Sunday 21 November 2010

WHB Cauliflower Tart

At my nieces’ party last weekend I was telling some of the kids that Sylvia loves vegetables. They all made a face when I said she loves broccoli. An eight year old told me that she only eats three vegetables: potato, corn and carrot – and she only likes carrot when crunchy (or maybe when it wasn’t crunchy). It sounded quite limited. I know that kids can go through phases when they reject foods they previously loved so I am relieved to see Sylvia can still enjoy new vegetables.

Sylvia generally eats vegetables and beans or tofu or cheese for dinner. I keep offering her new foods that we are eating but she also is curious about what is on our plate. When I made Deb’s Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart last week, I was surprised how much Sylvia loved the roasted cauliflower. She wouldn’t eat the tart but I am just glad she eats vegetables. So a few days later I steamed some cauliflower and she couldn’t get enough of it.

She is also doing well with seasonal foods. It is the time of year when I eat a lot more tomato, cucumber and asparagus. Sylvia is also enjoying these vegetables. And tonight when I had some nectarine in a fruit salad, she was eager to gulp that down too. Big sigh of relief!

But it is not just Deb I must thank for the cauliflower recipe. I saw her pie and with all the marscapone cheese and truffle oil, it seemed a bit beyond me. Then I saw Carla make the same pie with a simpler vegan version. I actually felt that the vegan version was lighter and set out to make mine with less dairy. However I just couldn’t find the soft tofu and so I settled for cream cheese. I have seen versions with cottage cheese or ricotta which might be a better substitute.

I used my biggest pie dish which helped the filling cook but the puff pastry I used was a bit undercooked. The preference would be to try the home made pastry that Deb used but the reality that finding the energy for that is probably a bit much at the moment. I probably would bake the pie a bit longer with puff pastry next time.

Pastry woes aside, the tart was like a very cheesy quiche. In a very good albeit rich way! It is not the first time I have cooked cauliflower in a tart and I will definitely be doing it again, Despite its lack of colour, cauliflower is full of flavour. I love a large tart that means I come home to a leftover piece of pie packed with vegies and topped with lots of cheese.

I am sending this tart to Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything for Weekend Herb Blogging (#260) which turns 5 years old this week. Congratulations to both Kalyn (who founded the event) and Haalo (who has taken over the reigns with such aplomb) for 260 weeks of bringing bloggers together over plant-based recipes.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time one year ago: Pizza for the Impatient
This time two years ago: Chocolate Cake, Creative Control and Climate Change
This time three years ago: Choc Chip Cookies at the Zoo

Cauliflower and Onion Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2007 via Smitten Kitchen and Carla

Serves 6-8

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 refrigerated pie crust or a homemade tart shell (I used puff pastry)
1 onion, thinly sliced
250g cream cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
lots of freshly ground pepper
good shake of smoked paprika
handful of parsley, chopped
70g grated Gruyère cheese
few tablespoons of mozzarella cheese

Roast cauliflower with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt in over for about 30 minutes at 425 F (about 210 C) or until soft and starting to brown at the edges. Cool cauliflower and chop roughly.

Line greased pie tin with pastry. If appropriate, blind bake for about 20 minutes. NB I used puff pastry and didn’t pre-cook it. It didn’t quite cook as much on the bottom as I would have liked but was perfectly cooked at the sides. Maybe it was because my pie tin is ceramic rather than metal. Deb gave a recipe for a home made crust she recommended that seems a good idea if you have the time.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frypan over medium heat. Slowly fry onion in oil until golden brown and soft. Deb suggests 30-40 minutes. I suspect I took even longer because I was giving Sylvia dinner as I was preparing it and lost track of the time. Season onion.

Lightly whisk softened cream cheese, eggs, milk, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, smoked paprika, parsley, and two thirds of cheese. Spread onion over pastry base. Distribute cauliflower over onion and then pour cream cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle with remaining gruyere cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 C (350 F) or until top is golden brown and filling is firm to touch. (Maybe try a bit longer if you use puff pastry.) Sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

On the Stereo:
Ballads: Moody Blues


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe. It's absolutely screaming "Make me! Make me!" Now, we can't have angry shouting recipes, can we?

    My local Asian market and quite a few grocery stores carry soft tofu. But fat-free cream cheese is doable for my waistline.

    Once again Johanna, you've given me another "keeper" recipe. Don't you stop! Don't you slow down. :)

  2. whoa that looks unreal... my tummy just grumbled in agreement!

