Fig and Goat’s Cheese Tart

August 8th, 2016

Fig Tart 3

When figs are in season it is worth the time to make use of them in familiar and/or unusual preparations.  They are wonderful as a component in an appetizer or used in a salad or a dessert.  But they are also excellent in pizzas and tarts.  Pared with goat cheese or Gorgonzola they shine.Fig Tart 1I adapted a recipe from a British magazine for a fig and goat’s cheese tart.  It is a very easy recipe to assemble.  It uses frozen puff pastry, so lining the tart pan is a piece of cake. But I must say that I would have preferred a homemade pastry crust.  Puff pastry tends to be very flaky but somehow airy.  I tend to like the more substantial weight of a pie crust.  But, because of the ease of preparation, I was very happy with the results.

Fig Tart 2 Close

A drizzle of balsamic glaze takes it over the top.  It makes a delicious light supper with a salad of peppery arugula leaves.

FIG AND GOAT’S CHEESE TART

Plain flour, for dusting
1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
2/3 cups heavy whipping cream or half and half
6 figs, halved
1/2 cup soft goat’s cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Several sprigs of thyme to scatter over top
Balsamic glaze to drizzle over top

Dust the work surface with flour and roll the pastry out into a rectangle 1 inch larger than your pan.  Lift it into the pan and press into the corners, lining the base and sides.  Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork.  Pop into the freezer for 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a baking sheet on the middle shelf.

Beat the eggs and egg yolk with the cream until combined.  Season well.

Trim the stalk from each fig and cut the fruit in half.  Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case.  Crumble the cheese on top and arrange the figs evenly between, cut side up.  Scatter with the walnuts and thyme sprigs.

Slide the tart onto the tray and bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 and cook for 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Remove it from the oven and leave to cool slightly.  Serve drizzled with the balsamic glaze.

Printable Recipe

Zucchini Tart with Sweet Corn, Basil and Parmesan

September 4th, 2015

zucchini Tart 1

This was such a quick and easy tart to put together.  There is not much that puff pastry can’t do to make your life easier.  It always makes a stunning presentation.  The hardest part of assembling this tart was slicing the zucchini on the mandolin.  I have an aversion to that device.  It is so sharp that it scares me.  I made my husband do the slicing.  We used both a green zucchini and a yellow zucchini, plus freshly shucked sweet corn.

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The flavors of garlic, butter and basil enhanced this lovely flaky creation.  Enjoy it with a salad and a glass of Rose’ wine.

I am having technical issues this week.  My Son gave me a new computer that I am still trying to get used to.  Then the lens that I always use for my photography stopped working.  I had to use my fixed close-up lens.  Hopefully I will have all of these issues settled by the time we leave on our trip.  More news next week.  Have a great weekend.

ZUCCHINI TART WITH SWEET CORN, BASIL AND PARMESAN (The Suburban Soapbox).

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a paring knife, gently score approximately 1/4 inch from the edge to create a border being careful not to cut all the way through.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter, basil and garlic. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or until the butter is melted. Brush half the butter mixture on the puff pastry inside the border. Arrange the zucchini on top of the butter and top with the corn. Sprinkle the parmesan over the tart and drizzle with the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the border of the puff pastry with the egg wash and transfer to the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the edges are puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Leek and Prosciutto Tart

November 11th, 2013

In French this tart is called Flamiche Aux Poireaux.  It is popular north of Paris in the villages of the Picardy region.  It is different from a quiche in that the emphasis is more on the vegetables than on the custard.  In this case leeks play a starring role.  It is also studded with Parma ham (Prosciutto) and Gruyere cheese.

