Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat and sub-species of common wheat. Spelt is by nature a whole-food. Unlike wheat, where vital nutritional bran and germ are usually removed during milling. It makes great pastry.
- You will need a loose bottomed flan dish greased and lined on the base with grease proof paper, and some blind baking beans.
- For the pastry:
- 250g Spelt flour
- 85g Chilled butter cut into cubes
- 6 or so Tbsp iced water
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Egg
- For the filling:
- 250g Cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbls Olive Oil
- Good handful of chopped Basil
- 3 Eggs
- Good pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper
- 150g Finely grated Parmesan (for vegetarians use a strong cheddar)
- 50g Strong cheddar grated
- Double cream
To make the pastry I use a food blender like a Magimix on the blade setting. A good tip when using Spelt Flour is to have everything as cold as possible. Place the mixing bowl, or the blender bowl and blade that you are using in the freezer for 20 mins before hand. It is also worth putting your flour into the fridge too so that everything is as cold as it can be.
When you are ready to make the pastry, sieve the flour into the mixing bowl with the salt and then place in the blender with the butter. Pulse the blender until you have a breadcrumb mix and slowly add the water spoon by spoon until it sticks together. At this point, making sure your hands are as cool as possible for handling the pastry (immersing them in icy cold water does the trick) lift the pastry mixture out onto a floured worktop, knead a few times, wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge for around 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut your tomatoes in half and pop them on a baking tray. Cover them in the olive oil and a good shake of salt and pepper and pop them into the oven on a 180°C, for 15 mins to roast.
Once the pastry is ready, roll it out on a spelt floured surface and shape it into the flan dish, leave the sides a little high to allow for shrinkage. Fork the base and pop some tin foil inside it before pouring in the blind baking beans. Cook in the oven on a 180°C for 8 minutes. Once that is done take it out, empty off the beans, whisk the egg and brush the egg mixture over the pastry base and sides with a pastry brush to coat and seal the pastry. Pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes, before taking it out and putting to one side.
Crack the eggs for the filling into a measuring jug, add the nutmeg, double cream (or a plant milk if you don't want to use cream) and a good pinch of salt and pepper and whisk with a small balloon whisk.
Sprinkle about 150g of the mixed cheeses into the pastry base, place the roasted tomatoes into the case and sprinkle the basil over the top. Pour over the egg mixture, place the remaining cheese mix on the top and and pop into the oven on a 180°C for 25-30 minutes until it is set and golden brown on top.
Take it out and leave to cool, serve with a lovely fresh salad.