  3. oooh I must try this! I am a big fan of baking cauli into dishes :)

  4. Good to hear that Sylvia likes her veggies. We were very fussy children and only ate potatoes and tomato (which is a fruit anyhow). This pie sounds delicious! That is the bummer with pies where the crust isn't pre-baked - you never know if the bottom will be soggy or not.

  5. That looks lovely, Johanna! I am thinking even toss the crust out and make a crutless version as well :)

  6. Once again, Sylvia and I are proving to have the best taste in the world ;) Hurrah for roasted cauliflower!

    P.S. Shall endeavour to reply to your email soon! Right now I'm thinking that it would be lovely to catch up with you at the markets, if we can figure it out :)

  7. I am loving roast cauliflower and onion at the moment. Your tart looks lovely - nice and golden! One thing I am not good at is creating pretty food...

  8. I hope my children turn out to be as adventurous eaters as yours is! This tart sounds glorious!

  9. Delighted to read that Sylvia is enjoying cauli. As a child I did not like eating this veg. but over the years have found ways that I enjoy it, such as roasting or in a pie crust (or puff pastry). And guess what, you've ticked both boxes with this recipe.

  10. I like the combination of ingredients. Like Anh, I'd try a crustless version.

  11. Beautiful.

    Catching up (at last) on a lot of your recent entries and really enjoying what I'm seeing, darls. (My cooking mojo has upped and left...great to see so many goodies happening in your kitchen)

    I read somewhere recently that little people actually like to eat raw veg, particularly when encoraged to in a gentle way (as Sylvia would obviously be) because the flavours are clear, simple and unadulterated.

    Thinking puff pastry would be revelatory in that there pie!

  12. That looks really good Johanna! And I'm not surprised that Sylvia likes vegetables :)

  13. This cauliflower tart sounds great. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, so I'll definitely have to try the vegan version of this!

  14. Thanks Chucky - you can use a bit of parmesan which goes much further than gruyere if you want to reduce the cheese - hope you enjoy

    Thanks Carla - and big thanks to Carla's tummy :-)

    Thanks Lisa - this is the dish to remind me I must bake cauli in dishes more (if only it wasn't so hot at the moment)

    Thanks Cakelaw - yes I find it hard to judge the pie bottom until it is served - but I wonder if a tin tart dish might cook it a bit more than a ceramic one - and glad to see you got over your vegetable aversion :-)

    Thanks Anh - I love the idea of crustless - that would make it gluten free quite easily too!

    Thanks Hannah - yes you and Sylvia do have excellent taste in cauliflower - but I just hope you aren't so keen on eating food that you have thrown on the floor :-) - would love to see you at the market if you can fit it in

    Thanks Lisa - cheese always helps with a pretty golden brown crust - although I think some paprika and/or seeds can always pretty up the top of a baked dish too

    Thanks Joanne - oh how lovely to hear sylvia described as adventurous - it doesn't always feel so but at least she tries some vegies - I really value her trying food even if she doesn't like it

    Thanks Mangocheeks - you have some great cauliflower recipes for someone who didn't always love it - I always loved it because we mostly ate it smothered in cheesy sauce when a child - who could resist!

    Thanks Simona - I agree the ingredients are robust enough to cope without the crust

    Thanks Lucy - one of my nieces loved plain vegies and I think kids do like plain flavours - I know I didn't eat half the things Sylvia does when I was a kid - it still amazes me to see her eat asparagus and cucumber because I hated them - sorry to hear your cooking mojo has gone awol - hope it is just on a short break!

    Thanks Lorraine - I do like to think that all the vegies we eat encourage sylvia

    Thanks Jodye - I hope you enjoy the vegan version - after all it is the cauliflower that is the star of the this tart!

  15. That looks really good Johanna, I will definitely give this one a go. As to the puff pastry, what I have started doing is puting it in the oven for 10-15 minutes first and then patting it down slightly before adding the ingredients, it gives a crisper base.

  16. Your pie looks delicious. Cauliflower is such an underrated vegetable and I'm guilty myself of under appreciation and simply steaming it.
    I have been enjoying it raw of late and can't seem to get enough of it in picalilli.

  17. I made this tart, as posted by Deb, and while I thought it tasted good, it wasn't amazing and I'm not sure it was worth all the work. The best thing though was my discovery of how incredibly delicious roasted cauliflower is!! I could eat a big bowl full of just that.


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)