From the Galley – Savory Tarts


When I’m cooking for you on the David B, I really enjoy making things that you might not make for yourself at home. One of my favorite things to make is a savory tart that is filled with spinach and goat cheese, or Hempler’s Canadian bacon and cheddar. If we’ve been lucky and our crab pots have been full, then crab, Brie and scallions is another favorite combination.

Here are the items you will before you get your ingredients ready.

  • Tart pan with removable bottom
  • Food processor – if available
  • Cheese grater
  • Aluminum foil
  • Pie dish – to place on top of tart while par-baking
  • 1 medium bowl (2 if you don’t have a food processor)
  • Spray cooking oil
  • Small frying pan

Ingredients

Dough

  • Flour – 1  1/3 cup all purpose
  • Sugar – 1 Tablespoon
  • Sea Salt – to taste, around a teaspoon or so
  • Unsalted Butter – 1 stick that is chilled and preferably frozen
  • Ice Water – 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Herbs – your choice, but I like rosemary, thyme and oregano for most tarts although dill is always good with crab or salmon.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, if you’re like me and have a wood cook stove, don’t forget to keep adding wood once your oven is up to temperature.

Combine flour, sugar, sea salt and herbs into the food processor and pulse until mixed. If you don’t have a food processor, then whisk these ingredients together in a bowl.

Use a cheese grater to grate your stick of butter. Add the butter to the food processor and pulse for 10 seconds or so. If doing this by hand rub your thumb and forefinger together to blend the grated butter into the flour mixture. Your flour-butter mixture should have the consistency of pebbly sand.

Next you will add some of the ice water. You probably won’t use it all, so use a spoon to drop a tablespoon or so in at a time. Pulse your food processor for a second or two after adding the water and keep repeating this until you have a dough that looks a bit like sugar cookie dough.

Grab your tart pan and give it a quick spray or wipe down with some oil to make sure your tart won’t stick. Then start grabbing pieces of your tart dough and begin pressing the dough into the pan. It’s going to look rough and kind of ugly, but don’t worry, it will blend together while it’s baking. Before baking, I like to take a brush of melted butter or olive oil to the crust to make a seal between the crust and the filling. This is optional.

When your tart dough is shaped evenly through out the pan, take a piece of aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray oil then set it down on the tart dough. Lightly press then take the pan and put it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill. I’m usually in a hurry, but if you have time, you and put it into the fridge to let it cool down and rest before baking. Don’t forget, if you’re cooking with wood to peek into the firebox to see if you need to add firewood.

While you are waiting for you dough to cool down, it’s a good time to clean up, wash a couple of dishes and dream about what will go into the tart’s filling. The basic ingredients for the filling will be eggs, and sour cream, a little salt and a little pepper.

Filling

  • Shallots – 2, chopped or sliced. It’s really up your creative devices to decide how you want your shallots cut so have fun!
  • Garlic – I like to use a micro-plane and make a paste, but you can chop or mince also.
  • Eggs – 4 large or 5 medium
  • Salt -to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Tabasco – to taste
  • Ideas to dress up the filling: Spinach and Goat Cheese – Ham and Cheddar – Salmon, Scallions and Parmesan – Crab and Brie or anything that sounds good to you.

Gather up all of your ingredients and when they are all ready to go, take your dough out of the freezer. Leave the foil on and place a pie dish on top of the aluminum foil. Put into the oven for about 15 minutes. Don’t forget to check for how much wood is in the firebox at this time if you are cooking with wood.

While the crust is in the oven, place a small frying pan on the stove set to medium, add few drops of oil and cook your shallots for 5 minutes or so, then add your garlic and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Set aside.

Next grab your medium mixing bowl and crack your eggs into the bowl, lightly beat them and then mix in all of the other ingredients.

Check your crust in the oven and if the edges are turning a golden brown, then take it out of the oven. Remove the pie dish and the foil. Check firebox again if you are cooking with wood.

While the tart crust cools for a moment or two, mix the shallots and garlic into the egg mixture and then spoon the whole mixture into the crust.

Place your tart back into the oven and let it bake for roughly 30 minutes or until it’s lightly browned and the middle has the firmness of a block of firm tofu.

Once you’re happy with your tart’s doneness, take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly if you are going to serve warm. You can also refrigerate if you plan on serving it cold.

Don’t forget to check the firebox if you need to keep the wood stove going.

Happy Holidays!

-Christine


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