I had a few days off recently and all I wanted to do was bake! I blame BBC’s The Great British Bake Off, which has been building up to an exciting climax this week.
After a trip to the supermarket and the local wholefoods store to stock up on some essentials, I was ready to create my masterpieces… mini vegan tartlets!
Flans and quiches are one of those savoury goodies that I really miss, but these were just as delicious and so easy!
First I made some shortcrust pastry, mixing 2oz of dairy-free spread (I like Pure) into 4oz of flour using a fork until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. I’m trying to cut back on my wheat consumption so I used a mix of rice flour and barley flour, plus a small amount of gram (chickpea) flour and soya flour (to up the protein level), but the tartlets would taste lovely if you used plain wholemeal wheat flour instead. Then I added 2 tablespoons of water and mixed into a dough.
While the dough chilled, I made the filling. This might sound surprising but there’s only one ingredient you need: tofu. More specifically, a block of tofu, sometimes called silken tofu. I buy 400g blocks of tofu by Cauldron foods, because it’s so widely available. I cut the block in half, added some seasoning (a few dried herbs and some paprika) and a little drizzle of vegetable oil, then whizzed it all up in our blender/food processor.
I also added some leftover cooked vegetables (red onion, red pepper, corguette and mushroom) that we had in the fridge (approx 100g), although this recipe would work just as well without them. That’s it: filling ready.
Then I attempted to roll out the pastry, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t going to happen! As a wheat-free novice, I wasn’t expecting it to crumble quite so much. So instead, I cut the dough into 12 pieces (as evenly sized as I could do by eye) and shaped each one into a disk using my hands.
I fetched my ordinary 12-hole cupcake tin and greased each hole (using Pure again). Then I pressed each pastry disk into the hole using my fingers. This worked surprisingly well and gave a rustic look that actually looks rather good (disaster averted!). After pouring in the filling, I baked them in the oven at 180ºC for around 40 minutes and cooled on a cooling rack. (Please note that our oven is really old and rubbish so I think a normal oven would cook them much faster.)
Not only do these look good, they also taste amazing. I’ve eaten them hot, warm and cold, and they’re most delicious when they’re slightly hotter than warm. I will admit that they did have slightly soggy bottoms, so I will blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes when I make them again – and I will definitely be making them again. Yum!