Rocket is going into everything. I smeared a rocket pesto - rocket, shiro miso, Tasmanian walnuts (they are so, so good - get 'em fresh while you still can), oil, lemon at the end - on the base of Thursday night's tart, topped it with caramelised fennel and onions, green olives and finished with slices of hothouse tomato. Gorgeous. Halfway through, I realised I've made some version of the tart at least once a fortnight for the last few years.
This is a silky dough; pliable, agreeable, doable even when you can't think straight. The very opposite, then, of the temperamental shortcrust I've come to know and love. When I want pastry, on those days when I feel like pushing the boat out, taking my time over a beautiful tart, I want it to be short. Really short. A high ratio of cold, unsalted butter to flour, which is why I actually end up make it so rarely. Though clearly not afraid of fat, I feel far better for having introduced this lower-fat dough into the mix.
Thank you, once again, Deborah Madison.
Yeasted tart dough
I make this with half spelt, half wholemeal, feeling my way around how much flour each batch requires. Know that it performs beautifully with white flour alone. If eggs aren't your thing, or you haven't any, replace the egg with an extra tablespoon of oil and up the warm water by 2 tablespoons. Works every time.
2 teaspoons of active dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 egg, beaten
Good pinch of sea salt
1 3/4 cups wholemeal (wholewheat) flour, plus more as required
Whisk the yeast, sugar and warm water together - remember, not too warm or you'll kill the yeast - in a roomy bowl and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes. Add the oil, the egg and the sea salt next, then sift in the flour. Hold back some of the bran if your flour's heavy on the stuff. Mix with a spoon until you no longer can, then turn out onto a floured bench. Knead for 3-5 minutes. You may need to add more flour as you go - things should be slightly sticky and nicely elastic when prodded.
Lightly oil a bowl - the one you've just used will be fine - pop in your dough and roll it around a little so that it, too, is lightly oiled. Cover with a tea towel and leave to proof for an hour. Sometimes it doubles, sometimes not. It doesn't really matter, truth be told.
Roll out to fit a loose-bottomed tart tin (there will be overhang, so trim and crimp as required) OR, and this is what I do most often, sit the rolled out dough on a pizza stone*, then fill the centre with whatever you like (so long as it's not too liquid) and fold the edges in to make a rustic-looking open galette-thingy.
Bake at 200 C (400 F) for 30-40 minutes.
*Christina asked a very relevant question: Do I heat the pizza stone? Not always, but when I've put it into the pre-heating oven, the base has often been even better (though make sure you watch those hands on the hot stone - ouch). Cooking time will be a fraction less if you do this.