Caponata tart

Caponata tart

Recipes From a Normal Mum
David Loftus

This is a great alternative to quiche. It can be eaten cold, assembled last minute and doesn’t have the cold eggy clagginess of a day-old quiche. It feels like it should be eaten amongst olive groves with a glass of something very cold and Italian. In reality it works equally well for lunch with a cup of tea. If possible, make the caponata the day before you need it to allow the flavours to develop in the fridge.

For the pastry and filling:


Quantity Ingredient
280g plain flour
1 teaspoon paprika
140g butter, very cold and cut into 1 cm cubes
75-80ml water, very cold
250g cream cheese
handful flat-leaf parsley leaves

For the caponata:

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 2 cm pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into 2 cm chunks
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 2 cm chunks
2 aubergines, stalks removed and cut into 2 cm chunks
2 tablespoons capers, drained
20 pitted green olives
15g sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Make the pastry. Mix the flour and paprika. Stir the butter into the flour using a blunt knife, until all the pieces are well coated. Wash your hands in cold water and rub the butter into the flour until you have a very fine breadcrumb-like consistency. Using the blunt knife to mix, add enough icy water to just pull the pastry together. The humidity of the room and the type of flour will affect the amount of water needed, so just use enough to pull it together but not so much that it’s sticky. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the caponata. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, celery and pepper over a very low heat for 30 minutes until softened and cooked through. Tip into a large saucepan. Fry batches of the aubergine in the empty dry frying pan for 5 minutes until browned, and add to the saucepan. Add all of the remaining caponata ingredients with 3 tablespoons of water to the saucepan and simmer on a low heat for 25 minutes until very tender and cooked, but with the vegetables retaining their shape. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface into a circle about 30 cm across and the thickness of a pound coin. Put both hands under the pastry, palms facing up and fingers spread wide, and gently transfer to a 22 cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Gently push the pastry into the corners and run the rolling pin over the top to trim the pastry. Cover with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, uncooked rice or pulses (this will stop the pastry from puffing up as it cooks) and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 5–10 minutes until completely baked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, still in the tin, on a wire rack.
  4. To assemble, remove the case from the tin and place on a plate. Spread the cream cheese onto the base using the back of a spoon. Using a slotted spoon to drain away any excess moisture, spoon the still warm caponata on top, making a mountain of vegetables. Scatter over the parsley and serve immediately, or cold the next day with barbecued meats or green salad. Or both.
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