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Savory pumpkin tart, take 2

October 28, 2011

Two years ago I posted about this pumpkin feta and spinach “thing.”  It must have been late when I wrote up the post or something, because quite obviously it’s just a tart. Anyway, it got a mention in Saveur magazine online, in the US. It was (and still is) a really big deal for me getting published in any magazine (even just online), let alone one half way across the world! This time of year it gets a steady stream of views because everyone in the US is crazily looking for an autumn (or “fall”) pumpkin recipe that’s not dessert-related! Being a very fickle foodie, I haven’t made that tart since (I like to try new food things), but last night my cravings met the contents of my fridge/pantry and produced a really wonderful alteration:

Given how rich and sweet it is, I thought I’d play up the sweetness of the pumpkin a bit more this time with balsamic-kissed caramelised onions, thyme and finally, kalamata olives to remind the palate that this is still a savoury tart! A light sprinkling of cheese went on top for a bit of extra protein, but you could easily use chickpeas if you’re trying to keep things light. I went with a super thin crust this time to add a bit more crispiness to an otherwise very soft filling. I also had crispy roast potatoes and some unadorned miner’s lettuce from the garden. Sometimes really fresh greens are enough on their own (sans dressing) to perfectly balance a rich meal, as Alessandra also notes in this post about a beautiful asparagus salad.

I realise pumpkin isn’t the most springy vegetable (to say the least!), but there is still plenty of it kicking around at my local Farmers’ Market. Eating seasonal for me has stopped being about following strict lists and simply reflects what happens to be available from the actual people growing my food nearby. Pumpkin is always fairly affordable here, and I’ve gotten mine almost weekly from this wee semi-organic, mostly spray-free stall for the last few weeks. It’s just crown pumpkin, but it’s amazing – sweet, yielding, not floury and dry (even when roasted), but not too mushy either. Pick pumpkin which is deeply orange, not the stuff that’s borderline yellow – it’ll not be very sweet at all and be watery and not worth the time and effort you put into this.

Lastly, I urge you to make the pastry yourself, especially this one which is really unfussy, and delicious. I suppose you could use a store bought butter puff pastry, but it won’t turn out as crispy/crunchy, and this one has a touch of wholemeal flour for added crispiness, flavour and good-for-you-points.

Savoury pumpkin tart, with balsamic-kissed caramelised onions, kalamata olives & thyme

makes one 9″ tart

Caramelised onions

  • 2 regular sized onion, sliced thinly along the lines
  • drizzle of cooking oil
  • about 1 tsp blond cane, or light brown, sugar
  • about 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (more if you want, cheap stuff is fine here)
  • about 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh
  • about 1 Tbs juice from draining the olives
Start with the onions, as the lower, longer and slower you cook them the better. Place in a lidded frypan or saucepan, drizzle over the oil and sugar. They don’t have to be on one layer but you don’t want them too piled up (ie. more than 5cm/2″). Cover, turn heat to low (the lowest setting you have!), and stir every five minutes, scraping any bits that stick to the pan. The stuck bits should come off and should be very dark brown/almost black, but will come off. If it stays stubbornly stuck in a large black patch you’ve been naughty and turned the heat up too high :P Patience!! Let it do it’s thing while you prep everything else. Once golden, stir through the thyme and balsamic, and continue cooking until deep brown, then turn off heat and let sit uncovered.

Now that that’s going, preheat your oven to 200C (400F).

Crust – feel free to use your go-to recipe, but this one’s really easy and not at all fussy

  • 50g cold butter, cubed
  • about 2/3c plain flour
  • about 1/4c wholemeal flour (pref stoneground) – or sub plain flour if you don’t have any
  • salt if using unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs very cold water to start
Using a fork, pastry cutter or food processor, cut (or pulse) the butter into the flour until there are no bits bigger than a small pea. Dribble in water, stir with fork (or pulse) until you get mostly scraggly bits but no dry flour hangin around on its own. Dribble in a few more drops of water to bring the scraggly bits together, to form a soft dough.
Optional, for super flakiness: Press into a ball, flatten and roll out on a well floured working surface into a rectangular shape. Fold like a letter, then fold the letter in half so you get a square-y shape, then flatten.

