Ricotta & butternut squash tarts

  • 1 pack pre-rolled puff pastry (320g) Remove from fridge at least 10 mins before unrolling it.
  • 1 tub ricotta (250g)
  • About 300g butternut squash, skinned and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tabs olive oil
  • 1 tab honey
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves (or very good with wild garlic, or with leek cut into rings or even just a lot of fresh herbs)
  • fresh herbs – inc chives if possible
  • zest of one lemon – important
  • salt – a fair bit & pepper

This is easy and was extremely successful first time round. Heat oven to 200 degrees fan with a baking tray for the squash heating up in it (so that the squash won’t stick to it). Toss the chopped squash in the olive oil and cook on the baking tray in the oven for 10 mins. Then add the honey and a little salt, stir it around and cook for another 10 mins. You can do this bit beforehand if you like. Try cutting the squash slightly smaller, tossing in oil and honey at once and then cooking for 15mins total.

Unroll the pastry and cut it into portions – I like this recipe with 8 pieces but you can do 4 – or even leave it as one big piece like a pizza. For 8, put the pastry on baking parchment on two oven trays, separating the pieces so that they get heat from the sides as well. Chop the spinach and mix up really well with all the other ingredients (including more salt – check taste) then spread it on the pastry pieces, leaving a border of about 1.5cm of pastry all around the edges as this is the bit which will puff up and go crispy. Then sprinkle the squash cubes over the top. I’ve found that doing this with hands is easier than a spoon. Bake for 20 mins until the pastry edges are golden brown. If you are using two trays swop them over half way through so they both get a chance at the top. (Could also try par-cooking the pastry before adding the filling.)

The crucial things seem to be allowing a border of the pastry to go crispy and including the lemon zest and the honey on the squash. I can see it working with alternatives to the spinach though, or even using cherry tomatoes instead of the squash.