Posts Tagged Tart

Beet Pot Pie

I think I was overexposed to certain things as a child. Things like ponies and precious little heart-shaped objects and anything pink.

I hate pink. Pink is for little girls and Valentine’s Day cards and Pepto Bismol commercials. It is very rarely allowed to invade my home.

Obviously there’s an exception clause for food. Raspberry tarts and curds, salmon poached in red wine, and anything made with beets can’t help but be pink. If the flavor is assertive enough, I’ll forgive my dinner for looking a bit girlish and twee.

This definitely makes the cut.


Beets and goat cheese really should never be separated. Puree the two together, bake them in a crust, and you’ve got a delightfully filling vegetarian meal. It is also the most brightly colored pot pie you’ve ever seen.


The filling and crust can just as easily be made in a 9″ tart or pie tin. I enjoy the deep dish ramekins, but mostly because they provide an excuse to dig in with a spoon.


For the crust:


1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

1/4 t white pepper

1/4 t nutmeg

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water

For the filling:


3 medium beets

4 oz goat cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup cream

1/4 t white pepper

1/4 t nutmeg

salt, to taste


First, roast the beets. Rub them with a little olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and bake at 400°F for an hour or so.


While those are roasting, make the crust. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor.


Pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.


Pulse in 1-2 second bursts until the dough is the consistency of damp sand. Add the water and run the machine until the dough comes together.


Sprinkle the counter lightly with flour and turn out the dough onto it.


Roll it about 1/8″ thick in a vague rectangle shape (or round if using a pie/tart pan). Butter two 10-oz ramekins (or 4 6-oz ones, or a pie tin).


One could line things neatly. Or, if one is not talented at doing things neatly, just flop the dough into the prepared bakeware, call the draping parts rustic, and have done with it.


Put the ramekins in the refrigerator while you make the filling. The food processor is useful again here, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wash it. Put the roasted beets in the bowl.




This is not pink. It is a delightful deep red.

Add the goat cheese and process until uniform in color.


Now it’s pink. Lament.


Add cream, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.


Give it another whirl to combine.


Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.


Serve with green beans sautéed with dried cranberries. Just trust me. It’s a weird combination but oh so good.


This is just as good as a hot dinner or a cold meal the next day. The filling is very soft. If you feel it would be improved by a bit of crunch, throw a handful of chopped walnuts on top or fold them into the filling before baking.


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Asparagus Tart

I’m a big fan of savory tarts. The broccoli cheddar tart is a winter favorite around here, and quiches filled with spices and greens crop up quite often as well. If I have a few scraps of cheese and a couple of different vegetables in the fridge, there’s a good chance they’ll be thrown together in a tart without any real recipe or planning.

All these things are delicious. Cheese, flaky crust, eggy filling; who could say no? But they aren’t exactly healthy. And that’s a shame, because there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.


So I tried for healthier. No more all-butter crust: I went with whole wheat flour, olive oil, ricotta cheese, and loads of vegetables. It could be leaner, with low-fat ricotta and broth or low fat milk instead of cream, but I didn’t go there. Honestly I’ve never bought a low-fat cheese in my life and don’t intend to. This recipe is easy to modify. Don’t like asparagus? Try greens, mushrooms, carrot coins, squash, or whatever else strikes your fancy.


Ingredients (serves 6-8)

For the crust:


1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 t white pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

3 T ice water

For the filling:


1/2 cup ricotta cheese

4 oz goat cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup cream

1 lb asparagus

about 1/2 t salt

parmesan, to taste


For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the olive oil.


Stir with a spoon until the mixture is uniform.


Add the water and knead until the dough forms a ball.


Press the dough into a buttered tart pan or pie tin. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.


Boil the asparagus for 3-5 minutes while the crust is baking.


When the crust is done, spread a layer of ricotta across the bottom of it.


Crumble the goat cheese over the ricotta. Mix the egg and cream in a small bowl.


Pour the egg and cream over the cheese, and top with the asparagus. Sprinkle the tart with salt.


Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.


Serve immediately.


This crust is different, very crumbly and complex. I didn’t expect to like it; ordinarily I don’t even keep whole wheat flour in the apartment, because the texture annoys me. The simplicity of it with the olive oil, and the soft, rich filling offset that enough to make me go back for seconds on this one.

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Spinach and Potato Quiche

The quiche is a dish that I always struggle with. Not because they’re difficult to make, but because I always want it to be something new and different and interesting. I’m happy to throw together a plain cheese quiche if I want to play with a good strong cheese, but since I have a bad habit of just snarfing down good strong cheeses with apple cider and maybe a few crackers, this is rarely an option.

Adding Indian spices and a great big heap of spinach, on the other hand, is always an option. As usual, I tailor the tart crust to the filling, so the dough is made with garam masala. Chile powder would be a nice addition as well.


For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

2 t garam masala

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water


For the filling:

1 large potato

2 cloves garlic

about 4 cups spinach leaves

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

6 oz mozzarella cheese

1 T garam masala

2 t turmeric

1 t salt

1 T dried chiles (pequins, or chopped other peppers, optional)


For the crust:

Combine the flour, salt, and garam masala in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the dry ingredients briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.

Process the butter and flour mixture until it looks like damp sand. Add the water bit by bit and process just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough and press it  into a buttered tart pan.

Bake, lined with foil and pie weights, for 15 minutes. Set aside.

For the filling:

Chop the potato into bite-sized pieces and boil them for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet (I love cast iron) over medium heat and cook the garlic until it is aromatic and toasty.

Add the spinach and spices and cook 5-7 minutes.

You’ll know it’s ready when it has cooked down thoroughly.

Add the potatoes and toss to coat with spices and add just a touch of crispiness to the edges. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs and milk.

Whisk to combine, and stir in the cheese and salt.

Add the potato and spinach, and peppers if using.

Stir to combine.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.

Serve immediately.

I know it’s not traditional to any cuisine. It’s fun and delicious. Mr. B slathers his with Sriracha and has cold leftovers for breakfast. I can’t stand a cold quiche (or pizza or anything else meant to be served hot) but apparently this is just a guy thing that I have to get used to.

In any case, this was a fantastic experiment. I’ll be making it again soon.

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More GMO Notes, and a Chocolate Caramel Coffee Tart

Do you see the little “Science!” label down there on the right? After you scroll down a bit, underneath all the tasty stuff?

Exhibit A: Tasty Stuff

Those scientists and science bloggers are working hard to make foods better, safer, and more understandable for everyone else. Recently, the good folks at Biofortified have explained, in very clear terms, why GM foods don’t have any more scary genes in them than any other foods you’ve ever eaten, since of course bacteria and viruses are already everywhere, and every time you eat anything you eat the little guys and all of their genes as well. And if you still think after my earlier discussion of the subject that GM foods lead to horizontal gene transfer and presumably plant-people? The GMO Pundit explains an article that shows that a happy little beetle managed to get a useful little bacteria gene all his own, without a GMO in sight.

I know this is a food blog, and I promised chocolate, so I’ll keep this short. Basically, if you cook, you use science. You don’t have to think in terms of chemistry when caramelizing sugar, because following the protocol recipe will get you results just the same. You don’t need to know the biological mechanisms of capsiacinoids to add the heat of chile to a dish. But I think at least knowing the information is out there– and that it’s available and understandable if you’re interested whether you did well in science in school or not– is important. And hey, it’s cool! Scientists are doing things with plants and nutrition that look straight out of science fiction, and it’s brilliant. Give it a quick peek, is all I’m saying.

