When you think of picnic food I’m sure these Caramelised Onion and Butternut Pumpkin Crostata are not the first thing you would have in mind.
You’re probably picturing sandwiches cut into neat little triangles and big green salads, but that’s not how I roll. When I go on a picnic I want something simple, yet a little decadent at the same time. And that’s where these rustic crostata come in as I made a batch on Saturday for a picnic in the park with my husband.
Buttery crumbly pastry encases sticky caramelised onions topped with sweet, nutty and golden roasted butternut pumpkin (otherwise known as butternut squash to my American readers) and a sprinkling of thyme leaves for a delicious and decadent picnic treat. A crumbling of feta wouldn’t go astray here either, but cheese and I are not friends at the moment. Yes, after a life long friendship it seems we may have to part ways, but you can totally add feta, in fact I would if I could as the saltiness of the feta works well to counteract the sweetness of the onions and pumpkin.
Serve with a side salad, or even a few rocket leaves (arugula) in a balsamic dressing on the side for a hearty lunch, inside or out.
- CROSTATA PASTRY:
- 250g of plain (all purpose) flour
- 180g of cold butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbs of chilled water
- 700g (1½ pounds) butternut pumpkin (butternut squash), peeled, deseeded and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ¾ cup store bought caramelised onion relish
- 1½ tbs thyme leaves, picked from their stalk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Begin by making the pastry. Place the flour and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse until the mixture begins to come together to form a ball. Remove from the food processor and place onto plastic wrap and shape into a disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll out the pastry on a lightly floured bench or silicone baking mat until approximately 5mm thick. Cut out 4 circles of roughly 20cm (8 inches) in diameter and place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (350 fahrenheit) and toss the butternut pumpkin with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan lined with baking paper and roast for 25 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool slightly.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and place a spoonful of the caramelised onion relish in the center of the pastry circle and use a spoon or knife to spread it evenly leaving a border of roughly 5cm (2 inches). Place the pumpkin on top of the caramelised onion mixture and season with sea salt. Bring up the pastry border, to enclose the filling, pleating as you go. Finally rub the thyme leaves between your fingers to release their scent and sprinkle over the top of the crostata. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden. Serve immediately.