March 8, 2008

Snow and savory tart

Friday evening and a nice quiet night at home. The weather calls for snow and though I laugh at the local news reports around here when it comes to forecasting winter weather (I'm from Colorado)--getting the salt trucks and the chains out, school closures and general hysteria--all for just a couple of inches! Still, I am hopeful that this time could be 'the big one'.

What to make for dinner? Something warm and comforting, simple but fun. We have all night and nowhere to go, so time is not an issue. I think about the savory tarts at work that I see being put together with all kinds of leftovers--veggies and combinations of things like sweet potatoes, kale, mushrooms, onions, peppers--anything that happens to be lying around. What a perfect winter dish...

So I get in the kitchen and make a quick tart dough. I used Alice Waters's recipe but it's just like any buttery pie crust really.
2 c. AP flour
1 c ice water
1 1/2 sticks of butter

Get your ice water ready (about a cup but sometimes you need more), and cut your cold unsalted butter into small cubes, then put flour in a bowl, get out the dough blender (I used mine for the first time- much easier than getting out the mixer for such a small amount of dough), and cut the butter into the flour until it's almost like cornmeal, leaving some larger chunks of butter intact (this will produce that desired flakiness when rolled out). Then add your ice water pouring slowly with one hand while mixing with a fork with the other, until dough comes together enough to handle. Push it togther a bit and wrap in plastic, flatten into a disk (or two--this is enough for two 8-in. tarts, or one with a top) and chill for about 1 hour.

While the dough was chilling, I made my filling: carmelized onions, diced potatoes and rainbow chard with garlic. I sauteed each one separately in my skillet, then combined it all in a bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper and left it to cool (if it goes in hot it could make your tart soggy on the bottom).

(Drink some wine, talk on the phone to my friend in Napa who's gettting married in May, drink some more wine...indeed it is snowing!)

The dough is ready. Roll it out into a jagged-edged circle about 1/4 in. thick ...

and place it in a pie shell, load the filling and fold the edges up and over. I egg-washed the rim of the tart so it would be nice and golden, then pop it in the oven for about 45 min.

(oh, and when it's 10 min. to go, you could add some shredded mozzarella to the top for extra goodness).

I love the anticipation of opening the oven door to see what you're going to get. It's like a little experiment each time and every time is slightly different with these rustic savory tarts. You could put anything into them and the crust is so reliable and yummy, very buttery and flaky--the perfect compliment to those bright and beautiful veggies. It's savory cooking and baking all in one! My perfect combination.

And this morning- Snow!!!


  1. beautiful...
    i need a pastry lesson
    but it probably wouldn't help
    because i just am a total pastry failure.

    sooooooo sad

  2. why do you loathe the pastry? I would love to give you a lesson but not sure how! I just do it (and I do follow recipes).
    you can give me a mole lesson in return!

  3. Snow and savory tart sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing post