Before Cheesecake…

Dairy Free, Savory pies and quiches, Tips and Tricks, vegetarian, Yeast bread

I am trying to get quite a lot in here before Wednesday’s holiday, which is all about cheese. Well, it’s actually about Revelation, but we eat cheese while feeling that something is being revealed. For more on Shavuot you can check out Jeff’s blog here. For more on food, stick with me.

Before I get swept up in the cheesecake baking, I have this Roasted Red Pepper and Kalamata Tart to share with you all, which is actually dairy free and nearly vegan (with the exception of one egg in the yeasted dough). The addition of caramelized red onions gives it depth of flavor and a nice consistency. I suggest making it in stages; roasting your peppers a day ahead, and maybe chopping and caramelizing your onions a day or two ahead as well. The more you can simply assemble — rather than cook and prepapre — on baking day, the more you can enjoy sitting down to eat (i.e. not exhausted)!

Roasted Red Pepper and Kalamata Tart with Yeasted Crust, adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

For the Dough:

2 Tbs active dry yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup warm water

3 Tbs olive oil

1 egg lightly beaten

3/8 tsp salt

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a medium bowl and let stand until bubbly ~ 10 minutes. Add the oil, egg, and salt, then stir in flour (not all at once, you may not need all of it). When the dough is too stiff to work with a spoon, turn it onto the counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Add more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking. Set dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk — 45 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling.

Tart Filling:

2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced

3 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for the crust

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (I used 4)

3 large red bell peppers

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/8 tsp saffron threads

1/4 tsp anise seeds

salt and pepper

2 Tbs chopped basil

8 kalamata olives halved and pitted

Roast the red peppers whole, under a broiler, rotating every couple of minute until they are evenly mottled. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate or cutting board to let the skins steam off ~ 15 minutes. Peel and seed the the peppers and finely chop up all but 2/3 or one pepper. Cut the reserved 2/3 pepper into thin strips.

Cook the onions in the oil over medium heat until they are soft, about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, turn down the heat to low and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes more. Do not burn. While the are cooking, peel, seed, and finely chop the tomatoes (to peel tomatoes, cut an X shape in the bottom of each tomato, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for a minute or two, then pour out the hot water and cover them in cool water. Drain and peel). Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes and diced peppers to the onions, crumble the saffron threads and anise seeds into the mixture, and season with 1/2 tsp salt and a little pepper. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, especially towards the end. The mixture should be quite thick. Taste for salt and stir in the basil leaves.

Preheat the oven to 400°F/210°C. Roll out the dough and drape it over a 10 inch tart pan. There will be plenty of overhang.

Trim it and crimp the dough around the rim. Add the filling. Take the reserved, narrow strips of pepper and use the to make a lattice design over the top (I didn’t have quite enough pepper to do this — any design you make will be lovely). Place the olives in the spaces formed by the peppers.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and brush the rim of the crust with olive oil. Unmold the tart onto a platter and serve.