I first learnt how to make these tarts at school, and they’ve since become a firm favourite of mine for dinner! They’re made using puff pastry – your average shop brought pastry contains a lot of butter which can make me ill, so I instead learnt how to make it myself. It can be time consuming, but these are so worth it in the end; fresh pastry is delicious, and everything tastes that little bit better when you’ve made it from scratch!
Makes six squares (serves three)
- 300g Plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 350g Flora Freedom Dairy-free Spread
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 120ml ice-cold water
- Tube of tomato paste
- Bunch of fresh basil leaves
- Black Pepper
- 200g Arla lactose-free grated cheddar cheese
Any toppings you fancy! I suggest:
- Diced peppers
- Halved olives
- Sliced ham
- Sliced mushrooms
- Diced onion
- Place the tube of spread in the freezer for ten minutes. By making it a little colder and more solid, it won’t melt whilst you’re using it!
- Place the flour and salt into a bowl with 50g of spread. Rub the spread into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the lemon juice and water. Mix together with the blade of a knife, then bring together with your hands to form a smooth dough. You may not need all the water, so add it to the bowl gradually until the dough is formed.
- Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Place the dough in the centre.
- Cut a deep cross into the top of the dough. Wrap it in cling film, and place in the fridge for fifteen minutes.
- Retrieve the spread from the freezer. Weigh out the amount that you need, keeping the spread in a block shape.
- Lay a piece of cling film onto the surface, and sprinkle with flour.
- Place the spread on the centre of the cling film. Sprinkle the spread with flour, and place a second piece of cling film on top.
- With a rolling pin, beat the spread down and shape into ~13x13cm squares.
- Fully cover with cling film, and return to the freezer for five minutes.
- Dust the surface again with flour and place the dough, unwrapped and cross –cut up, in the centre.
- Roll out the dough in the four directions of the cut, turning the dough clockwise with each roll.
- Roll out until you form a shape with a 13x13cm square in the middle and 4 triangles on each edge, with a thickness of ~2cm.
- Place the square of spread on top of the square of dough. Gently fold the triangle pieces of dough over the spread to cover it.
- Lightly press on the edges with the rolling pin to seal the spread inside.
- Turn the dough upside down.
- Roll the dough away from you into a long rectangle ~54x18cm, being careful not to let the spread ooze out.
- Then, fold the dough into thirds; fold the bottom layer up to cover the centre third. Fold the top third down to cover the other two layers, forming neat square (these folds are similar to a business letter).
- Lightly press the open edges with a rolling pin to seal it.
- Lift the dough and give it one quarter-turn, completing you first ‘turn’.
- Turn the dough further, so that the round edge that was at the bottom is now on the left.
- Roll out the dough back into a rectangle, and fold again as before, thus completing the second turn. Wrap it in cling film and place in the fridge for fifteen minutes.
- Remove and repeat the rolling, folding and turning process two more times. Then place back in the fridge. Retrieve it at least fifteen minutes before you’re ready to use it!
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200oC/400o
- Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, and repeat the rolling, folding and turning process two more times.
- Cut the pastry into six square pieces.
- Roll out each square into a rectangle, ~1.5cm thick.
- Optional: follow this step if you wish to make a border and curled corner. If not, continue to step 7. This sounds complicated, but is quite easy to do once you know how! Follow these instructions carefully, and remember it’s not completely necessary! Cut a line across the top of the pastry ~1cm away from the edged, along the top and sides. Cut another line from the right corner diagonally all the way down to the bottom left corner. Leave a 0.5cm gap from the left corner. Then, cut another line up the left side of the rectangle to the top left corner, but do not cut all the way through at the top – make sure it is still attached! Lift the right and left sides that you have cut, and pass one under the other, forming a cur in the top right and bottom left corners and a border around the edge of the pastry.
- Place three rectangles on each baking tray and cover with foil. Place coins on top of the foil to prevent the pastry from rising up. Blind bake in the oven for five minutes.
- Carefully remove the coins and foil.
- Place one table spoon of tomato puree onto each rectangle. Spread evenly across with the back of the spoon.
- Scatter the toppings evenly across each triangle. Season with black pepper, and add a few leaves of basil onto each triangle.
- Sprinkle with the grated cheese, giving an even cover over each.
- Place in the oven for twenty minutes until crisp, golden, and the cheese has melted.
- Serve with a lovely crunchy salad, and EAT!