Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Review: Rice Flour Pastry and a Tomato and Goats Cheese Tart

tomato and goats cheese tart

I’ve been rather disappointed by the poor and very pricey array of pastries and breads produced for coeliacs.  I never knew how bad it was until my dad was diagnosed and had to cut gluten from his diet.  Out from his diet went his much loved breads, ice cream, chocolate, gravy and a whole host of other foodstuffs that contain gluten to be replaced by their invariably bland, gluten-free alternatives.  Finding decent bread is a major bug bear as most is of the cardboard variety that crumbles when you slice it.  As for cakes, buns and pastries, the choice is even worse.  You eventually grow tired of gluten-free muffins and meringue.  Ready-to-use pastry is non-existent so making your own is the only option.

A few months ago I came across a recipe for a tomato and goats cheese tart which suggested swapping plain flour for rice flour.  So, never having undertaken any gluten-free baking, I thought I’d give this a try with the intent of making it for my dad.

Well, it couldn’t be simpler to make – or could it?  A tart case lined with the pastry, blind baked, egg washed then baked again to ensure there are no soggy bottoms.  A lightly stewed tomato and onion layer spread across the bottom and topped with halved cherry tomatoes followed by goats cheese or chèvre slices, pesto and basil leaves.  Simple but so tasty! I’d made a full on gluten version before with chèvre slices and it was delicious so I’d high hopes for this gluten-free version. Hmm…

The basis of a good tart is the pastry case, thin, crisp, golden. Rice flour is very fine and when you add butter, salt, egg and water, it doesn’t come together as other pastries do. It is crumbly and needs to be pressed together {I have to admit that I used my food processor to make the pastry – who am I to deny the inventor the use of his technology, LOL!}.  I wrapped it in clingfilm and left the pastry in the fridge to rest for over an hour.  I needn’t have bothered as rolling it was a disaster of cracks and splits.  I left it to warm up for a while then dusted the worktop with rice flour and began rolling.  Not bad until it came to lifting the pastry onto the tin.  DISASTER as it split into multiple pieces.  So, I gathered it together again and this time rolled it between two sheets of clingfilm.  This had the added benefit of making it so much easier to line the tin with the pastry. RESULT!

After baking the tart, Hubby and I tried a slice.  The pastry held its shape very well with very little shrinkage. But when you slice it, it crumbles and crumbles badly.  It’s also quite dry and needs the moisture that the filling provides. But overall, this is a quite a nice tart that should appeal to everyone whether coeliac, vegetarian or meat eater.  I swapped the chèvre slices for Boilie pearls which worked ok but not as good as the chèvre which gives the tart that appealing WOW factor.  Despite its looks, it’s a very filling tart that needs only a green salad as an accompaniment.  Made as individual tartlets, it is also ideal as a starter for that special meal.

I have a feeling that a mix of gluten-free flours would work better. If anyone has any suggestions for a better gluten-free pastry, please let me know!!

Xx Paula

2 comments on “Review: Rice Flour Pastry and a Tomato and Goats Cheese Tart

  1. cookingwithoutgluten
    December 20, 2014

    I loved baking all my life and did not have any other choice to start baking gluten free. Now, even given the choice, i would never go back. Gluten free baking products are so much better ib their variety of itaste and texture. Yes, you need time to try different products, but the result is rewarding. I agree, however, that commercially available products are generally very poor both in taste and nutritional value.

    • As this was my first foray into gluten-free baking, it was quite an interesting process. I guess though, there are better flours or combination of flours that would give a better result. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. x Paula

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This entry was posted on December 20, 2014 by in Baking, Main Courses, Starters, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , .

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