Teasing You with a Tart

March 23, 2009


It’s a beauty isn’t it? It was delicious too. I want to share this recipe with you all, but I can’t just yet.

You see, this tart has issues. Crust issues and filling issues. It doesn’t have flavor issues which is why I’m even willing to give another chance.

This recipe comes from one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Fields of Greens, written by Annie Sommerville, the chef at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. It is a book I turn to when I want to make something special. The recipes are not difficult, but many require a fair amount of work. In my experience, that work has always been worth it because the payoff is something truly special and delicious. And the recipes always turn out.

The crust she suggests you use is a yeasted tart dough. I have used it for other tarts in this and Sommerville’s other book, Everyday Greens, and I have decided that it’s just not for me. It’s easy to make and work with, but I don’t like the texture. I expect my tart crust to be crisp, as a foil for the creaminess of the filling. The yeasted dough felt like I was eating tart filling on top of a slice of bread.

I had some galette dough in my freezer so I decided to try that. It wasn’t quite right either, not crisp enough for me when made in a tart pan, although plenty crisp when used for the galette. Clearly, I need another option.

The biggest tinkering challenge I have ahead of me is the filling. The proportions are way off in this recipe – something I find very surprising coming from this extremely reliable cookbook. There is about one and half times too much filling so that, even though I held quite a bit of it back, it started to run over the top and outside the tart pan (read: onto the floor of my oven.) Yes, I had a baking sheet in there to catch the drips, but I was making two tarts and the baking sheet wasn’t quite big enough to catch all the goop. Side note: you know how high end cars (like Porsches) famously don’t have cup holders? My high end (Viking) oven does not have a timer or a self-cleaning option. Sigh.

So the recipe makes too much filling, and what it does make is too runny. Normally, if a recipe gave me this much trouble, I would just write in bold letters, “DO NOT MAKE AGAIN” in my cookbook. But this was really tasty and the flavor is haunting me. There is Gruyere cheese in there and chervil, people. This tart deserves another chance.


  1. I’d gladly give it another chance if I had the cookbook. It’s unfortunate that the recipe isn’t as reliable as you imagined, but just think about all the delicious reject trials you get to taste :) Can’t you at least tell us what vegetables are in it? I spy onions and asparagus, suspended in what looks like a myriad of cheeses, but perhaps the other goodies are snuggled deep down in the filling. Best of luck with the recipe!

    Comment by Chris @ Beyond Ramen — March 24, 2009 @ 3:28 am

  2. Sorry about that Chris! I was so consumed with telling you about what didn’t go well, I didn’t even tell you why I liked it! It’s an asparagus and red onion tart. The Gruyere is on the bottom, vegetables next, and the problematic custard was made with eggs, cream and creme fraiche.

    Comment by Dana Treat — March 24, 2009 @ 5:49 am

  3. that really is a tease! i guessed it had asparagus and onions..and im right!! i defenitely think this deserves a second chance!! :)

    Comment by Superchef — March 24, 2009 @ 5:51 am

  4. Well, it looks great, and gruyere sounds delicious. I took a class taught by Nick Malgieri awhile back, and he mentioned that he bakes tarts right on the oven floor to get the bottom crust to cook through and become crisp. He seemed to have a thing about really getting crusts crisp.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — March 24, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Dana, this is a gorgeous tart!
    I made a similar quiche w/ asparagus & leeks this week!
    It’s so springy!

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — March 28, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

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