If your kids like shop-bought quiches and tarts, give your own version a go - you can use up veg that might otherwise go begging, at the same time as teaching them how to whisk eggs and bake a pastry case blind (we cheat and buy the pastry). Frozen peas, end-of-the-bag-past-its-best, knackered looking spinach, a lone courgette, a few broccoli florets, green beans, asparagus spears: they can all find a home in this vegetarian tart. Don't think your little ones will go for eating all that green stuff? Try the line about their body needing spinach to defend itself against germs, just like their army of Playmobil knights defends its toy castle. We find it easiest to use a whole pack of pastry and tub of mascarpone which makes enough for two tarts - eat one the day you make it and freeze the other for another day.
Makes 2 large (or 8 mini tarts)
pack of 2 x 215g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry (try this one), defrosted
olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 clove of garlic
2 good handfuls of any/a mix of the following: frozen peas, spinach, courgette, broccoli, green beans, asparagus
250g tub lower-fat light mascarpone
75g cheddar or Parmesan
Takes 50 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Line two 20cm loose-bottomed tart tins with the two pastry sheets, pushing it right into the flutes/edges of each tin with your fingers. Prick the bases with a fork and trim/redistribute any excess pastry to fit the tins. You can use mini individual tart tins too, if you have them.
2. Show the kids how to bake the tarts blind by cutting out a circle of baking parchment to roughly fit the tin and popping it over the pastry, then filing with baking beans (or use the parchment that the pastry comes wrapped up in). Pop in the oven for 15 minutes then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes to crisp up the bottom. Set aside once done and reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Get a pan with a lid and soften the garlic in a little oil over a gentle heat. Now add whatever green veg you're using (except the peas). It's best to dice or shred the courgette and to finely cut up broccoli, green beans and asparagus but you can just throw in the spinach whole, if using, as it'll wilt down to next-to-nothing anyway. Once the veg are soft, throw in the peas and stir through for a minute to thaw then transfer to the pastry cases.
4. While the veg are cooking, quickly whisk the eggs with a fork. Beat the mascarpone in a bowl then mix in the eggs and grate in the cheese. Stir to combine. Pour over the greens in the pastry cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and just set. Leave to cool for a minute or two before slicing. You can grate over a little extra Parmesan to garnish if you like.
5. This tart freezes well and can be cooked from frozen in 30 minutes at 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6, or until piping hot in the centre. Cut up the one you're going to freeze before freezing - that way you can cook it by the slice from the freezer as you need it (or freeze in individual mini tart tins).