Ever since moving into my first apartment many many years ago, I have subscribed to food magazines. The roster has changed a bit, but receiving at least one and as many as five magazines full of glossy food pages has been a constant in my cooking life. I do love cookbooks, oh how I love cookbooks, but I also love how current magazines are and I also love the monthly inspiration. My routine was that every couple of months, I would sit down and tear out recipes that I had flagged, then I would cut them out, then I would tape them into binders I have that are filled with almost twenty years of magazine recipes.
Then life got super super busy. I have an over two year backlog of magazines in our bulging magazine holder and a whole other pile of recipes that are cut out but need to be taped. Periodically I feel guilty. So many recipes waiting to take up residence in my cute binders! So many things waiting to be cooked! And then the end of the day comes and I am spent and the last thing I feel like doing is dealing with my magazines. So I put them off again. Periodically, I think about just recycling all of those old magazines and starting fresh with the December issues. But there are treasures in there. Like this recipe.
I cut this out years ago, the actual recipe is from Gourmet (sob!) back in 2001. I cut out the photo as well and every time I page through the appetizer section of that binder, I look at it longingly. You see, up until recently, I did not have a rectangular tart pan. Of course, I could have made it in a round pan but that didn’t seem right to me. I wanted to serve it in little bites, just like the photo in the magazine.
Last week was the last of my catered openings at the art gallery (although I hope to do more next year). I’ve paid off my spoons. This opening was for Erik Hall, the gallery owner (along with his amazing wife) and an incredibly talented artist. I have been waiting for the right excuse to make this tart ever since I bought that pan and November and an art opening seemed just right.
After gazing at the photo for so many years and cursing the fact that I did not have a rectangular pan, it might have turned out that the tart was a disappointment. Nope. Very easy to make, very pretty, holds well, and a terrific contrast of flavor and texture. The crunch of the crust, the creaminess of the filling, the sharpness of the cheese, and then the sour bite of the chutney combines for a delicious bite. I can only say this with authority because I made the tart twice. The first time, at the gallery, it got devoured before I had a chance to try a piece. So because I wanted to taste it, and because I wanted to share the recipe with you, and because I was smart enough to double the crust recipe, and because the chutney makes a lot, I can now say, without hesitation, Make This Tart! It would be a beautiful way to welcome your Thanksgiving guests. Or, if you travel by car for the holiday, you can still make it. Just bring the tart in its pan and cut and top it at your destination.
One Year Ago: Romaine Leaves with Caesar Dressing and a Big Crouton
Two Years Ago: Holly B’s Gingersnap Cookies
Three Years Ago: Bulgur and Green Lentil Salad with Chickpeas
Stilton Tart with Cranberry Chutney
Makes 32 appetizer portions (more if you cut the pieces larger)
For the pastry dough:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter and shortening lumps. Drizzle evenly with 3 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again. (If you overwork mixture, pastry will be tough.)
Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion. Gather dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
For the tart:
1 recipe Pastry Dough (see above)
1 cup heavy cream
1 whole large egg
2 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
5 oz chilled Stilton, rind removed and cheese crumbled (1½ cups)
Make tart shell:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 17- by 8-inch rectangle and fit into tart pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom and sides all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Line pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes, then carefully remove foil and weights and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool shell in pan 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Whisk together cream, whole egg, yolks, salt, and pepper until combined.
Put tart shell (still in pan) on a baking sheet and scatter cheese evenly in shell. Slowly pour custard into shell and bake in middle of oven until golden around edge and custard is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on a rack.
Cut tart into 32 rectangles and serve at room temperature, topped with chutney.
(Dana’s Make Ahead Tips: You can make the pastry dough up to one month in advance, wrap it well, and freeze it. Allow it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. You can blind bake the shell earlier in the day and let it cool completely before filling and continuing to bake. Finally, you can wrap the whole tart well, still in its pan, and refrigerate it overnight. Allow it to come to room temperature for several hours before serving or heat it for about 10 minutes in a low oven.)
Makes about 2 cups
You will have more chutney than you need for this recipe but it’s delicious and it keeps well.
2 large shallots (3 oz), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed)
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes