Tom Aikens’ Organic Mini Pumpkin and Ricotta Tarts with Spiced Honey
The perfect canapé or midday snack
For the spiced honey250ml lemon juice 300ml orange juice 500ml xeres vinegar 500g organic honey 2 organic garlic cloves, halved 5g fresh ginger, sliced 1 star anise 1 cinnamon stick 12g salt 12g mixed spice 7g cloves 5 slices of orange peel 7g juniper berries 7g fennel seeds 3g cumin seeds 3g coriander seeds 3g black peppercorns 1g smoked paprika a pinch cayenne pepper
For the roast pumpkin2 organic pumpkins, or 1 large butternut squash salt
For the tart bases250g puff pastry 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze
For garnish250g organic ricotta a bunch of organic fresh thyme, leaves picked 30g vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, shaved
- Begin with the spiced honey. Cook down the lemon juice, orange juice and vinegar in separate pans until all reduced by half.
- Combine in one large pan and add the honey and spices. Place over a medium heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes then set aside to cool and infuse for one day.
- Strain the infused honey through a fine sieve to remove the spices and store in sterilised jars until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Cut the pumpkin in half (or into quarters if very large), scoop out the seeds and place on a large baking tray. Drizzle over 1–2 tbsp of the spiced honey and season with salt. Roast for 45–60 minutes until tender.
- Once cool enough to handle scoop out the soft flesh and add to a pan with 25g of the spiced honey and a pinch more salt. Cook together for 5–10 minutes then transfer to a blender and blitz to form a smooth purée. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile roll out the puff pastry to 0.5cm thick and stamp out 3cm rounds with a pastry cutter. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Brush the pastry with the beaten egg glaze then cover with a piece of baking paper. Place an empty tray over the paper to keep the pastry flat while it cooks. Bake in the oven for 8–10 mins until golden and then allow to cool.
- To serve, spread 1 tsp of the spiced pumpkin purée over each circle of pastry then dot with pieces of ricotta. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese shavings to garnish.