Eating Lightly: Savory Gluten-Free Roasted Red Pepper Tart

Today is August 8th, which means that depending upon whether we go by the Anglo-IMG_4347Saxon tradition or the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we are either in the midst of (July 15-September 5th), or the end of (July 3- August 11), the heliacal rising of Sirius, the dog star, in the constellation Canis Major: the dog days of summer. Regardless of whose calendar we adhere to, modern weather pattern knowledge notwithstanding, we’ve entered the hottest, most uncomfortable part of the year. Down here in South Texas, the weather is downright hostile. The heat and humidity assault people as soon as they leave the refuge of their air conditioned homes, causing labored breathing, hair to frizz or fall flat, sweat to gush from every pore, and clothes to stick to skin. Just walking through the parking lot from the car into the grocery store becomes overly laborious in such harsh summer conditions. The August heat saps one’s motivation to do much of anything, including spending much time in over a hot oven cooking a large meal. Fortunately, the heat also discourages one’s appetite for large, heavy meals. A simple meal that requires minimal preparation can, however, be both flavorful and elegant. This deglutenized roasted pepper tart recipe from Chowhound is just such a recipe.

Despite the butter in the tart crust and the double cheese filling, this tart is surprisingly light. Served with a  simple salad made with greens (my favs are Organic Girl pea sprout blend and Organic Girl mâche rosettes) and a few cherry tomatoes drizzled with a little balsamic vinaigrette, it makes the perfect elegantly savory simple dinner on a hot summer night.

Recipe Notes:

-This recipe requires that you roast two red bell peppers, but as you can see if you view the original recipe, store-bought roasted red peppers can be substituted. During the summer months, using the store-bought option means less heat from the oven in the kitchen. Roasting and skinning the red peppers is not difficult, though.
-I use BelGioioso ricotta cheese for this and all other recipes in which I use ricotta cheese. The ingredients listed are pasteurized whey, milk, vinegar, and salt. No preservatives, stabilizers, or modified food starch are added to this cheese. Most other brands, including HEB’s private label brand, contain these other unnecessary ingredients. Additionally, HEB brand ricotta cheese lists modified food starch as an ingredient, without specifying whether that starch is corn, potato, or wheat. We can’t even be sure that ricotta cheese is actually gluten-free (which, of course, ricotta cheese is in its natural state).
-For the tart crust, I use a blend of coconut, sprouted brown rice, and almond flours. You may substitute an all purpose gluten-free flour blend; however, please weigh it to make sure it equals 156 g in weight (the number of grams of gluten-free flours I use in my crust).
-One Degree Organic Foods sprouted brown rice flour is available at Target stores that carry groceries for $4.49. I personally have concerns about some of the Target corporation’s policies; however, I also like to use the most healthy brown rice available when I use it for dinner dishes and Target is the only place I can find sprouted brown rice flour without ordering it online and having to shipping costs.
-I double the amount of kalamata olives called for in the original recipe; I love kalamata olives. I buy kalamata olives already pitted and sliced.
-I omit the salt and pepper for the roasted pepper; the salt and pepper added to the cheese filling is enough seasoning for the tart.

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Cut cold butter into small pieces.

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Place the butter into the gluten-free flour mix.

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This dough needed only one beaten egg added, with no additional water, to be of the right consistency to form into a ball.

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Press the dough into the tart pan, and up the sides of the pan. Using a fork, prick holes in the bottom of the crust before baking.

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Bake in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about twenty minutes.

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Spread the cheese mixture over the bottom of the cooled pastry crust.

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Arrange the peppers and olives on top of the cheese, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of feta cheese.

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When the baked tart has reached room temperature, use a cake mover to slide it from the tart pan onto a serving platter. I served this tart on a Christmas platter; I like the way the colors in the platter bring out the colors in the tart (and thinking about Christmas in August reminds me that this heat will not last forever).

Gluten-Free Roasted Red Pepper Tart

For the Peppers:

2 Red Bell Peppers

For the Dough:

15 g Coconut flour
70.5 g Almond flour (NOT almond meal)
70.5 g One Degree sprouted brown rice flour
8 Tbls of butter, cut into small pieces, cold
1 Egg, beaten
1 able of water, if needed

For the Filling:

1 Cup whole fat BelGioioso ricotta cheese
1 1/4 Cup feta cheese, divided
2 tsp Packed, coarsely chopped oregano leaves
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise

Roasting the Peppers:

-Heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the top third of the oven.
-Place the peppers directly on the rack. Roast, turning occasionally, until the peppers blacken and blister on all sides, about 20 minutes.
-Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a medium heatproof bowl.
-Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit until cool enough to handle and the skins easily peel away, about 30 minutes.
-Remove and discard the skins, seeds, and membranes of the peppers. Slice into 1/2-inch-thick strips, transfer to a small bowl, and set aside.

Making the Crust:

-Place the gluten-free flour in a medium bowl. Add the cold butter, cut into small pieces, to the flour.
-Using your hands or a pastry blander, rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like corn meal with some larger pieces of butter interspersed throughout.
-Using a wooden or other mixing spoon, stir the egg into the mixture until the dough starts to form into a ball. Use your hands to finish completely mixing the egg into the dough.
-If the dough is too dry to form a ball without crumbling, add 1 tbsp of water.
-Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let it rest thirty minutes. (Resting allows the flour to absorb the moisture from the egg, and allows the butter to chill again so that it takes longer to melt when you put the tart in the oven – slower melting means more tender crust).
-After an hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out or press the dough into a 9 inch tart pan.
-Cover the crust in the tart pan with plastic wrap and place back in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.
-After thirty minutes, remove the plastic wrap from the tart pan; using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry several places.
-Place the tart pan with the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until set and lightly brown, about twenty minutes.

Making the Filling:

-While the crust is baking, Place the ricotta, 1 cup of the feta cheese, the oregano, salt, and pepper in the clean bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until the mixture is smooth and combined, about 1 minute.
-When the tart shell is ready, transfer it and the baking sheet to a wire rack and, while the shell is still warm, add the ricotta mixture and spread it into an even layer.
-Decoratively arrange the roasted pepper slices across the top of the filling. Evenly sprinkle with the olives and the remaining 1/4 cup feta cheese.
-Return the tart (on the baking sheet) to the oven and bake until the feta on top turns golden brown, about 40 minutes.
-Remove the tart from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack. Cool to room temperature before serving, about 45 minutes.
-When the tart has reached room temperature, separate the bottom of the tart pan and the tart from the rim of the tart pan. Holding the tart over a platter, slide a cake mover gently between the tart and the bottom of the tart pan. With the cake mover, gently ease the tart onto the platter.

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