Squash, Feta and Rosemary Pastry Tart

It was a truth that I had previously never doubted that I would never be any good at making pastry.  "It's just too difficult" I thought, "It'll just always go wrong and then it'll be a waste".  But then I thought - how hard could it be to make some harmless pastry.  Turns out that all I really needed to do was roll up my sleeves and go for it.

It was a truth that I had previously never doubted that I would never be any good at making pastry.  “It’s just too difficult” I thought, “It’ll just always go wrong and then it’ll be a waste”.  But then I thought – how hard could it be to make some harmless pastry.  Turns out that all I really needed to do was roll up my sleeves and go for it.

Turns out that I’m actually pretty darn good at making my own pastry.  Not as an every day thing you understand – I’m not that committed, but certainly in a batch and ahead of schedule and freezing down portions for later use is right up my street and the kind of vision of effortless mid-week cookery that I can handle without working myself up into a frenzy!

That…and a really good basic pastry recipe.  And I found one for a savoury pastry that I now swear by – so much so that I even have the confidence to play around with it and add flavours which means that the pastry becomes more of an integral part of the dish rather than just a case to hold something yummy inside of it!

The basic savoury recipe comes from Karen Austin’s magnificent “Lettercollum Kitchen Cookbook” (buy it here).  The words “fool” and “proof” come to mind, as well as “crumbly” “buttery” and “delicious”.   Master it (simple) and then play around with it and create really tasty dishes!

I came up with this delicious creation when the nights were still a little dark and nippy, but the days were warm enough to convince you that summer was on its way.  I don’t know about the rest of the country, but from the way the summer in West Cork is shaping up so far this year, I might as well advice that you should have this as a staple on your menu until the fog and mist finally does one and Mr Sunshine comes back into our lives!  To be honest, this is a dish to be eaten all the year round.  Accompanied by a simple shredded gem lettuce salad dressed with fresh zingy lemon juice and you have a winning dinner all the way around!

Ingredients for the Pastry:
300g unbleached flour
150g chilled butter, diced
1/2 tsp salt
100-150ml ice-cold water
1 tblsp fresh chopped rosemary

Method for the Pastry:

When making this pastry, Lettercollum advises that everything should be cold! Cold hands, cold butter, cold surfaces etc.
Put the flour, salt, rosemary and butter into a food processor and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed throughout, but not to over do it.
Then add the water a bit at a time and pulse inbetween until it comes together. Doesn’t matter if there’s a few bits hanging around in the food processor once it starts coming together, as you can push that together afterwards. Again, it’s advised not to overdo this part.
Take out the pastry, push it all together in a ball using the ball of your hand and then flatten into a disk, cover in parchment paper and place in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • Either a quarter of a large squash / half a small squash / a whole butternut squash
  • 3 smoked garlic cloves
  • 150g of feta cheese
  • 1 tsp of dried red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp of fresh chopped sage
  • knob of butter
  • smoked sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • rapeseed oil for roasting


  • Turn on the oven to 180 degs celsius
  • Prepare the squash by peeling, deseeding and cutting into small chunks
  • Line a baking tray with foil, place the squash on the tray and toss with the rapeseed oil, a small bit of sea salt and the smoked garlic cloves – smashed but still in their skins.
  • Place in the oven and roast until softened (apex 25 mins)
  • In the meantime, take your pastry out of the fridge.  Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with a little flour and roll out the pastry evenly until it is about the thickness of a €2 coin and is big enough to fit a standard fluted non-stick pie dish (one with a removable base is best)
  • Use a little butter to grease the pie dish and then using the rolling pin, gently lift the pastry over the pie dish and lower it in.
  • Using your finger knuckles then, gently press the pastry into the sides of the pie dish careful not to break the pastry.
  • Once the squash is ready, take it out of the oven and in the same oven at the same temperature, put the pastry into the oven to cook for 15 minutes.
  • Into a blender, add the soft roasted squash, fresh chopped sage and squeeze out the garlic cloves from their skins.  Blitz until smooth.
  • Spoon out into a bowl.  Sprinkle over the dried chilli flakes, crumble in the feta cheese and the rest of the fresh sage and mix throughly.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust with the smoked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as required.
  • After 15 minutes take the pastry out of the oven, and fill the par baked case with the filling.  Spread around, and then pop back into the oven for another five minutes to reheat through.
  • Meanwhile, take two heads of baby gem lettuce, slice and place in a bowl.  Season lightly with salt and black pepper and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and some good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Toss to coat well and serve up with the tart, piping hot out of the oven.
  • Goes really well with a nicely chilled Chardonnay.


Leave a Reply

web design and development by the designer of things