I love savory tarts. While I have a bad affair with fruit tarts, not so with savory ones. In fact, I like them all, tomato tarts, zucchinis, with eggs, with cheese, with ricotta, you name it - A total affair of the belly.
And if you do overlook the actual tart, they are healthy too! (let me believe it ok)
So, when I saw what Dorie had choose for us to cook in the second week of French Friday’s with Dorie, I was giddy with excitement, one because it was a tart, and two it had carrots and leeks! And if there is anything I love more in the vegetable world, is leeks.
By the way, did you know that leeks were the national emblem of Wales?
The recipe calls to use a tart dough which needs to be partially baked ahead of time. I set out to space this out in two days - but, if you are lucky enough to work from home, you can probably get this done earlier in the day and the finish the whole thing in time to put this in your dinner table.
After I got home from work last night, I started with the tart. Pretty simple recipe really - flour, butter (I made sure my was frozen), sugar, egg and water. The best thing about this tart is that it can be used for savory and sweet fillings. The books gives you both way of making this, the lazy way (using your food processor) and the traditional way (using your hands). I choose to do this in my food processor, and in less than 5 minutes it was ready. The dough is going to be very crumbly, but no need to panic, as long as the dough holds its shape when pinched you are good to go. I dumped the whole thing on top of plastic wrap and shaped into a disk and into the refrigerator it went to chill for 3 hours. Afterwards, it was time to take out the rolling pin and go to town.
Dorie suggest to roll the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap, and I cannot stress this enough, since it is really the best way. I did encounter that when I started to roll, the dough was still a bit crumbly. I used my heel of my hand to knead it some and then started to roll it again and it came together perfectly.
Success! (I love when things work the way they should - yes, I’m looking at you caramel!).
I used a round tart shell and placing the rolled dough into it was a breeze. In fact, the tip of rolling the chill dough in-between the plastic wrap makes it super smooth. Afterwards, you chill it (or freeze it) the whole tart, covered with buttered foil for a least one hour before baking. I choose to freeze mine and then into the oven it went to partially bake for 20 minutes.
During this time, I started with the vegetables. I was going to totally use my mandoline, to cut even “batons”, but ended up using my knife to do it. I did make sure that everything was the same size and thickness in order to insure even cooking during the steaming. I used my bamboo steamer, and in 8 minutes my house had the aroma of a French bistros kitchen. I actually sat in my kitchen just so I could soak up the smells, while looking thru the cookbook. While the recipe does not call for it, I did season my vegetables once they came out of the steamer, habits are hard to break and I tend to season everything separately a bit, before mixing it together.
My mamma taught me that.
By 10pm, I had the tart pre-baked, the vegetables steamed and seriously thought of putting the whole thing together and baking it. This flew out the window when I could not find the Dijon mustard and realized that we were out. Oh well, I put everything away and I got myself into bed.
Putting this together on Thursday was faster than cracking the eggs. I used both of the mustards recommended by the recipe. Dijon as well as the grainy mustard, I went the heavy cream route, and made sure I tasted the whole thing before I season it again with salt and pepper. I got to come clean, I almost went my route and thought of grating some gruyere on it, but stopped myself and talked my way to just following the recipe as is before I did my own thing. But, next time - beware - it’s going to be a free for all.
At the 30 minute mark, my tart was all nice and puffed up and fully cooked. I took out of the oven and waited anxiously the required 5 minutes to un-mold it and another 10 minutes to dig in.
And I feel in love.
The tart was crunchy and flaky - it had a touch of sweetness from the sugar, which helped balance out the mild onion flavor of the leeks. The eggs turned out creamy and the mustard gave it that earthiness, rustic flavor that we expect from simple rustic French food.
This is a winner and I’m going to do the whole thing again, but using Dorie’s “Bonne Idee” and try the tomato-mustard variation next.
As with anything that I cook/bake with my cooking/baking clubs, recipes are not posted. You can get the book “Around my French Table” here (totally worth it) and you can also check out the other cooks creations over at the FFwD site.