Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tarte Salée, move over quiche


I'll say it, I don't like Quiche. I like scrambled, poached, fried, hard boiled, soft boiled eggs but I don't like quiche. I know, real men love quiche... oh, bad argument. While looking for French recipes for a party I'm feeding, I stumbled on Tarte Salée; basically a quiche but richer, taller, and more French (meaning richer, unabashedly richer).

Next topic, pizza. My favorite dessert pizza is a pear - blue cheese pizza with a drizzle of honey. Combine the pizza with the Tarte, boom. We've arrived.




This recipe serves eight. Don't let the photo frighten you. I made the recipe times 5 to feed a crowd.
 

 

Tarte Salée with Ham, Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Pear

Serves 8
I've adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz's recipe found in My Paris Kitchen
Hardware: You'll need a spring-form pan or a deep cake pan.
Crust (Don't be afraid, but if you are, you could... you could... use a store bought pie crust... but this recipe would fill probably two pie crusts and not be as cool. A deep cake pan would work, but I would place some strips of parchment paper in the pan before adding the tart dough, making it easier to lift out of the pan.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 oz. (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 large egg
 
Filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, cut into long strips, rings, or diced
salt and freshly cracked pepper and maybe some Aleppo pepper, or hot pepper flakes
1 large pear, peeled and cut into small cubes. I used a spiral corer and cutter.
1 cup diced roasted ham (or boiled will do)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or if you'd like to cut the fat just a bit, half and half or even not very French milk)
8 oz. cream cheese (Neufchatel will again cut a bit of fat)
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
Chopped chives
 
  • Combine flour, cornmeal and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or food processor.
  • Add cold, cubed butter and blend to a point where you see crumbles or flakes of butter. Don't over blend.
  • Add the egg and while processor or mixer is running.
  • Dump out contents and pull it together. Create a disc of dough, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The biggest mistake people make with tart/pie dough is over mixing or letting ingredients become too warm.
  • Roll chilled dough into a large, thin circle and place in pan. Being an enriched dough (egg) you can patch any cracks or holes.
  • Refrigerate while you proceed with the filling.
  • Preheat Oven to 375 F
  • in a Dutch oven or large pot sauté onion with some salt, pepper, and maybe some pepper flakes in the olive oil until softened.
  • Add pears and ham, stir and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat cream cheese to softened a bit and then add cream, nutmeg, eggs and yolks until well combined.  
  • Scoop onion, pear, ham mixture into your chilled tart shell.
  • Sprinkle blue cheese on top.
  • Pour egg custard on top.
  • Sprinkle top with chives.
  • If using a spring-form pan, wrap foil around the bottom of the pan before baking to prevent spillage.
  • Bake until top is browned but the filling still jiggles a bit. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
  • Cool just until the tart firms up a bit.
  • Slice and serve.
As I always recommend, use ingredients that you like and have on hand. Apples instead of pears, bacon instead of ham, parsley instead of chives...
You can also allow the tart to cool, wrap it in foil and then plastic wrap and freeze. Make two, have one in the freezer. To bake a frozen tart:  Don't thaw, simply put it into the cold oven, and then turn up to 375°F. The quiche will thaw with the rising temperature. When your oven has reached the 400, leave your quiche in there for another 25-30 minutes. It will be just perfect.
 
Tart shell with filling in a spring-form pan

Pour the egg custard over the filling


Ready? GO!
 



 

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