These delicious individual tarts are great for picnics or boxed lunches. Since they're a little labor intensive, I like to make a big batch and freeze some to pull out and reheat when I don't feel like cooking.
To make pastry:
Combine the flour and sea salt in a mixing bowl and drizzle in the olive oil. Mix in with a fork and add the water, continuing to mix until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly oiled work surface and knead lightly. Cover the dough and set it aside in the fridge until ready to use. To make tart:
Rinse the hijiki thoroughly and soak in enough water to cover for 20 minutes.
Heat the sesame oil in a pan, and sauté the onion and sea salt for 1 minute. Add the carrot and corn kernels and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain the hijiki and chop it into small pieces. Add the hijiki to the pan, along with the apple juice. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
If all the liquid hasn't been absorbed after this time, increase the heat, uncover the pan and let it boil off.
Add the tamari, ginger juice and spring onion, and mix well. To make carrot topping:
Place the carrot in a steamer basket over a saucepan of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes or until tender. Puree the carrot with the rest of the topping ingredients in a food processor or blender, drizzling in a little water as you go until the mixture is creamy. Taste-test and add a little more miso or umeboshi vinegar if you prefer a stronger flavor.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Place each piece between 2 pieces of grease-proof paper or plastic wrap, and roll into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Line the bases of eight 4-inch mini tart tins with the pastry. Trim and crimp the edges. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the seaweed mixture onto each tart base and spread it out evenly. Decoratively pipe the carrot puree on top. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each tart and bake for 25 minutes.
Serve hot or cold. Variations:
- If you don't have small tart tins, you can make these tarts like little empanadas. Simply place 2 tablespoons of the seaweed mixture onto the center of each pastry round and fold over into a half-moon shape. Trim and crimp the edges with a fork to seal, then bake on an oven tray in a preheated 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes. In this case, you can turn the carrot topping into a sauce to serve with the empanadas.
- I sometimes use cold carrot juice in place of the water in the pastry. This gives a lovely color and flavor.
- Arame can be used instead of hijiki. Arame is lighter and takes less time to cook—soak for 10 minutes and then simmer with the veggies for 10 minutes.
- You can make one large tart in a loose-based tart tin instead of individual ones.
- As an alternative to the carrot topping, mix 10 ounces of crumbled firm tofu with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white miso or tamari and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or finely sliced spring onion (scallions). Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the tarts before baking.