An all Mediterranean tart – an image of hummus, vegetables grilled with garlic oil & herbs on a olive oil flaky crust has been brewing in my head for a quite some time now. This is what spring time is about! Light flavorful and colorful meals and a lot of time outdoors with children and the trees.
The spring tidings also chirped in lovely Jeanne’s Topless Tart Alert for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle . How could one miss such a sexy party hosted by a gorgeous woman? It was a perfect time for me make and take my tart over. But before I could get there, a tiny kitchen malfunction, almost got our kitchen to a stand still. The ten year old refrigerator decided to breathe its last. But Jeanne graciously agreed to take in my submission later than the due date.
The mission here was also driven by my desire to make a perfectly flaky butter free crust. Once I started nurturing the idea, I was slowly getting obsessed with it. Why was I so bent on making a perfect olive oil crust? Lets just say, I get a high experimenting with recipes I have never done before and the best way to get it out of my system is get done with it.
Finally I got to play with my tart today. The initial plan of using asparagus did not quite happen; while bidding adieu to the refrigerator, I had to quickly use up the vegetables I had. With a tart like this, any combination of vegetables can be used. And every time you use a new permutation, you have gifted yourself a tart with fresh and new taste. That is the charm.
The hummus was made with some sun dried tomatoes. But again, any flavor of your choice would work here.
My family prefers a lighter crust to the heavy flavor of butter, especially now that the air outside has been warming up. Besides baking a olive oil pie/crust seems a little bit less guilty than using a few sticks of butter.
I did not have a recipe and did not know if it was possible to have a good crust without butter. So I tweeted. Lisa of Lisa is Cooking mentioned a recipe she has in a cookbook. It sounded good, but the recipe used egg, and I did not want to use one. Asha of Fork Spoon & Knife mentioned that she did try out a butter free crust, but was not exactly thrilled about it; the was crust flavorful and soft but not flaky like the usual tart/pie crust. Then Alessio of the Recipe Taster: From the Pantry to our Taste Buds came by leading me his recipe that he did for a dessert and was quite satisfied with it. I pondered over these two recipes. Then I went back and looked at the Onion Crackers that I had made a while ago. These crackers were really flaky and always reminded me of a short crust. I knew I still had some chance to have it flaky without the butter. So we tweeted some more exchanging ideas.
My onion crackers used baking soda. Alessio’s crust used wine. So both of these had the leavening. While Asha used no butter or leavening, she did make her crust with oil. I realized that using some kind of leavening could make this olive oil crust happen – butter less, and flaky at the same time. So I went ahead. With all the reasoning, I was ready to give it a try. I used olive oil, and club soda instead of water.
While I had to play around with the amount of oil, and soda, not really knowing what surprise it finally held for me, I have to declare, I am absolutely THRILLED with the way it turned out. It was really worth a try.
The crust was just perfect, deliciously perfect. Warm flavors, flaky, almost crumbly crust, but just rightly right stiff to hold the shape.
Grilled Vegetable and Hummus Tart
Ingredients: (makes 2, 8 inch X 2.5 inch [approx.] tarts)
- Hummus – recipe below
- Olive Oil Tart crust - recipe below
- Roasted Vegetables - recipe below
- Sea Salt
- Olive Oil
- Red Crushed Pepper (Optional)
- 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- a very generous splash of extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini (optional)
- 1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
- 2 zucchini, sliced
- 1 small eggplant, sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic. minced or grated
- coarse sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- red crushed pepper, to taste
- a good drizzle of olive oil
- herbs (optional)
- sumac (optional)
For the crust:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup + 2.5 tablespoons olive oil (I have used Rosemary Infused Olive Oil)
- 1/4 cup + 1.5 tablespoons very cold club soda (use a little bit more or less to make a soft but non sticky dough)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- dried herbs, (optional) – any kind you like
Making the crust:
In a bowl combine flour, salt, black pepper, herbs with a whisk.
Whisk together club soda and oil until almost creamy, for about 2 minutes.
Pour the oil water mix in to the flour mix and stir together with a fork, until the flour come together in a dough form and no dry flour is left. If you think you need extra liquid, add some more club soda or just cold water in very very little amount. Use your hands briskly to pull the flour together in to a dough, and work with the dough briefly and gently and just long enough to pull the dough together. Do not work with /handle the dough too much. The dough should be soft, but not at all sticky. It will not be very stretchy, but will rather kind of come apart.
Divide the dough into two parts and roll gently between two sheets of waxed paper, in a single direction. I rolled them into rectangles – 8″ by 2.5″, but you can roll them into whatever shape you desire. Do not roll back and forth. Remove the top parchment paper. Trim the edges, to even it out if you wish. Prick the crust with a fork.
Bake the crusts on the same parchment paper at 400 degree F for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
Preparing the Hummus:
Drain the sun dried tomatoes (if you using tomatoes in oil). Save the oil. If you wish you can use this oil instead of the olive oil. If you are using dried version of the sun dried tomatoes, first reconstitute them in boiling water until softened. Chop the tomatoes in smaller pieces.
Drain the chickpeas and save the liquid.
Combine all ingredients for hummus in a food processor. Process until smooth; if you need to use liquid, use the liquid of the chickpeas.
Grilling the vegetables:
Whisk olive oil, salt, herbs, crushed pepper and minced garlic.
Grill the vegetables in a regular grill drizzled with the above olive oil mix.
Place all sliced vegetables in a single layer in a baking tray; drizzle the garlic oil. Roast at 380 degree F in a pre heated oven, tossing them midway for 30 minutes.
Cook the vegetables on a stove top cast iron grill/skillet drizzled with garlic oil.
To make/assemble the tart:
Cool the crust to warm. Spread about 1/2 cup of hummus on the crust (or as much as you want). Arrange roasted vegetables on the top of the hummus. Sprinkle some sumac and sea salt on the vegetables. Repeat with the other crust. Drizzle with some olive oil and crushed pepper if you wish. Bake the tart in the oven for about a minutes at 350 degree F, just enough to warm the tart.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
All ready to join the party!