For People Who Fear Crust

March 24, 2010

Some people are afraid of yeast so they don’t make bread.  Some people are afraid of crusts so they don’t make tarts or pies.  (I myself am afraid of frosting layer cakes but I don’t let it stop me.)  So, If I say “tart”, are you one of those people who gets scared?   Truth be told, I find crusts can be tricky even thought I have made a lot of them.  Every time I make a pie, I say a little prayer to the crust gods to make things go smoothly.  My only advice is that it helps to have a good recipe and lots of practice.

If you do suffer from a crust phobia, please make this pie.  I would say it’s like a crust-less quiche, but it does in fact have a crust.  It is nothing more than some breadcrumbs sprinkled into a buttered pie plate, but somehow just that little bit of attention makes it more elegant, interesting, and also helps hold the slices together.  The lack of a butter and/or shortening  crust also makes a slice much lighter and healthier – so you can be a little more heavy-handed with the cheese.

This is one of many Jeanne Lemlin tarts that I have made – all easy, all delicious.  It is totally adaptable and great for lunch, brunch, or dinner.  Although she says it is important to use Swiss cheese in this one to help keep it all together, I bet you could substitute another firm cheese and have it turn out fabulously well.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Zucchini, Tomato, and Swiss Cheese Pie
Adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures
Serves 4

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup bread crumbs
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fennel seed
¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
¼ pound grated Swiss cheese
3 tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375º F.  Butter a 9 inch pie plate, then sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the sides and bottom.  Allow whatever loose crumbs are there to just sit on the bottom.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom, then add the onion.  Sauté until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and sauté another 5 minutes.  Raise the heat to high.  Mix in the zucchini, fennel seed, salt and pepper.  Cook until the zucchini is barely tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and cool 5 minutes.  (The recipe may be prepared in a dvance to this point an dchilled up to 24 hours.  Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

3.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in the milk, then mix in the zucchini mixture.  Pour half into the prepared pie plate, top with the Swiss cheese, then pour on the remaining vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top.

4.  Bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.  Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.


  1. This looks delicious Dana…And I don’t even fear crust!

    Comment by Viviane Bauquet Farre / food & style — March 24, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

  2. Wow, It’s like a savory cheesecake tart!
    I love crust, but I really need to find ways to get around it sometimes!
    Love this idea, will give it a go! :)

    Comment by A Bowl Of Mush — March 24, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  3. Mmmm this sounds so good! You have got my tummy grumbling. We had a veggie dinner tonight that was really good. Lots of roasted veggies (brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrot, red bell pepper, shallots, garlic) tossed w/ olive oil and rosemary/oregano from the garden & some balsamic. Had the veggies on top of quinoa w/ some grated parm. I feel like I am tending more and more towards veg these days.

    Comment by Katie @ goodLife {eats} — March 25, 2010 @ 2:07 am

  4. I am not afraid of crusts, but I like to save the calories, and it’s so much quicker during the week to whip up a crustless quiche!
    Love them!

    Comment by stacey snacks — March 25, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

  5. This sounds soo good! I love making egg dishes with ton of different veggies.

    Comment by maris — March 25, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

  6. Perfect for summer. If only I still had my garden and our unbelievable giving zucchini and tomato plants to look forward to… Oh well, there’s always the farmers market.

    Comment by Denise | Chez Danisse — March 25, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  7. Thanks to a good friend for leading me by the hand to your Blog. I’m a vegetarian that only just NOW (in my 50’s) have taken the time to cook. REALLY cook. Your Blog has inspired me and made me believe that you can cook healthy and meat free without sacrificing flavor.
    Tossing roses to you.

    Comment by Lisa Hoffman — March 26, 2010 @ 12:30 am

  8. The breadcrumbs are a great idea for a light crust. And, I like how that light crust makes the tart all about the vegetables. Looks fantastic!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — March 26, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  9. I’ve made many crusts but am still scared of them! I’m so bad at rolling out the dough and always worry about overworking the dough and having it turn out tough. Thankfully it usually turns out. Anyway I love that this simply uses breadcrumbs. You’ve posted so many yummy Jeanne Lemlin recipes! I really need to check out her cookbooks.

    Comment by Ashley — March 27, 2010 @ 5:52 am

  10. Love the ingredients of this pie. I would choose some Gruyere on top. yummy!

    Comment by my little expat kitchen — March 27, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  11. oooh…this sounds great. I’m not afraid of crust, but this bread crumb one sounds just as yummy!

    Comment by veron — March 28, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

  12. I love a good crust, but like to think of myself as an “equal opportunity eater”… crustless things have a beauty all their own. And this looks just delicious.

    Comment by lo — March 29, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

  13. Looks super yummy! I am not the biggest fan of swiss cheese though, what can I use instead? cheddar?

    Comment by Veggie Belly — March 29, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

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