For me, a quiche is a great Springtime treat. Sometimes there’s nothing more tempting than a warm homemade quiche with a fresh salad.
South Americans, even with their love of pastries, don’t necessarily share a European’s love for quiche. A quiche or tarta might not be the most common meal, but is more likely to be a European-influenced delicacy.
With Summer peaking it’s head out from the shadows, I decided that I would experiment with my own take on a South American style quiche for a dinner party. This was my first attempt at making a quiche, so it was a complete gamble and I stuck to shop-bought pastry to avoid complete disaster (next time, I will make it from scratch!). So, by combining the typical South American flavours of zapallo, queso fresco and coriander, with a disaster-free quiche recipe, here is my Tarta Primavera…
Tarta Primavera (Spring Tart)
- 250g puff pastry (shop bought or homemade)
- 3 eggs
- 250ml milk
- 200g butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- ½ red onion
- ½ red pepper
- 150g feta cheese
- Fresh coriander
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
First of all, I’ll put my hands up and admit that I did not make my own pastry this time. Due to time constraints and a fear of failure, I decided that I would take a short-cut with the shortcrust.
Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface, keeping an even thickness throughout. Cut out a circle large enough to fill your baking tray. Grease the backing tray well with butter, and gently line it with the pastry. Leave to stand for 20 minutes or so.
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. If baking beans are available, lining the pastry base with foil and filling with baking beans is very helpful for keeping the pastry base flat when baking (I didn’t have these available, however, so don’t worry too much). Place the pastry in the over and bake for 20 minutes.
Chop the butternut squash, red onion and red pepper up and place on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, before roasting for just over half an hour at 180ºC until cooked.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs together, and then add the milk. Beat well until evenly mixed through. Season well with salt and pepper and add in a bit of coriander. Take the feta cheese and chop into small cubes.
Once the squash is cooked, scoop the vegetables into the pastry base, being careful not to make it too oily. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables until evenly covered. Then crumble the cubes of feta into the filling and sprinkle the rest of the coriander over the top as preferred.
Bake the quiche for 40-45 minutes until the filling is just set, testing it with a fork to see if it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
For my first attempt at quiche, my tarta turned out pretty well! A little rough around the edges maybe, but the guests at the dinner party still refused to believe that I’d made it, even if I did cheat just a little. There was the tiniest subtle hint of South America in the flavours, especially with the coriander, squash and the feta cheese (as similar as you can get to queso fresco).
My tarta primavera has inspired me to create more South America-European infused dishes, as well as recreating the traditional meals I have tried before. Watch this space, I feel some Latino experiments coming along…