To be completely honest… a pap tert has never been on my foodie to-do list until now. And boy, am I happy that I tried my hand at this utterly delicious side dish. It's perfect for any braai or barbeque.
Biltong…mealies…pap… what’s not to love? It literally tastes like South Africa on a spoon!
Being a Cape Town gal, I have not had the same love affair with pap as my fellow foodies up in the north of this beautiful country. Not sure why we are not as keen on pap down here in the Cape… but this dish is sure to turn you into an instant pap-lover. Guaranteed!
It is warm, creamy, stuffed with rustic flavours and oozing with cheese. It reminds me of the Italian’s creamy polenta that is often served with slow roasted chunks of meat. Yum!
I have had many helpings of traditional “pap and sheba” with a side of grilled boerewors but who said that’s the only pap-combo out there? Pap is a staple in so many homes (and so inexpensive, may I add!) so it only makes sense to transform it into something exciting. With a few extra ingredients here and there, you can easily turn pap into a dish that will leave the family drooling for more.
Next time you braai, give the well-loved potato salad a break and pop this pap tert in the oven while you enjoy a cold one around the fire.
Layered biltong, mushroom and feta pap tart
750ml (3 cups) warm water
2.5ml (½ tsp) fine salt
15ml (1tbsp) butter
250ml (1 cup) maize meal
250ml (1 cup) fresh or frozen corn kernels
15ml (1tbsp) olive oil
½ (75g) red onion, diced
250g mushrooms, sliced
5ml (1tsp) garlic, crushed
15ml (1tbsp) chives
180g (1 cup) sliced biltong
100g (1 cup) feta, crumbled
250ml (1 cup) cream
125ml (½ cup) Gruyere cheese, grated
Fresh basil, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. For the pap, place the water and salt in a pot and bring it up to a boil. Stir in the butter and then whisk in the pap. Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and cook it over very low heat for 15 minutes. Whisk twice during cooking to get rid of any lumps.
3. Stir in the corn and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. For the filling, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes until tender. Turn up the heat and add in the mushrooms. Fry for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic and fry for another minute. Stir in the chives and lightly season the mixture.
5. To assemble the tert, place half of the pap at the bottom of a 15cm x 20cm ovenproof dish. Add the mushroom filling on top. Add a layer of biltong and then the crumbled feta.
6. Pour over half of the cream and then the rest of the pap. Neaten the edges so that all of the filling is covered. Pour over the rest of the cream and then scatter the grated Gruyere on top.
7. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted. Scatter some fresh basil on top and serve.
- You can easily replace the biltong with cooked bacon bits or for a vegetarian option try adding some sautéed butternut or baby marrows instead.
- Experiment by using your favourite cheese for this recipe. Blue cheese, Cheddar, Gouda, goats cheese and Mozzarella can all work. Each one will add a different flavour to the dish.
- If you want to save some time, then fully prepare the tart the night before but don’t bake it. Cover and keep it in the fridge until needed. Bake it slightly longer before the braai as everything in the pap tert will need heating up.
Quirky pap idea : Pap nuggets
- Turn pap into “pap nuggets” by making a firmer pap mixture. Flavour it with grated cheese and chopped soft herbs like basil or chives. Let it cool to the point where you are able to handle it with your hands.
Form it into balls and then crumb it with some panko crumbs ( Crumbing process : dip each ball into seasoned flour and then into some egg wash and lastly into a bit of panko crumbs).
Deep fry the “nuggets” and serve it with a creamy chakalaka sauce.
Written by food stylist and photographer, Illanique van Aswegen.
- Illanique van Aswegen