The Tart

3 Oct

Eggplants, tomatoes, chard and herbs from our garden

I’ve been bugged for this recipe, so I’m posting. The tart is more or less from the Once Upon a Tart Cookbook. The crust is per their instructions (I’ve never come across a better crust) and the tart is a free extrapolation on a number of their vegetable tarts.

The recipe below is for one 9″ tart. I use an 11″ pan, which uses 3/4 of the dough.

Enjoy! – Deb


Savory Tart Crust (makes 2 – 9″ tarts):

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons semolina flour (I use cake flour. You can use all regular flour, but this gives it a nice crunch.)

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut up

3 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening (Yes, this is Crisco, but there are trans-fat free alternatives available.)

glass of ice water

9″ tart pan with removable bottom.

1. Position oven racks so that one is in the center and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse a couple of times just to integrate the flours and salt.

3. Add the butter and shortening all at once and pulse quite a few times, until the mixture forms little balls, like moist crumbs, and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. You have to pulse, not run, the food processor. The worst thing that can happen at this stage of the crust-making game is for the flours and fats to come together into a paste.

4. Remove the blade from the food processor and dump the dough crumbs into a big bowl. Fill a tablespoon with ice water and sprinkle over the surface of the dough. Repeat with 3 more tablespoons.

5. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to bring the dough together into a ball, adding more water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough should be just past crumbly, but holding together. You don’t want it to be so wet that it sticks together or turns white in color.

6. Cut the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Press each half with the palm of your hand to form a disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

7. Roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/4 inch thick. Fit it into your tart pan and chill for 30 minutes. Then use the tines of a fork to prick holes over the bottom of the tart. Line the dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans.

8. Place the tart shell on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights from the pan. Return it to the oven, and bake until the crust is golden brown and toasted all over, 5-10 more minutes for a par-baked tart shell. For a fully baked tart shell, bake for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until it’s golden brown all over.

9. Remove the tart shell from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Can be prepared a day in advance. Cover and keep at room temperature.

Note: Using a food processor makes for a better dough because you can work quickly to prevent the butter from melting down. Liquified butter is your enemy here. You can make the dough by hand in the traditional way, cutting in the butter and fat with a pastry blender or two knives. Just make sure to work quickly and cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes before adding: the smaller, the better, without causing a meltdown.



cheese/herbs/spread to coat bottom of crust

vegetables of choice

2 large eggs

1/4 cup cream


freshly ground pepper

1. Roast (or not) any vegetables desired: mix with a bit of olive oil and bake at 400-450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Tomatoes should be sliced or chopped and drained.

2. Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

3. Spread the tart shell with some Parmesan cheese mixed with chopped basil, pesto, mustard, other herbs and a bit of cheese…use your imagination. Olivada or artichoke spread are very nice. You’ll need about 1/4 cup altogether.

4. Lay the vegetables in the crust in an attractive pattern, making sure the crust is covered entirely.

5. Whisk 2 large eggs in a small bowl or a large measuring cup to break up the egg yolks. Whisk in 1/4 cup cream,  some salt, and pepper. This is your custard. Pour the custard evenly over the vegetables until it comes to about 1/4 inch from the top edge of the crust. (If you have extra, don’t worry about it; if you don’t have enough, pour a little cream on top.)

6. Place the tart on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the custard is set. Set custard won’t jiggle when you shake the pan and will be firm when you touch it. (The custard will also be hot, so touch it lightly.) Tomatoes in the tart may give off a lot of liquid; don’t confuse this with uncooked eggs and accidentally overcook your tart. The liquid will evaporate as the tart cools.

7. Remove the tart from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Allow the tart to cool slightly.

8. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can. Make sure the tart is steady and balanced. Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart. Then place the tart on your work surface, and slide it off the bottom of the pan and onto a rimless serving dish or a cutting board. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes one 9-inch tart.

Note: for our garden tart I used basil and Parmesan on the bottom, one Japanese eggplant, some roasted tomatoes (which turned into sauce), and Swiss chard cut into 1/4″ strips. Yum.


9 Responses to “The Tart”

  1. sansley October 8, 2012 at 11:05 PM #

    Updated with a photo showing the tart in all its glory. Really. Was. Spectacular.

  2. sansley November 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM #

    So I finally made a tart with my CSA veggies. Not exactly your tart, but inspired by it. I used the yeasted tart dough in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (without the sugar):

    2 tsp yeast
    1/2 cup warm water
    3 Tbsp olive oil
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    dash salt
    1 3/4 cup flour (mix of all purpose and white whole wheat).

    Let it rise for about 45 minutes, then put it in the fridge while I went out for several hours; brought it out when I got back, let it warm up, and rolled it out SUPER thin and used it to cover a 12-inch tart pan.

    I used a mix of parmesan and sage (probably a half cup) on the bottom of the tart.

    Baked two butternut squash (there was a LOT left over) — peeled and seeded, cut into a half inch dice — at 375 for about 20 minutes. Sauteed the white and light green parts of three leeks (sliced in thin rounds) in a few Tbsp olive oil until soft and a little brown on the edges (again, some left over). Placed the squash on top of the parmesan mixture and “drizzled” the sauteed leeks on top of the squash.

    Mixed two lightly beaten eggs into a quarter cup of heavy cream, with some salt and pepper and poured in on top of the squash and leeks. Didn’t have enough, so added some more cream, probably a little less than a quarter cup — it was just enough to cover the bottom of the tart crust with an even, thin layer of “custard.”

    Baked for about 40 minutes, maybe a little longer, until custard was set. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, popped it out of the pan and ate. Big hit with grown-ups and kids!!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. sansley August 15, 2013 at 11:06 PM #

    I keep coming back to this recipe (in combo with Deborah Madison’s yeasted tart dough). It’s such a winner. Tonight I fear I stuck too many yellow tomato and eggplant slices from the CS on a bed of got cheese and basil. I’m hoping it just doesn’t matter and it still tastes good. This is such a wonderful way to cook vegetables. I also have some radishes I need to pickle . . .


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