay home, just the three of us for Christmas this year. Over the last few years, we've hardly spent Christmas by ourselves. Two years ago, we were in the throes of the big move, and ended up spending Christmas in India. It was a big deal for me then, as that was my first Christmas back home in 10 years. The next year we had a whirlwind of a Christmas, with all the driving to Terrace and back in a week. So this year, I am kind of looking forward to a more relaxed week, hanging out with friends and spending Christmas with the people I love very much.

And of course, doing tons and tons of baking and cooking, and racing against the clock to get some natural light pictures for this blog. Its really funny, how I can manage to cook pretty decent food, yet my brain goes blank when it comes to creatively photographing it. I am also handicapped by the lack of light, in a way. Especially during dinnertime, when its dark outside. Kay and Aditi are getting used to eating dinner at 3 PM nowadays, if its reasonably sunny outside...

This beautiful squash, mushroom and zucchini tart is going to be at my Christmas table as well. It worked so well at Thanksgiving, I made a mental note to use it for Christmas as well. I love all the individual elements of the dish, and it was just a doddle to put together, which is always a great thing when you're rushing about trying to get to ten million things at the same time :-)

Squash Courgette Garlic Tart 1

I don't do vegetables as much as Kay and Aditi. Its ironic, really, as the majority of the time I have vegetarian recipes on the blog. I make an exception for squash though. Butternut and acorn are my favourite kinds, and I do like that I can buy a few at a time from the markets, and use them through a couple weeks. My usual recipes for squash are soups, spicy and roasted, in particular. On the days I want to go easy, I go with simple roast squash with olive oil and herbs, and maybe a spice or two.

And then there is this recipe. So simple, yet the way the elements of this dish come together is nothing short of amazing. The sweetness of the squash pairs perfectly with the earthy mushrooms and delicate zucchini. The garlic cream sauce adds another level of flavour, and the rich, buttery puff pastry just wraps everything up perfectly. The colours are gorgeous, and make me happy on a dull, miserable day. And the method of making it couldn't be more simple. The longest part of it is the time it bakes in the oven, during which you can clean up and throw together a light green salad to go with it.

I usually pair up this tart with a white or rose wine, and a green salad as I mentioned earlier. Along with lots of freshly baked crusty bread and lightly salted butter, this is one dinner that totally evokes summer, albeit with autumn and winter vegetables. For me, its perfect to chase away winter blues and pretend I am living in the South of France... oh, OK, I'll take any warm country :-)


(Printable Recipe)

1/2 pack puff pastry (200g)
1 acorn squash or small butternut squash
200g mushrooms
1 courgette/ zucchini
1/2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup half and half (single cream + whole milk) + a little extra
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle, roughly 13 inches by 9 inches.

Peel and chop the squash into small cubes. Wipe down the mushrooms and the zucchini and cut into the same size cubes as the squash. Keep aside.

In a pan, heat the butter, and saute the onion for about 7 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds.

Pour in the half and half, and add the grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Stir together, and heat until the cream is just thickening.

Add the squash, mushroom and zucchini to the onion-cream mixture, and stir to coat. Cook for about 2 - 4 minutes, topping up with a little extra cream if the mixture seems to be drying out too much.

Take off the heat and cool completely.

Meanwhile, place the rolled out pastry sheet on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Very gently ladle the squash mixture over the pastry, leaving about an inch and half from the edges.

Place the tart in the preheated oven, and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and risen around the edges and the squash is soft.


  1. Looks delicious. Food is notoriously hard to photograph well but I think you do a great job. Helps when said food looks scrummy anyway!

  2. I have a hard time getting good light for pictures too...I don't get a lot of good natural light in my home. But your pics look fantastic! We don't eat a lot of squash...usually just zucchini. I'll be checking out some of your recipes to add it to our diet more :)

  3. looks great we will also be here for Christmas my parents came from Scotland last yr

  4. That looks incredibly delicious!! Bookmarked to bake!!


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