This was a perfect Sunday supper to enjoy on the lanai on a warm Florida evening.  The first few days back in Florida always feel like a vacation; warm breezes, sunny skies and catching up with friends.  The food choices are different too.  The local Publix carries a wider selection of meats and vegetables than does the Ingles at home.  So getting good quality prosciutto for this tart was not a problem.  The leeks were another story.  They are very expensive right now.  The recipe that I was following came from Patricia Wells and she recommends three pounds of leeks.  The leeks at the supermarket were 2.99 a pound and that seemed excessive to me when I had to buy expensive prosciutto and expensive Gruyere cheese.  So I cheated a little and bought 2 pounds of leeks and added a large onion to the mix.

So being still in vacation mode, I made the tart, tossed the salad, poured the wine and sat on our sunny lanai and ignored the mold on the concrete and the weeds growing in our planters.  There is time for pressure washing and new plantings later.  This tart is worthy of a glorious relaxing evening.

LEEK AND PROSCIUTTO TART (Adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells)

1 recipe Pate Brisee or pie crust of your choice
12 small leeks (about 3 pounds) or a mixture of 2 pounds leeks and 1 large onion
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
3 to 4 ounces sliced Parma ham (prosciutto), coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyere cheese

Prepare the pastry shell:  Roll out the dough to line a 9-inch tart pan.  Carefully transfer the dough to the pan.  Chill for 30 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the filling:  Trim the leeks at the root.  Cut off and discard the fibrous, dark green portion.  Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning, and rinse well in cold water until no grit appears.  Coarsely chop the leeks.  If using an onion, coarsely chop it also.

Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.  Add the leeks and onion if using, salt, and pepper to taste and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes.  If the leeks have given up an excessive amount of liquid, drain them in a colander.

Combine the eggs and cream in a medium-size bowl and mix until throughly blended.  Add the leeks and mix again.  Reserve 1/4 cup each of the ham and the cheese to sprinkle on top of the tart.  Mix the rest into the leek mixture.

Pour the leek mixture into the prepared pastry shell.  Sprinkle with the reserved ham, and then the cheese.  Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.

Bake until nicely browned, 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  6 to 8 servings.

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Zucchini Galette

September 12th, 2013

I am back with another zucchini recipe.  Even though we do not have a garden this year, I can’t help but being obsessed with this prolific summer vegetable.  There are so many things you can do with zucchini.  Patricia Wells featured this recipe in her Provence Cookbook.  The unique aspect of the recipe is the curry powder that is added to the ingredients.  Not everyone loves curry.  I served this to my friend Jackie, who is not a curry lover, and she loved the dish.  The curry is subtle but distinct.  Jackie is babysitting for our dog Daisy at the lake while we are in Michigan.

I am traveling right now so do not know when I will have a chance to blog in the near future.  I will be back soon.  Enjoy the cooler weather.  We are going to a hometown football game in Michigan this Friday.  It is supposed to be in the 40’s.  Orange and Black, Fight Fight!  I bought a beautiful apricot silk top to wear to the reunion with my black slacks but realized belatedly that I would be wearing our school colors.  I thought that might be a bit too much.  I exchanged it for a different color.

 

ZUCCHINI GALETTE (Patricia Wells)

1 pound zucchini ( 4 medium), trimmed
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon curry powder

Fresh tomato sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Using the coarse grating blade of a food processor, coarsely grate the zucchini.  Transfer to a colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and let sit to drain for 30 minutes.  Rinse the zucchini under cold running water, spread it out in an absorbent dish towel (or layers of paper towels), and press to remove as much liquid as possible.

Place the eggs in a large bowl and beat lightly with a fork.  Add the bread crumbs, cheese, curry powder and final teaspoon of salt.  Add the zucchini and stir to thoroughly coat the zucchini with the batter.  Place in a 10 1/2-inch round baking dish and even out the top with the back of a spatula.

Place in the center of the oven and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with a fresh tomato sauce, if desired.

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My Almost Mile High Quiche

April 14th, 2011

Well, I did it.  It took a while and there are things I will do differently the next time, but I learned a lot and the mile high quiche was deemed a success.  The custard was creamy.  The asparagus, Swiss cheese and bacon worked well together and the buttery pastry crust was one of the best I have ever made.  Let’s start by discussing the crust.

