Butternut Squash, Parmesan & Sage Tart

Squash tart topped with sage leaves on a piece of baking parchment.

I don’t think you can get more autumnal than a Squash, Parmesan and Sage Tart. Slices of roasted butternut squash (though you can use whatever type of similar squash you want) are layered with a parmesan, sage and nutmeg spiked cream before being baked in a light, flaky shortcrust pastry. It is what your next weekend lunch or light, meat free, weeknight dinner needs. What is more, it looks super impressive even if it is so easy to make.

Squash tart with a slice taken out.
Sage and squash tart on a neutral stone background.

Like all my tarts (see my French Leek Tart and my French Onion Quiche, both also perfect for this time of year) I’ve made this in a slightly smaller than average 20cm tin (I really recommend this loose bottomed, non-stick number from Lakeland) as we’re just a family of two, and I’ve found this size is great for 4 people, or 6 as part of a spread.

What is more, because the pastry here is relatively thin, and you’re baking this on your thickest metal baking tray, you should not need to blind bake the case to avoid a soggy bottom. Is it just me, or do blind baked pastry cases that then go back in to have the filling cooked through come across dry and crumbly rather than melt-in-the-mouth?

Side on shot of a sage and squash tart with a bunch of fresh sage in the background.

I like to serve slices of this Butternut Squash, Parmesan and Sage Tart warm (this is one where you’ll want to gently warm the leftovers as it is less good cold) with a tangle of rocket (something of a traditional leaf to the hardier salad varieties of autumn) drizzled with some of my go-to Everyday Truffle Vinaigrette. It does not need much more than that!

Close up of a cross section of sage tart.

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Squash tart with a slice taken out.

Squash, Parmesan & Sage Tart

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 46 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This deceptively simple Butternut Squash, Parmesan and Sage Tart pairs roast seasonal squash and a light, airy parmesan cream filling in a flaky pastry case for an elegant vegetarian tart that is perfect for autumnal entertaining!


Ingredients

Scale

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  • 200g (7 oz) plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 60g (2 oz) unsalted butter, cold from the fridge, plus extra for the tin
  • 40g (1 1/2 oz) lard, cold from the fridge (see note)
  • pinch salt

For the Tart

  • 350400g (approx. 14 oz) butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 small white onion
  • 150g (5 1/4 oz) full fat creme fraiche
  • 1 large egg
  • 30g (1 oz) grated parmesan (see note)
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 12 large sage leaves

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (355 fahrenheit). Peel the squash and slice it into 1/2 cm (slightly less than 1/4 inch) slices. Toss together on a baking tray with 1/2 tbsp of the oil, salt, pepper, and the garlic cloves, still in their skins. Roast for 20 minutes until the squash slices are starting to colour and the garlic cloves are soft. Set aside to cool, reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees (340 fahrenheit), and place your thickest metal baking tray in the oven to heat up.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the pastry blitz the flour together with the butter and the lard – both cut into small cubes – and a pinch of salt in a food processor until crumbs have formed. Gradually blitz in up to 2 tbsp of ice water until a ball of dough has formed.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and with floured hands form into a flat oval. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out until it is in a just wide enough circle to line a 20cm (approx. 8 inch) loose bottomed pastry tin. Grease said tin well with butter before lining with the pastry, trimming off any excess and smoothing the edges with your fingers. Chill the pastry case.
  4. Heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil in a small frying pan set over a medium heat. Peel and finely slice the onion into half moons and gently fry with a pinch of salt for about 8-10 minutes until soft and golden. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a large jug or mixing bowl, whisk together the creme fraiche, egg, parmesan, a pinch of nutmeg and a little more salt and pepper. Squeeze the roast garlic from the skins and whisk that in too. Thinly shred half the sage leaves and add them to the mix, along with the onions, once cooled.
  6. To assemble the tart, layer 1/3 of the squash slices into the bottom of the chilled pastry case before pouring over half the cream mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the squash and the rest of the cream, before arranging the remaining squash slices and sage leaves on top. Grind a generous few turns of pepper on top before baking atop the pre-heated baking tray for 40 minutes, or until the top is puffed and golden.
  7. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and serving.

Notes

Whilst I’ve listed lard for the pastry as I find the combination of butter and lard makes the lightest, flakiest pastry, if you need to keep this recipe vegetarian simply use more butter.

This tart is best served warm; leftovers can be gently reheated again in the oven to keep the pastry crisp.

When using more than 15g a time I tend to buy pre-grated parmesan, so it is fine to use in this recipe! Again, if you need to keep this tart strictly vegetarian make sure your choice of cheese reflects this.

Keywords: tart, squash, butternut squash, squash tart, parmesan

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