I had some major issues with this tart.
Firstly, the name. What do you call a recipe that has so many yummy bits? Roasted aubergine, roasted garlic, ricotta, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, flaky pastry… in the end I settled on the aubergine and ricotta, but please take note that there are plenty of other incredible flavours in this tart too! So really it’s less ‘roasted aubergine and ricotta tart’ and more ‘loads of wonderful Italian flavours’ tart.
And then, despite this actually being a really simple recipe (as usual), my hands and brain just weren’t getting along with each other. I forgot to prick the aubergine with a fork before roasting it, which led to it exploding in the oven. Luckily it made surprisingly little mess and was completely salvageable, despite being a very definite explosion. Then every single egg I used decided that it didn’t want to crack neatly into the bowl – oh no, instead the shells all decided that they would prefer to smash into small pieces and fall into the bowl along with the egg. Just how I wanted to spend my morning, picking egg shells out of a bowl of raw egg.
BUT. Despite my obvious incompetence, this is not a tricky recipe! As long as you can stick a fork into an aubergine and crack an egg, you can make this tart! It’s actually really easy, and any other day I’d be able to make it with my eyes shut – roast some aubergine and garlic, add it to a tart crust along with a simple egg mixture, dollop on some ricotta, and sprinkle with parmesan. That’s it! This tart is the perfect thing to whip up for your dinner – serve it hot with some potatoes and roasted veg, or cold alongside some salad. It’s amazing either way.
By the way, do you see that awesome quiche tin in some of these pictures? That was given to me by the lovely people over at Viners, who sell some great quality kitchen equipment. This quiche tin, in particular, was so great to work with. It’s got a loose base, which made it really easy to remove the delicate quiche from the pan – even my butter fingers couldn’t fail me this time. Plus the small holes in the base mean you get a perfectly crispy crust all the way round the tart, even underneath. And, its Teflon coating showed absolutely zero signs of sticking to the pastry. I’ll definitely be using this one over and over again! Head on over to Viners and check out their stock!
(And, yes. The eagle-eyed among you are correct, that slice of tart doesn’t quite fill the gap… I couldn’t resist cutting a sliver off to try while I was taking my photos. Don’t judge me.)
- 1 medium aubergine
- 2 tbsp oil
- 6 cloves large garlic unpeeled
- 250 g shortcrust pastry I used ready-rolled, but still rolled it out a little more before use
- Plain flour for dusting
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- Black pepper
- 100 g fresh ricotta cheese
- 25 g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese finely grated
Place the whole, unpeeled aubergine on a baking tray, prick several times with a fork, and drizzle with a little oil. Roast at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for about 15 minutes. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the tray, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. When the vegetables are all soft, remove from the oven and leave to cool for several minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pastry. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface, then carefully transfer it to a greased pie dish (mine measured 9 1/2 inches). Gently press the pastry into the corners of the dish, being careful not to stretch or break it. Trim off any excess pastry, but do leave a slight overhang to allow for the pastry shrinking as it cooks.
Prick the base of the tart several times with a fork, and place in the oven to blind bake for around 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
When the aubergine is cool enough to handle, chop it into 1/2 inch dice. Pop the flesh out of each garlic clove, and chop finely. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, and add the aubergine, roasted garlic, fresh basil, and plenty of seasoning.
When the pastry is ready, you can trim the edges fully if desired, or you can leave it looking slightly rustic like I did. Add the egg and aubergine mixture to the tart base, and ensure the aubergine and basil are evenly distributed across the base of the tart.
Add plenty of teaspoon-sized dollops of ricotta to the top of the tart, and add some more black pepper if desired. Top with the finely grated parmesan.
Return to the oven for a further 35 minutes or so, until the egg is set.
Disclosure: I received some free kitchen equipment from Viners, but all opinions are my own.