The word rustic conjures up images of an old wooden Italian kitchen, where women are kneading the dough, baking pie and basking in the glorious heat of the Tuscan summer. The fare they create; best of the summer produce, with colors to baffle the eyes. The burnt red color of the Red Pepper Tart is what attracted me towards it. The light texture, combined with the sweet taste of the red peppers (or capsicum, as known by many) and the hint of spice from the chilli powder makes it stand out on your lunch/tea/dinner table. It is a dish to befit any occasion.
Fresh red peppers from the local market are a must, they should be full of flavor to give this tart its complete taste. The reason behind that is simple; it is the main ingredient. Accompanied by a cooling vinaigrette, the green hues of the mint placed on the scorching red backdrop of the tart, makes it a treat for the eyes as well as the stomach.
Ingredients for the Red Pepper Tart:
- 4 fresh red peppers
- 2/3 cup cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- Dash of balsamic syrup (optional)
- Blister the red peppers on a naked flame till charred and keep in an airtight container for 10 minutes
- Peel off the skin from the peppers and cut in quarters after taking the seeds out
- Add the peppers, garlic, cream, salt and pepper to a food processor and blitz till the color changes to a dark pink color
- Depending on the sweetness of the red peppers, add the sugar, chilli powder and balsamic syrup
- Blitz for a further 3 minutes till the peppers are reduced to very fine bits
- Pour the mixture into a pastry crust ( Note: either use a pre-made pastry crust, or follow the recipe for making a pastry crust from my earlier blog titled “Pecan Pie. Make sure not to add the sugar to make it savory)
- Bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes, or till the filling sets
- Once out of the oven, you will see the color change to a deeper burnt red
- Cool before serving
You can either serve the tart on its own, with a side of salad or even with a vinaigrette. I normally serve it with an easy honey, mint vinaigrette.
Ingredients for Vinaigrette:
- Fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Mix all the ingredients in a jar, close the lid tightly and give it a good shake
- The ingredients should all be coming to make a thick dressing. If the mustard does not dissolve, use a spoon to stir vigorously
Drizzle the vinaigrette over a slice of the red pepper tart and enjoy the pleasures of a rustic fare.