Roast sweet potato, pineapple and bean pastries with tahini, chilli and lemon grass dressing

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

I like having sheets of rolled puff pastry in the freezer. Here I bake rectangles of it to use to sandwich vegetables and a tasty dressing. While not exactly a millefeuille (’thousand leaves’), it’s near enough, give or take 990-odd layers! The dressing may separate if it sits too long, but keep it out of the fridge and stir briskly just before serving. Kumara works as well as the sweet potato, as does sliced pumpkin or squash, and runner beans or asparagus instead of beans. The pineapple may seem odd – but trust me, it works well. Serve the pastries with a simple leaf salad.

Ingredients

  • flour, for dusting
  • 300 g puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I used a mixture of white and black; poppy seeds are also good)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • ½ small pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200 g green beans, trimmed
  • for the tahini, chilli and lemon grass dressing
  • 10 cm piece of lemon grass stalk, base and outer 2 layers discarded, thinly sliced
  • ½ red chilli, sliced (more or less to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • small handful of coriander leaves
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out into a 15x24cm rectangle and allow to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7 and line 2 baking trays with parchment. Take the pastry from the fridge and cut it into 4 equal-sized rectangles, measuring 15x6cm. Put them on one of the prepared baking trays, brush with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake in the middle of the oven until they are golden and well risen, around 15–18 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200°C/gas 6 and keep them cooking for another 8 minutes or so, while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Cut the sweet potato and pineapple into slices 1cm thick and lay on the other baking tray. Brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season and place in the top of the oven.

Once you’ve put the tray of potato and pineapple in the oven, take the pastry out, split it in half horizontally and separate the tops and bottoms. Return them to the oven to dry them out for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a cake rack.

Once the sweet potato is cooked (insert a knife into it to test), remove the tray from the oven.

Heat a heavy-based pan, ideally non-stick, and fry the pineapple in the other tablespoon of oil to colour it on both sides, then place back on the baking tray.

While all of this is cooking in the oven, make the dressing. This is best done with a pestle and mortar, or you can chop everything very finely. Pound the lemon grass, chilli, garlic and ½ teaspoon of salt to a coarse paste. Pound in the coriander, then mix in the tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.

Blanch the beans and keep them hot.

To Serve

Place a pastry bottom on each of 4 plates, then pile the sweet potato and pineapple on top. Add the beans, then drizzle with the dressing and lastly put a pastry lid in place. Eat while still warm