Dust with more flour, and roll out until about 11″ and very thin (you may need to keep dusting it with flour so it doesn’t stick to your counter, that’s normal). Slot into your tart pan, and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile prep your other filling ingredients:

Other filling ingredients

  • about 2 1/2 c peeled cubed deep orange pumpkin (no more than 1″ wide) + dash oil
  • just under 1 c pitted kalamata olives
  • handful grated cheese (optional)
Toss pumpkin and oil into a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the pumpkin on one layer with a bit of room for moving. Stir/toss to coat with oil, and bake on the top rack of your oven for 20 minutes, until a knife inserted meets barely any resistance and the edges are slightly browned. Once at this point, set aside.
There might be a wee bit of ho-humming at this stage, where you can clean up the kitchen a bit. Once your tart case is nice and cold, place a sheet of foil or baking paper over, tucking it into the corners nicely, and pour a hearty layer of dried beans, rice or baking weights into the foil. Bake on the centre rack 15 minutes before removing the foil & beans etc (these can be reused), then pop back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes to dry the centre of the pastry out.
By now your onions should be nice and brown and the pumpkin done. Toss pumpkin and olives into the onions, stir and pour into your pastry case. Sprinkle with cheese, reduce oven temp to 190C (375F) and bake for about 30 minutes. I wanted my cheese still a bit gooey but keep baking if you want it golden and crispy.
Remove from tart tin and let cool on a rack for a few minutes before digging into it. I forgot to, but garnish with fresh thyme leaves if you have them on hand :)

Currently Clickalicious

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Foodie Favourite at the moment

Making my own grissini! Alessandra’s book Party Food for Girls reminded me how yummy the home made version can be! I had some tired olive oil dough lying around that was smelling a bit alcohol-y (woops…forgot about it in the back of the fridge), but the grissini were still super tasty! No trace of alcoholy flavour, but the richness from the loooong fermentation was still there. You can make them really grainy and healthy but they still taste crunchy and great. Wonderful for picnic season since you don’t have to bring a knife to cut a loaf open, plus there is something nice about their dip-friendly shape :)  Obviously they bake really quickly too. As Alessandra notes in her book you can bake them twice if you want them to stay crunchy.

EDIT: So excited to be featured on Freshly Pressed (the wordpress home page when wordpress users log in)! Thank you to Erica & the team at WordPress for the honour :D My terror upon checking my inbox this morning quickly turned into excitement! Have also found some awesome blogs just by browsing through all the lovely likers and commenters. Win win!

67 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2011 5:17 am

    We state siders really do say autumn too! Anyway, great recipe for fall, ha!

  2. October 28, 2011 6:37 am

    This looks beautiful. Congrats on the Saveur coverage!

  3. October 28, 2011 6:47 am

    Looks delicious :) Last night I made the regular sweet pumpkin pie to kick off the holiday season here in the US. I also made a ham asparagus pot pie for dinner (because not everyone in my house will eat pumpkin pie for dinner – who knew!) I’m also a make-it-once type of cook and like to make new dishes as much as possible.

    Congrats on being published again on Freshly Pressed, however Saveur is a much bigger deal I say!

  4. October 28, 2011 6:50 am

    I’ve been looking for something different to do with pumpkin this year, this might be the perfect recipe to try! Thanks for sharing!

  5. October 28, 2011 6:53 am

    Woo hoo, you’re Freshly Pressed. Very cool!

  6. October 28, 2011 6:56 am

    This looks so delicious!

  7. October 28, 2011 7:12 am

    Anything with caramelized onions and pumpkin = AWESOME in my book — thank you for the recipe!

  8. October 28, 2011 7:31 am

    I’ll eat pretty much anything with pumpkin, but this looks especially amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One

  9. October 28, 2011 7:38 am

    Really awesome!! I will definitive try it soon.. :-D

  10. October 28, 2011 8:24 am

    Wow, beautiful photographs and recipe!

  11. samanthahamade permalink
    October 28, 2011 8:43 am

    yum! looks so good!

