I am working on a new cookbook (stay tuned) and there will a chapter/menu/something on tarts. Those that know me are now shaking your heads in disbelief b/c of my self-proclaimed disdain for baking. But, I say with index finger held high in the air…these are not pretty bakery shelf tarts. These are wild with abandon tarts. There are no crimped perfect edges or sweet little tart molds or any of that “too good to eat
looking tart talk. My tarts could be seen as ugly, misshapen freaks of the kitchen that any pastry instructor would put their nose up to as the tart hit the trash can. BUT WAIT – you have to taste them before you send them to an undeserved fate. It’s not all about looks ya know. Beauty is in the first bite.
I made three tarts, using the same crust recipe and only adjusting the amount of sugar for the sweet tart vs. savory.
Crust takes 5 minutes to make and has 4 simple ingredients.
2 Cups Flour (I used whole wheat for these tarts)
1 Cup Sugar for Sweet Tart (1/2 Cup for Savory)
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Egg, plus 1 more for brushing the crusts before baking
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and with clean hands meld ingredients into a single dough ball. It might be a little sticky. That is fine. Wrap the ball in Saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 10-20 minutes.
Divide the dough out into equal portions for how many tarts you are going to make. In this case it was three. Place a little flour on your baking tray or piece of parchment paper (the parchment paper is the recommended way to go), I just didn’t have any at the time. Once the tarts are rolled out you can transfer the paper to your baking tray. Roll out the tart dough into a 1/4 inch thickness. It should resemble either a circle or a rectangle. Either is fine. The ingredients will either go in the middle of the circle or spread lengthwise if rectangle. Does not have to be at all pretty as you can see from mine!
Now the ingredients get added on top of the dough. The tart crust will only take about 20 minutes to cook through so I pre-cook some of my savory ingredients that will need a longer cook time.
Savory Tart #1 – Caramelized Red Onions, Portobello Mushroom, Brie & Oregano
I caramelized the onions with honey & added a splash of Marsala Wine at the finish. I sautéed the mushroom for only a minute in a bit of Tamari. (Soy or Balsamic would also work).
Savory Tart #2 – Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Crispy Pancetta, Caramelized Red Onion and Goat Cheese
I broke off the leaves of the brussels sprouts, gave them a sprinkle of olive oil and some fresh S&P and then roasted them for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees. When I took them out I put the pancetta slices on the roasting pan and cooked them until crispy (10 minutes). Same red onions as tart #1.
Sweet Tart – Fresh Nectarines & Blackberry
I tossed the sliced nectarine and blackberries in a bit of lemon, a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and a sprinkle of good quality vanilla.
Pile the ingredients in the middle of the tart. You can go pretty high as the ingredients will cook down. Just be sure to leave at least a 1″ border of dough. I try to make them somewhat uniform (like dressing a pizza) so that all the slices will have the ingredients. Then just pull the crust edges up over the ingredients only about 1/2″. Brush the crust with an egg to seal any cracks and to give the crust a nice sheen as it bakes.
Cook the rough form tarts for about 20 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown. Remove, cool bit…drool over...slice with pizza cutter and EAT!
This whole process is less than 30-45 minutes so these are great for an impromptu lunch or brunch, a tasty appetizer for a dinner party or drinks party and they are perfect for picnics as they taste just as good warm as cold!
In fact I had the nectarine tart for breakfast the next day cold from the refrigerator.
Do you have any recommended “not so pretty but really good tasting” baking recipes? Do share!