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Savory Tomato Pesto Tart

Ready to eat tomato tart

There are some dishes that come together effortlessly and are like a party of flavors in your mouth. Tomato and pesto is  one such combination. Quality ingredients shine and provide easy snack, lunch or appetizer.

Tomato Tart

I found some cherry tomatoes at our local supermarket. They were sweet and fresh and paired with pesto made for a savory side to soft scrambled eggs. They made the breakfast that much more special.

If you are planning a summer brunch with friends, this gotta feature on your menu. Paired with a salad and rose there is nothing more simple and more fitting ode to summer than this.

Tomato tart 2

Savory Tomato Pesto Recipe

  • 1 cup homemade pastry or store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon pesto
  • Salt to taste
  • Few cranks of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon mint leaves roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F

2. Roll out the dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork to prevent puffing leaving about an inch edge around the perimeter untouched.

3. Blind bake this pastry dough for about 6 – 8 minutes till golden brown. I weighed this down with an oven safe bowl with some beans to keep the center unpuffed.

4. Remove from oven and then layer the mustard and pesto over the base. Leave the edges as is.

5. Arrange the tomatoes in rows or circles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Put it back in the oven and bake on middle shelf for about 12 minutes or so till the tomatoes are cooked at the edges and pastry is brown at the edges.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

Cut and serve warm.

Mini Plum Tart

Plum tart2

Plums are in season here in India. Smaller than their US counterparts, these are part sweet and part tart. I had pastry dough on hand and after eating many plums as is I wanted to make something else.

A simple fruit tart is what I made. A good pastry dough or puff pastry sheets, fresh fruits and sugar is all that is needed. Its one thing that can be pulled together effortlessly and will impress your guests. For there is nothing like baking a cake or dessert for your family to say that you care!

fresh plums

We had this for breakfast – just because it was ready by then. But it pairs well with ice-cream for a light dessert post a heavy dinner.

The recipe works well with any fruit – pear, apples, nectarine, peaches and even berries. For juicy fruits make sure you macerate them with a little sugar and salt to release the juices. Lift the fruit from the juice and then use those slices on your tart. This will prevent the tart from becoming soggy.

The juice can be reduced and served as syrup or drizzled lightly over the tart before and after cooking so that it still will be juicy but not soupy.

The crusty base with sweet and tart plums as topping pair beautifully in this summer classic dish. I prefer this to be on tart side and hence have used very little sugar. Feel free to play around to suit your taste. I think the plums would play well with balsamic reduction and I am going to give that a try next!

Plum tart

Mini Plum Tart Recipe

  • 1 cup homemade pastry or store-bought puff pastry
  • 8 – 10 fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ( divided) ( more if your fruit is tart and how sweet you like your dessert)
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 190 C or 350 F

Place the plum slices with a tablespoon of sugar and salt in a bowl to macerate. This will help it release excess juice which otherwise turn the pie into a soggy mess.

2. Roll out the dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork to prevent puffing leaving about an inch edge around the perimeter untouched.

3. Blind bake this pastry dough for about 6 – 8 minutes till golden brown. I weighed this down with an oven safe bowl with some beans to keep the center un-puffed.

4. Layer the plum slices over the pastry. Drizzle some of the juice over the tart.

Sprinkle remaining sugar over the plum slices/

5. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes till the tart is deep golden brown at the edges and the fruit looks cooked.

Remove from the oven, and let cool.

Slice and serve warm or cold with fresh cream, ice-cream or simply as is.

Ice Apples Orangeade

Ice Apples Tadgola

Ice apples or tadgola or Munjul are in season! And most people don’t know about it.

This is a very low key Indian fruit which is in season in May and comes from the palm trees. A bit like tender coconut, it is full of minerals and is really refreshing on a hot day. Unfortunately not many people know about it – like the “jaam“, “ber” and “jamun“. Every summer my cousins used to visit me from Nagpur. They would come with baskets of oranges. They would spend summer with us and we all used to go to swimming class in the mornings. After the class, mom used to buy tadgola ( as ice apples are called in Marathi) for all of us. We used to stand under the hot sun waiting for the peeled and cored fruit.  We relished the little squirt of water from the plump fruit and then dig into its meat. Yum! Sometimes we used to all have tender coconut.

Ice apples whole fruit

Street side ice apples seller

Recently, I found a street side vendor who was selling these. We stopped the car and asked him to give us a dozen ice apples. The vendor cored out the plump chunks of ice apples from the whole palm fruit and then gave us a dozen. We ate most as is, but I wondered what else could I use them for? As they are very similar to a lychee in taste, I considered making a martini, or a mousse or a pudding. But then as we had tender coconut and oranges on hand, I made a summer drink out of them. Freshly squeezed oranges, coconut water and chopped up iced apples made a colorful summer special.