  12. October 28, 2011 8:57 am

    I love sweet potatoes and pumpkins – but they’re so often highlighted for sweet desserts. This looks like a great meal! I’m excited to try it. -abi

  13. October 28, 2011 9:08 am

    This looks absolutely divine! Thanks so much for the post!

  14. October 28, 2011 9:52 am

    Oooh… that DOES look yummy!

  15. October 28, 2011 9:55 am

    Love it!! Will cook it!!

  16. October 28, 2011 10:10 am

    Sounds delicious! I recently made my own pumpkin pulp for the first time, not realizing exactly how much I would end up with. I’ve made more muffins and soups than I thought possible. And just when I thought I was ready for a long break from the orange stuff, along comes your amazing tart. Looking forward to trying it!

  17. October 28, 2011 10:17 am

    Pumpkins are my all time favorite. This dish looks delicious
    thanks for Sharing.

  18. October 28, 2011 11:08 am

    I love the take on something different to do with pumpkin! looking forward to making it. Thanks for sharing it again.

  19. October 28, 2011 12:15 pm

    i really have to buy a pumpkin NOW!!!

  20. tinalynne permalink
    October 28, 2011 12:26 pm

    This looks so good! I’ve been looking around for some new and creative pumpkin recipes for autumn, and this one has some of my favorite ingredients! Sean will go crazy for the kalamata olives, too! :) Thanks for the great recipe!

  21. Amanda permalink
    October 28, 2011 12:55 pm

    This looks so stinkin’ tasty! If it wasn’t for the fact that I am on a cleanse then I’d for sure be making this over the weekend!

    Beautiful blog!


  22. aparnanairphotography permalink
    October 28, 2011 1:07 pm

    Beautiful pictures and a fabulous recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  23. October 28, 2011 1:10 pm

    Interesting pumpkin with olives. Who would have thought?

    I’m more familiar….with my mother’s stir fried/sauteed (savoury) butternut squash. With onions, garlic and ginger root. A jot of soy sauce at beginning of cooking squash, actually accentuates the natural sweetness of squash which I’m happy to carry on the tradition.

    So maybe that’s what olives do for pumpkin? Good to have a recipe to get people thinking of possibilities.

  24. October 28, 2011 1:11 pm

    Congrats on getting ‘pressed’ in/on Saveur magazine! Very cool. (And well-deserved.)

  25. October 28, 2011 1:57 pm

    What a fabulous and wholesome pumpkin recipe and beautiful photos.

    I’m also partial to the love of spoons. ;)

  26. October 28, 2011 2:39 pm

    This looks amazing! I love pumpkin and am always looking for more ways to use it in regular foods, especially because it is so nutritious. Can’t wait to try this!

  27. October 28, 2011 2:42 pm

    That looks great! Pumpkin is basically a squash so it can be utilized in a lot of ways other than pie.

  28. October 28, 2011 2:48 pm

    This sounds so good. I love kalamatas and all orange vegetables. Pumpkins are in season in California, as are all the winter squashes, and you don’t have to ask me twice for me to make anything resembling a tart, quiche or pie. Nice to find you through Freshly Pressed. — Sharyn

  29. October 28, 2011 4:48 pm

    Had something like that at the in-laws last weekend … It was fantastic, but yours sounds even better ;), well … maybe minus the onions

  30. October 28, 2011 5:12 pm

    it’s nearly midnight, and all i can think about is shoveling spoon fulls of pumpkin tart into my mouth. man! i don’t know if i should thank you for the recipe or complain about my current drooling situation :)

  31. October 28, 2011 6:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing the recipe! The pictures are superb and the dish looks amazing! I’m usually a little hesitant to eat pumpkin, but this dish is an enticement waiting to happen! Great job!

    If it is okay with you, I would like to mention my own blog that I just started and share the link with your readers. It’s called Logic Meets Reason and it would be great if you and your readers could comment, subscribe, and take a look at the pieces I have posted! Here is the link:

  32. October 28, 2011 7:11 pm


  33. October 28, 2011 7:56 pm

    It looks scrumptious

  34. October 28, 2011 8:17 pm

    Savory pumpkin tart, dishes are very tempting and delicious.