The original recipe for this quiche came from Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Bouchon fame.  He dubbed it an “over the top” quiche.  The buttery pastry crust is made in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  The two sticks of cubed butter are added in increments to the slowly running mixer into half of the flour until they are incorporated.  Then the second cup of flour is added and mixed on low until it is all combined.  Ice water is added and the dough is formed.  That is the easiest pastry I have ever made.  After resting in the refrigerator, it is rolled out to fit the spring form pan.  It rolled out like a dream and was easy to handle as I fitted it into the pan.

I did not follow Keller’s recipe exactly.  There was some discussion about leaving the bottom out of the springform pan and using the sheet pan surface for the bottom.  That made no sense to me.  I have found since that Deb of Smitten Kitchen attempted this with less than stellar results.  Just use the springform pan as intended and you will be fine.

Next add a circle of parchment paper and fill with dried beans.  I have a big bag of dried beans that I use over and over again to blind bake pie crusts.  It is baked for a long time.  I thought it would be too long but it worked out fine.  You are now finished with this step, which can be done way ahead of time.

Now for the filling:  The original recipe which you can view here, called for lots of mushrooms.  I chose to use asparagus, bacon and Swiss cheese.  The reason I am calling my quiche an almost mile high quiche is because the volume of the filling turned out to be less without all of those mushrooms. When done, the filling did not quite come to the top of the fluted crust.

But to me it was a thing of beauty.  Next time I will separate three of the eggs and whip the egg whites to fold into the filling to give it more volume.  I think that will do the trick.

Good eats!

MILE HIGH ASPARAGUS, BACON AND SWISS CHEESE QUICHE

Buttery Pastry Shell:
2 cups unbleached flour, sifted.  Plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup ice water
canola oil for brushing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix 1 cup of the flour with the salt.  At low speed, add the butter pieces a handful at a time.  When all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat until all of the butter is incorporated.  Reduce the speed to low and add the last 1 cup of flour just until blended.  Mix in the water just until throughly incorporated.  Flatten the pastry on a floured board into an 8 inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled at least 1 hour or overnight.

Place the unwrapped pastry on a floured board and roll in out to a 14″ to 16″ round, dusting with flour as needed.  Carefully fit it into an oiled 9″ springform pan.  Pat it into the pan and trim the excess pastry from the top, leaving enough pastry to flute the top.  Flute and gently press the top against the edge.  Chill the pastry shell for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line the pastry shell with a 14″ round of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice.  Place the springform pan on a sheet pan and bake the pastry shell for about 40 minutes or until the fluted edges are lightly browned.  Carefully remove the parchment paper with the dried beans.  I used a scoop to remove most of the beans before lifting the parchment paper out.  Return the shell to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool.  The baked pastry shell can be covered with plastic and left at room temperature overnight if needed.

Quiche Filling:
8 slices of bacon, cubed and fried until crisp and then drained
1 pound of asparagus, trimmed and sliced and blanched in boiling water until crisp tender.  Transfer to ice water to retain color.  Dry thoroughly before adding to quiche
3/4 cup Swiss cheese
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups of milk
6 eggs
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Scatter 1/4 cup of the Swiss cheese and 1/2 of the bacon and asparagus over the bottom of the pastry shell.  In a blender or the bowl of a stand mixer blend together 1 cup of the cream, 1 cup of the milk and three of the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and a pinch of nutmeg until frothy, about 1 minute.  Pour over the asparagus mixture.  Add 1/4 cup of the Swiss cheese and the remaining bacon and asparagus.  Blend the remaining cream, milk and eggs until frothy and pour over the top.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese to the top.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and bake the quiche for about 1 1/2 hours or until the top is nicely browned and the custard is barely set in the center.  Let cool in the pan until very warm.  Remove springform ring, slice and serve.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.