I love the changing seasons because each one comes with a whole lot of new ingredients to get my creative juices flowing. Autumn is no exception with its abundance of squashes, a perenial favourite in our house.
Being a vegan in France has its challenges, but it also offers a chance to infuse classic French recipes with a plant-based twist. Enter the renowned tart tatin, with its sticky caramelized apples and flaky puff pastry. It got me thinking – how about a savory vegan version with a Middle Eastern touch? This is the inspiration behind my Vegan Butternut Squash Tarte Tatin.
Let’s talk about butternut squash. Baking it is a game-changer; it’s like the flavors do a happy dance in the oven. The problem is that it also becomes sweeter which can be a issue with a savory dish, but the solution lies in its ability to handle strong, perhaps unexpected flavors. The natural sweetness of butternut can easily tiptoe into dessert territory if not balanced. So, my solution? A fusion of French and Middle Eastern influences to keep things savory, using two of my favorite ingredients, zatar and cumin, but if spice isn’t your thing, swap the harissa for a blend of tomato puree, smoked paprika, and cinnamon.
- A sheet of puff pastry
- Baked butternut:
- Half a butternut squash, sliced into discs (roughly 1 kilo/2lbs)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp zatar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp harissa
- 2 tbsp agave
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to a toasty 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Farenheit
- Slice the butternut into discs and then attractive half-moon shapes.
- Toss the butternut in a bowl with oil, ground cumin, salt, zatar, and salt – make sure each piece gets a cozy spice hug.
- Bake the butternut on a baking tray with baking paper for 30 minutes, giving them a gentle flip halfway through.
- Meanwhile place the oil and cumin seeds on a metal pie and heat on the hob until the seeds are sizzling.
- Then add the remaining ingredients, stir for 2 minutes, and let the flavors mingle.
- Take the dish off the hob and add a layer of the baked butternut.
- Lay the puff pastry like a cozy blanket over the butternut.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius/390 degrees Farenheit
And there you have it – my warming autumnal Vegan Butternut Squash Tarte Tatin with a Middle Eastern twist!
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