I’ve recently become obsessed with pies and tarts. Is it because I own both a pie tin and a tart pan and I feel like I should use them? Is it because I like to eat food encased in pastry (a h3 possibility)?
Whatever my reasons, I’ve been particularly keen on making nice vegan tarts – a tough order when most pastry shells are based on butter. But practice makes perfect, right? So I’d like to report on my latest experiment in creating this vegan mushroom and leek tofu tart with millet crust.
This was my most successful tart yet (Tim’s words, not mine) and we ate it all up in a day. I think that means it was a success, though admittedly, it still needs some work.
What I liked about this tart:
- The creamy leeks
- The roasted tomato on top
- The simplicity of the herbs and spices in the filling (only thyme, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice)
- The texture of the filling – it held it’s shape nicely without being too dry
- The crispy edges of the millet crust
What I didn’t like:
- There was little contrast between crust and filling – I couldn’t really tell the crust was there unless I was eating the edge
- Only one tomato – the tomato really shined in this dish but the sporadic slices left me wanting more
I won’t post a precise recipe, because it still needs some work, but I will describe my process for making it.
I wanted a wholesome crust with some bite and texture. Mark Bittman has a recipe for a Pinto Bean Tart with Millet Crust in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The crust is dead easy to make, and the technique is easily adaptable to other grains like polenta and quinoa:
Heat up 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (like grapeseed or corn) on medium heat. Add the millet and, stirring constantly, toast until it is golden and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add one cup of water and a good pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until its cooked.
Bittman says it takes 20-30 minutes to cook the millet, but it took mine quite a bit longer. You really want the millet to break apart so you end up with a porridge-like consistency. Its okay to have a few whole grains in there, but again, it should be more like oatmeal than rice.
There wasn’t quite enough of the crust to fill my tart pan, so I added a tablespoon of polenta and a splash of water to the mix. Finally, I let it cool a bit then pressed it into an oiled tart tin to form a crust.
Overall, it’s a nice crust, and probably better suited for a bean tart than a tofu tart. I also think it could benefit from being baked on its own for a while before adding the filling. An experiment for next time!
The inspiration for this was the growing pile of leeks in our fridge (courtesy of the organic veg box) along with some mushrooms that desperately needed to be used and an open bottle of white wine. I also took some inspiration from a few quiche recipes I found on the interwebs.
Here’s a summary of its parts:
3 Tbsp olive oil (give or take)
3 leeks, thinly sliced
5 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp dry white wine
8oz firm tofu
2 Tbsp soy milk
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 tomato, sliced thinly
I heated the olive oil in a pan on medium heat then added the leeks and sauteed these for about 10 minutes until they were really soft. Then I added the mushrooms and cranked up the heat to max and cooked until the leeks started to caramelize. Then I added the white wine and cooked until it evaporated.
The tofu, soy milk, corn starch and lemon juice went into the food processor. I whizzed this up for a while, stopping a few times to scrape the sides of the food processes or adding a touch more soy milk until I achieved a consistency much like thick yogurt. I added this to the leek and mushrooms along with some thyme, salt and pepper. I checked the flavor and it seemed nice enough. Okay, it was delicious… I couldn’t stop taking nibbles of the irresistibly creamy mushroom and leek.
I took this mixture and pressed it into the tart shell, then added the sliced tomato on top. Finally, I brushed a little olive oil on the tomatoes and sprinkled them with salt, pepper and thyme.
I baked the tart for about 30 minutes at 350 F / 180 C. This is what it looked like when it came out:
What I’ll do next time
- Either use polenta as the base or give this Easy Olive Oil Tart Crust a try from Chocolate & Zucchini
- Cover the top entirely in tomato slices
- Add more salt to the filling
- Experiment with different herbs and spices in the filling
Inspiration for future tarts
This tart has definitely reinvigorated my pursuit of amazing vegan tart and pie recipes. A few projects I’ve got in mind:
- Spinach and mushroom tart
- A vegan version of my mom’s sweet potato quiche
- Vegan pumpkin pie (though it’s hard to compete with my family’s traditional pumpkin pie recipe)
- Some kind of sweet tart involving custard and fruit
- More pies using this perfect oil pastry. I’ve used this for apple pie and I can vouch for its flaky goodness.