Nothing shouts summer quite like plump ripe tomatoes bursting with juice and the flavours of sunshine. Large or small, postbox-red, orange, yellow or green, tomatoes are a fabulous summer staple not just raw, but cooked. While winter always sees me hankering after rich, soul-pleasing things like curries, stews and of course pies, come warmer weather I want my meals fresh and light.
This fortunately doesn’t mean no pie, it just means a different approach to pie making – like this free-form roast tomato and ricotta pie. Buttery-rich puff pastry makes way for healthier phyllo pastry. High-fat cheese gets nixed in favour of seriously low-cal ricotta, transformed from rather bland into quite fabulous with a generous sprinkling of Cape Herb & Spice Garlic and Herb Shaker Seasoning. And then there’s the pièce de résistance – ripe-red cherry tomatoes popped on top and roasted until they’re caramelised summery perfection.
Large punnet (400g) of ripe cherry tomatoes
Store-bought phyllo pastry
200g soft fresh ricotta cheese
Cape Herb & Spice Garlic and Herb Shaker Seasoning
Pine nuts, toasted in a clean pan or the oven until light gold
Edible flowers for garnish (optional)
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, place in a colander and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes to drain then give them a good shake to get rid of excess moisture. Cut 6 layers of phyllo pastry to a 20cm x 15cm rectangle. Place a sheet of phyllo on a non-stick baking tray and lightly brush with olive oil before adding the next layer of phyllo. Repeat until you have 6 layers stuck together.
Add one teaspoon of Cape Herb & Spice Garlic and Herb Shaker Seasoning to the ricotta and mix through well with the back of a fork. Dot all over the phyllo rectangle and spread with the back of a spoon so it’s evenly covered, making sure to leave a 2cm clear edge all around.
Pack the ricotta-covered area with tomatoes, ensuring the cut sides face up. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and place in a preheated 200 degree Celsius oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden and the tomatoes are roasted. Scatter over toasted pine nuts and loads of fresh basil, give it a final dusting of Garlic and Herb Shaker Seasoning and serve right away while it’s still warm.
1) To get a slightly elevated border for your free-form pie, simply roll tinfoil into a sausage and place underneath the 2cm clear phyllo edge to prop it up a bit while it bakes. 2) If the pastry edge is baked to perfection but you would prefer your tomatoes a bit more roasted, simply cover the pastry edge with tinfoil to protect it from browning further and give your tomatoes another 5 minutes.
Quick ideas for your Garlic and Herb Shaker Seasoning