Roasted Vegetable Tart

All over Pinterest I've been seeing (and religiously pinning) these mouth-watering tarts layered with vegetables in flaky, buttery crusts. Tarts like this Rosemary Potato Kale Tart or this Grilled Vegetable and Hummus Tart. Tarts that beckon my inner peasant. Tarts that could serve as survival sustenance if you happened to get lost in the great woods with one in your pack. Hearty, savory, brawny and bold.  I've been waiting for just the right occasion to make one, so a potluck invitation was a welcome excuse. 

Savory tarts are easily adaptable to whatever veggies are in season. They are great pantry-scavenged meals; You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand to make your own unique variation and you'll never get bored! I have a feeling, i will never make quite the same one again, so i will surely enjoy it with all the gusto of a last supper.

This particular tart uses a mixture of eggs and cream to help hold the medley together, so a slice comes out neat and clean. Not all tarts do. It slightly resembles a quiche, my favorite baked good, in this sense, but where the vegetables feature more prominently. I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit, substituting several ingredients I did have for those I did not. Experiment and have fun!

Ingredients  (Yields one 10" pie or 12" shallow tart) 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • several tablespoons ice water
  • 2 red peppers, roasted whole, peeled then slivered
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1" cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 8-10 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of sliced sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of shredded ricotta salata
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 15 or so fresh sage leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream (or milk)
  • 2 eggs

First, let's prep the crust! Add flour, sugar and salt to a food processor. Add chopped butter and pulse until pea-size lumps form. Drizzle 3 Tbsp. of ice water over mixture. Pulse, adding more ice water by tablespoonfuls, until you can press mixture together between two fingers and it sticks together. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk (which will make rolling it out easier) and wrap in plastic. Place in the fridge for at least an hour until firm. (Can be made ahead and stored for 2 days). 

While dough is chilling, arrange racks in the oven so there is one at the top and the other one one-up from the bottom. Preheat oven to 400˚. Chop and prepare all your ingredients. Brush olive oil on the red peppers and place in a small baking dish. Roast whole on the top rack of the preheated oven for ~40 minutes, turning 4 regularly to ensure even roasting.

Meanwhile, place the chopped eggplant in a baking dish with sides, toss with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and add to the bottom rack and roast for 15 minutes. Then stir around (to prevent sticking and burning) and add sweet potatoes and roast for an additional 25 minutes.

Remove roasted vegetables from oven when soft. Transfer the eggplant/potato mixture to a bowl and set aside. Set aside the red peppers for a few minutes until cool to the touch, then carefully remove stem and seeds and peel back skin. Slice into thin slivers and set aside again. Reduce the oven to 350˚.

At this point, the dough should be sufficiently chilled and firm. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until large enough for your pie/tart pan. Transfer to pie dish and press up the sides of the pan. Trim dough and freeze for 10 minutes.

While dough is freezing, pour the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan and put on medium high. Add onions. Once translucent, add garlic, chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and begin to caramelize. Once onions are a dark yellow, with slight brown edges, add the mushrooms and continue to slowly cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are moist and cooked through.

While that is cooking, continue prepping the tart crust. Line dough with foil or parchment paper; fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 25 minutes in the 350˚ oven ON THE MIDDLE RACK (Ah, you have to re-arrange the racks now, you see?). Remove foil and beans. Return to oven and bake until crust is light golden brown, 25–30 minutes longer. Let crust cool completely then add your onion and mushroom mixture, followed by the eggplant and potato. Then layer the red pepper and sage leaves. (It is looking so gorgeous and yummy already!) Finish with the ricotta and sundried tomatoes. Whisk together eggs and cream (or milk; I actually never have milk on hand unless making cheese, so I always substitute almond milk) and pour over the top of the tart.

Place in a 350˚ preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until baked through and crust is golden-brown. My tart was shallow so it took 45 minutes, while a deeper pie will probably bake closer to an hour.

Let cool for 10 minutes. Great served warm or at room-temperature.

I hope the potluck goers are happy with the result!
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