Yesterday marked the day our kiddos started school and it was all things bittersweet. They were ready, and I suppose deep down I was too, it’s just hard to send your babies off for the day, no matter how prepared you think you are. We are doing half time in school, half time homeschool, and I’ll share more on that later… But yesterday as we walked in arms full of lunches and flowers for teachers and backpacks, I saw some leaves falling out of the corner of my eye, and I swear I smelled a fireplace burning somewhere. And it was cool enough for a sweater, which is always a gift to me.
Autumn is my favorite season and the start of school always welcomes it in gently before the orange leaves start to really fall. I always let out a big content sign when order and rhythm start to find their way back into our lives, and things become simpler by way of routine. Autumn is my soul’s season, a handful of inches ahead of spring, and this time of year grounds me in a ways that the spontaneous and uninhibited flow of summer seems to undo after several months of flying by the seat of my pants. I like rhythm, what can I say? We had a wonderful summer, oh yes, but I am ready for slower days and more savory suppers. That being said, there are still tomatoes on the vine and it’s not quite time for squash soup, so a summery cheesy tart will just have to do. Darn it anyways. 😉
I made this tart the way I make most meals, with whatever seasonal and fresh ingredients we have on hand, prepared with remnants of a old recipes I’ve gathered and adapted along the way to suit my style or taste buds. Like my bread recipe, this one is not fancy, but it’s delicious. What’s better, is that it took me about and hour from start to finish to make, with only ten minutes of prep time, so it’s easy peasy.
Savory tarts, pies, and quiches are among some of my favorite things to make for our family. For starters, you can eat them at any time of the day, either warmed or at room temperature. And secondly, you can make them ahead, and you can freeze them. Score! Whenever I make a meal like this, I usually end up making two because why not? It’s always nice to have a break for supper on busier nights when I don’t feel like cooking or messing up the kitchen, and all I have to do is pop a frozen something or other in the oven to bake. It’s much healthier than a store-bought frozen meals, and it took me less time to make a second one than it would to run to the store. I made this tart with garden tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, and a really good hunk of local goat cheese I got from the market. You could, however, adapt this with other vegetables if tomatoes aren’t your thing. But if you have not eaten a ripe summer tomato from the vine, you cannot say that tomatoes aren’t your thing. You must reconsider and give them a taste. They are some kind of wonderful. Below is the recipe as I recall it. It is very forgiving, so don’t make an extra trip if you only have two eggs instead of three. Just splash a bit more cream in and it should turn out fine.
Ingredients For the Crust (for one tart or 4 people – double recipe if making for more):
- 1 cup flour – I used whole wheat but next time I am going to give almond flour a whirl
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed oil – or any other cooking oil you prefer
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup cold water
To prepare the crust, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Next mix the flour and salt so they are well mixed. In a separate bowl, stir the oil and water together, and then slowly pour the oil and water mixture into the dry ingredients, combining it with a fork. The dough should come together quickly and will be a bit crumby, which is what you’re looking for. Press the dough with your hands into a prepared tart dish or pie pan, making sure it spreads out nicely. This would be a great task for young ones. By this time your oven should be nearing 400 degrees, and when it hits that temp, bake your crust for 5-7 minutes with nothing in it. Take it out and let it rest while you prepare the filling. You don’t need pie weights for this, you’re only firming it up a bit. This pre-baking will ensure a crispier crust!
Ingredients For the Filling:
- 3 farm eggs – buy local whenever you can!
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/4 cup creme fresh
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- handful of fresh chopped Italian parsley – basil would work too
- several turns of fresh cracked pepper
- 5-6 garden tomatoes – it’s hard to say how many you’ll use because heirlooms differ greatly in size
- 2 cupsish medium-sized portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup good goat cheese
To prepare the filling, clean and cut your tomatoes into 1/2 inch round slices and let them rest on a towel to absorb the liquid. Season each with a little salt and pepper while they are waiting to go into the tart to bring our their flavor, but don’t overdo it. Cut the mushrooms into large 1/4 inch slices and set them aside as well. To make the custard, mix the eggs, cream, creme fresh, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and parsley together until smooth. Once your tart crust has baked for a least 5-7 minutes, arrange the tart by alternating tomatoes and mushrooms in a circle until the entire tart is filled. Pour the custard over the tomatoes and mushrooms and add large chunks of goat cheese on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 additional minutes uncovered, keeping an eye on it the last ten minutes so the cheese doesn’t burn. If it gets too brown for your liking, tent it with foil and continue cooking. Let it cool completely before serving. You can hurry this process along by tucking it in a window sill for an hour so you can sneak a bite.
If you’ve got an abundance of summer vegetables to use up this is a great recipe to have on hand. And like I mentioned above, it’s very forgiving, so don’t fret if you are short something. Just make a thoughtful swap and pretend like that’s what the recipe called for. I do it all the time and it usually works out in my favor. And happy start of school to all the mamas reading this! What on Earth are we going to do with all this extra time on our hands? I, for one, am going to bake more tarts. xx Amanda