So now we can get back to caramelizing sugar and melting chocolate and keeping that smell in your kitchen as long as possible.  Because caramel and chocolate go together like nothing else. Because coffee makes both caramel and chocolate taste better. And because everyone should have a chocolate tart recipe. So I adapted one from David Lebovitz. I removed the flour from his filling, as mine seemed thick enough without it and I want to be able to pour it into a gluten-free crust* if we have company with Celiac. The chocolate is a tad darker in mine as well, but offset by the slightly sweeter chocolate ovals used to decorate it. And the smell in the kitchen? I turned off all air circulation in the apartment just so we could breathe it a little longer. It’s sweet and complex and full of coffee. If we could bottle that smell, I could quit my day job and just sell chocolate-caramel-coffee scented candles because who doesn’t want a dozen of those?

Ingredients (Makes 1 9-inch tart; serves 10-12. Crust adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s sweet tart dough, filling adapted from David Lebovitz’ chocolate tart)

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

9 T butter

1 egg

For the filling:

1 cup sugar

6 oz. espresso

8 T (1/4 lb, 1 stick, 4 oz) butter

3 oz unsweetened chocolate

3 oz bittersweet (72% +) chocolate

2 eggs at room temperature

1 T vanilla extract

optional: for a bit of heat, add 1-3 t chile powder when you add the chocolate (how much you use depends on the heat of the powder you’re using; a pinch of Habañero powder goes a lot further than a whole teaspoon of Poblano).

Directions The crust comes first, of course. To prevent it being grainy, you’ll want to use superfine sugar. To make superfine sugar, place granulated sugar in the bowl of your food processor  and run it for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the flour and salt and pulse briefly to combine.

Add the butter and egg (and the vanilla, not shown).

Apparently I forgot to keep taking pictures of dough making, but if you’d find them helpful it’s just about the same dough as used way back here for a lemon-blueberry tart. Sorry about that. Pulse the dough in 2-3 second bursts until it comes together in a smooth ball. Chill the dough for two hours or more, then roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Line a buttered 9-inch tart pan with the dough, and line the prepared crust with buttered tin foil. Add pie weights and bake with foil and weights at 375°F for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake another 10 minutes to brown. Set aside the crust and turn the oven down to 350°F. Start the filling by caramelizing some sugar. Just pour a cup of sugar into a saucepan. . .

. . .and heat it up over medium-high heat, stirring gently, until you have thick, bubbly caramel.

Pour in the espresso and whisk vigorously to combine.

Try not to spill espresso all over the chocolate. Add the butter to the coffee-caramel mixture.

Whisk in the butter and add the chocolate.

Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Test the temperature of the mixture by dipping a spoon in it and tasting. If it’s scalding to the tongue, keep whisking until it’s merely pleasantly warm before adding your eggs. Unless of course you want scrambled eggs in you chocolate tart. When the mixture is not too hot, add the eggs.

Whisk the eggs in, giving the filling a lovely pudding-like texture, and pour it into the waiting tart shell.

Bake at 350°F for 20-22 minutes until the filling is just set but not dry or cracking. If you have any pretty chocolate pieces like these Valrhona fèves lying around, grab a handful for decorating the top. What can I say? I can’t resist the bulk chocolates at Central Market.

The texture is completely smooth, almost a warm pudding. The tart shell adds sweetness and a lovely crunch to the mixture, and the sweeter chocolates on top (only 53% cocoa) finished it out perfectly.

I didn’t cut into the tart warm, as it was a birthday tart for a co-worker and tradition dictates that the birthday boy or girl gets to cut the first slice, but I did re-heat a slice in the oven the next night and it was divine. Not that anyone complained at room temperature; there really is no comparison to a good chocolate tart.

Sadly, I can’t make or eat anything like this right now; I had my third molars removed this morning and am having a certain amount of difficulty with yogurt and mashed potatoes, let alone a delightful flaky-crisp tart shell. So eat one of these for me, okay?

* to make this a gluten-free pie or tart, simply use this filling and the gluten-free graham cracker crust found here, or any other GF crust that you like.

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Broccoli Cheddar Tart

Broccoli and cheese is one of those rare irresistible combinations. Children everywhere know that no matter how much they hate broccoli, it will be magically transformed into tasty green nachos if you just throw enough melted cheese at it. Adults who know better than to say they hate broccoli enjoy it for the excuse to eat all that glorious cheese while still claiming they’re being healthy. And for those of us who love broccoli already? Jackpot.