Ice apples are available at many places across Mumbai and Hyderabad. They are sold by small street side vendors. In Hyderabad they are usually sold in the morning in little carts covered with leaves. If you love local seasonal fruits then it doesn’t get any better than this. There are many more summer fruits vying for our attention now that we had our fill of mangoes – jamun, jackfruit …yipee!

photo

But back to this orangeade, it was like recreating summer magic in a drink. Cousins, swim lessons, fights, gossip. Give  it a try with fresh or drained canned lychees. I am sure it will be a hit and add tropical flair to your summer days!

Ice Apples Orangeade

Serves 2

  • 3 ice apples chopped ( about 6 – 8 fresh lychees)
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Water from 1 tender coconut
  • 1 shot orange vodka (optional)

1.  In a shaker, add ice cubes, and all the ingredients. Shake, shake, shake.

2. Pour in two glasses. Chill. Serve cold.

Enjoy!

Ambe Dal – Split Black Chickpeas and Raw Mango Salad

Ambe dal

On hot summer weekends there is less incentive to cook. But there is greater craving to eat something unique and cooling. Maharashtrian style Ambe dal made up of soaked black chickpeas dal and raw mango is one such salad that comes together quickly. Made with seasonal ingredients it packs protein and fiber.

Chickpea being ground

Raw mangoes add sourness to the salad while the chilies add heat. Paired with raw mango cooler it is a perfect snack. Mom used to make this and refrigerate this for after school snacking. Tangy and refreshing this was a filling snack.

Try it this spring or summer while raw mangoes are still in season!

Ambe dal dressing

Ambe Dal Recipe

  • 1 cup split black chickpeas ( channa dal )
  • 1/2 cup grated raw mango
  • 2 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander
  • 1-2 chilies finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing or asafoetida

To Garnish

  • Finely chopped coriander
  • Freshly grated coconut

1.Soak dal in  2-3  times water overnight or at least for 4- 5 hours. The dal will double in volume.

2. Drain the dal and coarsely grind it.

3. Mix with grated mango, coriander ,chilies and salt.

4. Heat oil in a small pan. Add hing and mustard seeds till they sizzle. Add this oil to the dal mix.  Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings (mainly salt, coriander, raw mango). Refrigerate for an hour or so.

Garnish with coriander or grated coconut. Serve cold with raw mango cooler or any mango drink.

Roasted Pineapple and Raw Mango Cooler

Aam pora sorbot

Or Roasted pineapple and Raw mango Sarbat as we could call it in India. I was introduced to this concoction at Aheli where I had dinner with IIM C recruitment team. A sip of it and it seemed like spring – early summer brought to us in a glass. Light tangy notes of roasted raw mango, hint of cumin and black salt and smoky sweetness of jaggery.

This drink brought out our inner culinary expertise. We dissected its ingredients and discussed how it is different from Aam panhaa which is made from steamed raw mangoes v/s this being made from roasted raw mangoes. This went on for sometime till the meal was served. Good times!

Last weekend, I bought raw mangoes as they are in season. Varun took a fancy to the plume and knobby body of a whole pineapple and in it went into the shopping cart. Once home, as I roasted the raw mangoes, I remembered grilled pineapple and ice-cream that most folks serve at their outdoor grill parties. I thought grilled pineapple would go perfectly in this Sarbat. And it did. Once the rest of spices were added to grilled pineapple and mango pulp, and pressed through the sieve we had a thick concoction that was light and refreshing.

Serve it as is with iced water or soda, or spiked with rum or any other liquor you want, it’s a crowd pleaser. Bottled up the concoction lasts in the fridge for weeks for a sip here or there, after work, on the weekend or at any time you need a little pick me up.

Roasted Pineapple and Raw Mango Cooler

  • 2 medium raw mangoes
  • 1/2 a ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup jaggery
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchur powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  1. Roast the raw mangoes on a low flame one at a time till they are soft and charred. Let cool. Peel and discard the skin and the seed. Smash the pulp with a fork.
  2. Grill the pineapple pieces till soft and add it to the mango pulp.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the pulp, with jaggery, sugar and rest of the spices till cooked through for a few minutes. Mix well.
  4. Pass the pulp through a sieve to remove any fibers or tough pieces.

Spike, garnish and serve or bottle up in an airtight container to enjoy later. Cheers!

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