A Roasted Vegetable and Fontina Cheese Terrine in a Savory Basil Pastry
This is one of those recipes that rarely leaves my mind but hardly ever makes an appearance to the table. It is so delicious, not to difficult to make, a family favorite and can be made ahead and served for a weekend brunch or a light dinner with a salad. I brought it out of my memory banks because of the esthetic beauty of this dish and how lovely I think it will be, placed on a holiday table with all the other wonderful side dishes, whether your making a home style turkey or an elegant prime rib.
I have been making pastry dough’s for years. I’ve tried every recipe possible and have never had just one that I could say was my absolutely favorite.. until now. The combination of ice water and cold cream blended with very cold butter that is rubbed into a savory basil laced flour made for one of the most flaky aromatic dough’s I have ever had. The trick always with pastry dough is keeping it cold. For this, I have two sets of flour at home. I have my cold flour for pastries kept in it’s original bag and then placed in a tightly sealed freezer bag in my freezer and then I have my bread flour kept at room temperature in my pantry. When making pastry you will hear time and time again how important it is to use cold ingredients.. THIS IS KEY!
While preparing this recipe, after I rolled out my terrine layers I put them back into the freezer and covered them for 15 minutes while I did some clean up.
The other element to this dough that made it so flavorful was the incorporation of the julienne slices of basil mixed with the flour before the rest of the ingredients were combined.
This dough was a winner and it will find a comfy home in my tried and true recipe spot that will be handed down to the next generation of happy homemakers! 🙂
Roasted Vegetables & Fontina Cheese
1 eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 -inch slices
2 red bell peppers cored, seeded & sliced
5 Roma Tomatoes Sliced ¼ inch thickness
1 Sweet Onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1 Cipolini Onion
5 carrots sliced
1 garlic, top cut off for roasting
3 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs finely chopped
3 Fresh Thyme Sprigs finely chopped
10 – 12 large basil leaves cleaned and dried left whole
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
*Fontina Cheese 8 – 10 ¼ inch slices
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay all sliced vegetables except herbs on baking sheets. You will probably need 4 large baking/cookie sheets. Sprinkle half of the vegetables with chopped rosemary and the other half with chopped thyme. Reserve some chopped thyme for roasting garlic. Place garlic with top cut off in a foil pouch. Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Close and seal pouch and place on one of the cookie sheets with vegetables surrounding. Drizzle all vegetables with olive oil, season with cracked black pepper and kosher salt.
Bake for 35- 45 minutes. Vegetables should be browned and caramelized. The tomatoes at this point will be beautifully sweet and almost dry.
(Makes Enough For 1 (9-INCH) Double Crust Pie)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 basil leaves clean and dried julienned
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons ice water
5 tablespoons cream or half and half
Add julienned basil to flour. Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Stir together cold water and cream.
Drizzle 5 to 6 Tbsp ice cold liquids evenly over mixture. Gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together, add more liquid, 1/2 Tbsp at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough. Turn out onto a work surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one. Press into a ball, then flatten into 2 (5-inch) disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, as least 1 hour.
I used my ravioli cutter to slice up the dough to fit perfectly in the terrine. Then I layered the vegetable ingredients and applied a good amount of weight to form good compression. The layering of this dish is really to your own liking. All you need to do is repeat your layering pattern with the vegetables and cheese. When all ingredients are used up, lay the last piece of dough on top and fold over edges and pinch to seal. Prick all over with fork. Brush an egg/milk wash on top and bake in a 400 degree oven till pastry is cooked through, 40 – 45 minutes.
(If pastry is browning to quickly cover with a foil tent)
When cool remove from terrine. Slice in 1/2 inch thicknesses.