A normal person, faced with the first really chilly day of Fall, might work from this principle to make broccoli cheese soup.

I don’t eat soup.

I made a tart instead.

This little beauty is somewhere between a quiche and a pizza, and better than both. A hot, flaky crust spiked with mustard powder holds in a thick, almost smoky filling of cheese and broccoli and more cheese.

Most foods containing cheddar are barred on principle from being labeled “elegant”. This tart is an exception to that rule. I would be happy to serve this at a fancy dinner party (although I’m happier making it for just Mr. B and me, and having leftovers for a few days), especially considering how simple it is to put together.

The crust is adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, filling adapted beyond recognition from an olive and goat-cheese tart in Cool Food.

Ingredients (makes 1 9-inch tart, serves 6-8)

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

1/2 t mustard powder

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water

For the filling:

2 cups broccoli florets

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese

1 egg

1 T mustard

dash Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup cream

salt, to taste


Crust comes first. Preheat the oven to 400°F if you plan to pre-bake the crust (I recommend it). Combine the flour, salt, and mustard powder in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the dry ingredients briefly to combine.

Add the butter in chunks.

Process the butter and flour until it looks like damp sand.

Add the water bit by bit and process just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Butter a 9-inch tart pan and roll out the dough. Sorry, I get too covered in flour when rolling to risk the camera, so no pictures of that step.

Press the dough into the buttered tin and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Bake the tart crust at 400°F for about 15 minutes, then set it aside while you prepare the filling.

Turn the oven down to 350°F. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and boil or steam them for just a minute or two–only long enough to turn them bright green.

Drain the broccoli well.

Arrange the broccoli in a layer in the tart crust (this was the moment when I realized that not pre-baking the crust would lead to soggy crust. Oops.)

Grate the cheddar and add it on top of the broccoli.

Crack the egg into a small bowl.

Add the cream, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Mix well with a fork or tiny whisk (incidentally, my tiny whisk in the Santa hat died. Anyone know where tiny whisks come from?)

Drizzle the egg and cream mixture over the cheese and broccoli.

Sprinkle some kosher salt over the top if you like. I always like more salt. You could add a sprinkling of bread crumbs, too, if you want some extra crunch, but it isn’t necessary.

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown. Serve hot with a spinach salad or on its own as a light meal.

My favorite part about this is the broccoli. Boiling it prevents it from burning, and the long turn in the oven gives it the rich, smoky flavor of roasted broccoli. Basically, you should make this. It will make grown men do dishes in hopes of sneaking seconds. It’s that good.

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Lemon Blueberry Tart

Right about now I have to stop and let you know that it is day 800 (okay, so I lost count and am guessing. It feels like 800.) of temperatures over 100°F. Until further notice, all desserts are cold and 90% of them will come in the form of milkshakes. However, my friend likes blueberries best, so there was also this.

Apparently this tart is the best thing I’ve ever made. So say my co-workers. And I have to admit, it was pretty tasty. I love this tart crust (Dorie Greenspan’s), even if it always resists my every attempt to roll it neatly and transfer it to the tart pan. It falls to crumbs. The texture that makes the chilled dough so frustrating to work with leads to such a delightful crunchy crumb once baked that I always forgive it instantly.

And then there’s the filling–as lemony as lemon curd, light, tangy, joyful, and COLD. Can I just make one of these and go live in the refrigerator until it rains or we get a cold front or both? Thanks.

Finally, top it off with piles of blueberries. Or any other fruit you like. I made a pair of single-serving tarts with the leftover crust dough, and topped mine with sliced banana and Mr. B just had his plain. But really, who doesn’t love blueberries?

Ingredients (makes 1 9-inch tart, serves maybe 10-12. )

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup superfine sugar*

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

9 T butter

1 egg yolk

For the filling:

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup cream

For the topping:

2 cups fresh blueberries, or 3-4 sliced bananas, or a few mangoes and kiwis, sliced, or anything else you can think up.


