Monday, April 12, 2010

Vegetable Tart

I bought a new tart pan a while back, and at the time, I had been concerned that this was a frivolous and superfluous kitchen indulgence. Did I really need it? Would I ever use it?

When I married, I didn’t know what size tart pan was standard and registered for (and received) a shallow 11” tart pan. I learned shortly after the wedding that 9” is the norm
and I’ve been kicking myself ever since, though, of course, most tart recipes are adaptable to either size.

Anyway, I bought a 9” pan, and it’s been in near-constant kitchen rotation since I made the ($8) splurge.

Mostly, I’ve been making sweet tarts, but tart pans are also great for quiche. Unfortunately, quiches tend to be heavy for me – I can only eat a narrow sliver without feeling queasy and heavy afterward– so I thought that this eggless vegetable tart, from I Know How to Cook, might be a nice alternative, especially since husband is excessively fond of quiche (and yes: also quite secure in his masculinity).

I never seem to have all four vegetables on hand that the cookbook calls for and have always at least one veg short – so I’m going to give you options. I would actually recommend not including all of the recommended vegetables, as I’ve made this tart twice now, and both times, it was nearly overflowing the tart pan with three of the four, so … a fourth might just send the filling cascading over the sides of your tart pan, causing a nasty oven mess.

Of course, I’m pretty sure I’ve been including more gruyere than suggested. It’s very important not to let vegetables crowd out your cheese intake.

Vegetable Tart
adapted from I Know How to Cook

Tart dough:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
about a quarter cup of ice water

Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it’s incorporated in pea-sized lumps – you can use your fingers, two knives, a pastry cutter, a fork, or whatever to accomplish this.

Add water a tablespoon at a time to the flour/butter mixture and stir just until combined. You might need slightly more water to get the dough to adhere.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out for the tart pan. One can also simply “press” tart dough into a tart pan, but I always roll mine out. I think it would take more time and effort to press it in by hand than to simply make a circle.

B├ęchamel sauce (half quantity, make it thick):
2 tablespoons butter
2 generous tablespoons flour
1 cup milk, warmed (I use the microwave)
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in a small or medium skillet. Add flour and stir until incorporated and bubbly. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, and season to taste. Continue stirring until it bubbles and thickens, at which point you can turn the heat to low and leave it be until you need to use it (but do give it a little stir ever so often to be sure it doesn’t scorch).

Tart Filling:
At least three of the four of the following vegetables:
4 ounces diced green beans
4 ounces peas (frozen is fine)
4 ounces carrots, diced or sliced very thinly
4 ounces potatoes, diced
½ cup grated gruyere cheese (I probably use closer to 2/3 cup)
3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs (optional, but I think they really add something)

Preheat the oven to 400. Blind bake the pastry crust for about 15-20 minutes – you don’t want to bake it all the way, but it should be partially done. Meanwhile, blanch the vegetables in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until just tender, and drain thoroughly.

Spread half the b├ęchamel sauce over the pastry shell, then add the vegetables. I add about half of the cheese here. Spread over the other half of sauce, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and sprinkle the top with bread crumbs. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

This is exactly what I was hoping it would be: a not-too-rich, flavorful tart that’s simple to make and that doesn’t cause the tummy upset of quiche. It’s a great, light meal with salad or vegetables and would be heaven with a nice fruit crumble afterward.

If I have any complaints, it’s that the large quantity of vegetables makes this seem a bit healthier than it is, so I’m always tempted to over-consume. That’s really my problem, and not the tart’s. It’s a recommend!

Printable recipe here.

5 comments:

  1. Great dish, Becky. my tart pan is like a zillion years old...I think I brought it back from Dehellerin. This would be a great way to use it. I like the fact that it is eggless and the crumbs look soooogood.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just wanna tell you that you've got a lovely blog here! I love both writing and anything kitchen-related, too! Will keep coming back for more. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is way kewl... gotta give this a try! Thanks for posting it.
    Happy baking!
    LeeYong

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks! I appreciate it, both of you. @lostpast, the crumbs are the pest part! @Pei-Lin, you also have an adorable blog!

    ReplyDelete