  35. October 28, 2011 9:19 pm

    Yummy yummy….I’m gonna let my wife see this post now so she can make this soon…:D

  36. akismet-44e9421da64a15ac387c058463fd97f5 permalink
    October 28, 2011 10:46 pm

    Sounds delicious…though wondering if I could replace the olives with something else?

  37. October 28, 2011 11:18 pm

    This looks so good – With all the pumpkins in my house its defo something I am gonna try – thanks for sharing!

  38. October 28, 2011 11:50 pm

    Congrats on getting published!!!!!! That is fantastic! And the recipe sounds amazing! Love those late night recipe ideas!

  39. goldcoastlocal permalink
    October 29, 2011 1:31 am

    Pumpkins are a fantastic vegetable. For me here in Australia we always tend to eat them as savoury. Though I have made a couple of sweet pumpkin pies, to us it seemed very unusual.

    Thats the amazing thing about food and regions we all do such different things and get an amazing variety. I think your recipe looks absolutely delicious.

    congratulations on being on freshly pressed your blog is amazing.

  40. October 29, 2011 2:49 am

    Lovely (and yes, we say autumn, too–I think “fall” became popular because it’s one syllable; lazy people!).

  41. October 29, 2011 3:00 am

    Looks delicious! You can’t beat a good tarte!

  42. Jessica! permalink
    October 29, 2011 3:09 am

    I can’t wait to try and make this myself. Amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  43. October 29, 2011 3:43 am

    This looks freaking delicious. I love savory pumpkin recipes! I recently made a savory pumpkin pizza recipe, with gruyere and walnuts. It was soooo tasty. If you ever consider making one, the recipe is on

    Thanks again for posting!

  44. candicepeak permalink
    October 29, 2011 4:05 am

    Looks unbelievable. Great pictures!

  45. October 29, 2011 4:06 am

    I love how you style the food! I must try this soon! :D

  46. October 29, 2011 4:20 am

    Great Ideas…keep it up!

  47. October 29, 2011 4:47 am

    Great photos I should try to make this tart. Really looks delicious :) Many thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  48. October 29, 2011 5:24 am


  49. October 29, 2011 5:47 am

    Can’t wait to try the recipe! Looks and sound fantastic!

  50. October 29, 2011 6:15 am

    Amazing! I can’t wait to try it myself!!

  51. October 29, 2011 6:55 am

    This would be easy to do vegan. Will have to give this a try, especially come holiday-time. I also totally agree with you about eating natural on any budget…and I think your pictures look really great…warm, comforting, professional.

  52. October 29, 2011 6:58 am

    That looks completely amazing! Great post =D

  53. October 29, 2011 7:46 am

    Thank you for the double mention :-). I am glad that you like the grissini, and I think that the tarts looks wonderful, if there is still pumpkin around lets have it, and you will be in line with all the Northern Hemisphere blogs that are doing pumpkin and Fall now :-).

    Have a good weekend

  54. October 30, 2011 6:33 pm

    This looks great! I’ve been wanting to make a tart too, your pumpkin version looks absolutely smashing. Congrats on your Saveur feature too btw :)

  55. October 30, 2011 7:41 pm

    This looks amazing! I’m absolutely itching to try it – this may just be the one meat-free recipe the boyfriend will love! Your photos are beautiful too – it’s little wonder I’m salivating like this with images like these!

  56. October 31, 2011 5:14 am

    Looks delicious!

  57. November 1, 2011 1:40 pm

    Looks deelish, I love pumpkin! ^.^~

  58. November 3, 2011 11:25 am

    gosh i haven’t been here for too long, i absolutely LOVE the look of this tart! pumpkin is my favourite ingredient this season, can;t get enough of it (:

  59. November 4, 2011 3:15 am

    This is a brilliant recipe! A good change after seeing so many sweet tarts around:)

  60. CheyenneCharlie permalink
    February 18, 2012 12:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Hungry for Fresh Local Organic Safe Sustainable .

  61. February 19, 2013 11:52 pm

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on
    each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it!


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