First of all, I don’t know if you can buy superfine sugar. Confectioner’s/powdered sugar isn’t ideal here, because there’s corn starch in it. That can taste chalky, and possibly mess up the crust. To turn granulated sugar into superfine sugar, just toss 1/2 cup of sugar into the bowl of a food processor and run it for 30 seconds to a minute.

Voilà! The grains are tiny now. Add the flour and salt and pulse briefly to combine them. Add the cold butter in chunks, the yolk, and the vanilla.

Pulse in 10-second intervals until the dough comes together in a ball.

Let it chill in the fridge for at least two hours. When you get it out again, it’ll need a few minutes to soften up enough to work with. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

You don’t have to roll it, but don’t try to use all the dough to line your tart pan, either. The easiest way for me to do this is to roll out the dough and transfer it to the pan in irregular patches, then press the patches together. I had enough dough left over to line two 3/4 cup tart pans.

Cover the crust in buttered (guess who forgot that step?) foil and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 10.

Slightly burned. Just as tasty. Time to start the filling! Whisk the sugar and eggs together.

Whisk in the lemon juice and cream.

Pour the filling into the tart shell.

Bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes until it no longer sloshes.

Put the cooked tart in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve, pile on the blueberries. Try not to eat too many berries at this time–you need enough to cover the tart.

And that’s it. You can add a sprinkling of powdered sugar if you like, or melt some apricot jam and brush it over the berries to make them shiny and glue them in place, but you don’t have to. Eat cold with a big glass of lemonade. Repeat until the weather improves.

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Apple Tart with Sorbet and Lime

I really do eat an apple a day with my lunch. Usually a PB&J as well, and often a cheese stick. Some of my eating habits, in other words, have not changed since the first grade. Apples are great. They’re good raw and plain, with peanut butter or cinnamon sugar, diced into yogurt, and of course made into pie.

But an American apple pie just wouldn’t do to follow fondue. It’s too heavy and rich, and when you’ve just eaten enough cholesterol to stagger a moose and are picking at carrots in guilty recollection of New Year’s Resolutions,  “rich” and “rib-sticking” are not the adjectives you want in your dessert. “Fruity” and “subtle,” on the other hand, will do nicely.

I cheated making this. I used frozen puff pastry. I’m sorry.  I’m even sorrier that it tastes no different than the stuff I used to spend hours on in the kitchen. Oh well. Here it is:

Apple Tart

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry

4-5 small apples

1 t lemon or lime juice (I had lime juice handy because of the sorbet and lime balls)

1 t vanilla

2 T butter, plus more for buttering pan

1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)

1/2 t cinnamon or 1T Goldschlager

Butter an 8×8 pan and line with thawed puff pastry, turning down the edges to make a little crust. If you made your own puff pastry, I applaud you. I doubt I’ll be doing it again. Slice apples very thin and arrange in overlapping layers in a pattern of your choice. Brush with lime juice and vanilla (I just mixed ’em) to keep apples from browning. Cut butter into itty-bitty pieces and dot the tart with them. Sprinkle brown sugar over it all. You might not want as much sugar as that; it really is supposed to be pretty subtle. Dust with cinnamon or sprinkle with Goldschlager or other liqueur of your choice. This will keep in the fridge for a day or two. When you’re ready to make it, heat oven to 400ºF and bake for 20-22 minutes until it smells apply and the pastry edges are nice and crisp. Enjoy!

But wait! I promised you sorbet and lime balls. They’re super easy. You need: 1 lime per 2 people, and a scoop of sorbet for each lime half.

Cut the bottom and top 1/4 inch of each lime off, then cut the limes in half. Scoop out the delicious innards, but let the juice pool in the skins. Fill with a scoop of raspberry or orange or even lime sorbet. Wrap loosely in foil and put in the freezer until ready to serve. They do make an impression!

It started to melt on the counter while I was looking for the camera. Came out yummy though. I love how the lime juice gets sucked up into the sorbet, making it tart and limey.

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