This tart hit the spot! It’s perfect brunch food. Scott and I sat down for a lovely mid-Monday brunch and pondered our waning existence as a couple and waxing existence as a three-some. We’re coming to the end of an era, so to speak, and can’t wait to see what’s next! In the meantime, I feel an urge to get everything done, including making all the recipes I’ve been wanting to try. But somehow, that M.O. doesn’t coincide with sitting down and relaxing with my feet up. I just wasn’t built to be a sit-down-all-day kinda’ girl!
So anyway- the tart. I made it based on a recipe from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. I tweaked it a little to fit what I had in the fridge, and also added some sausage in my never-ending effort to get enough protein during this pregnancy.
Separately, I recently came upon a blog-post from Pim about pie-dough. And the funny thing is this…her recipe is based on one she found in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook! How silly is that? I’ve worked there for seven years, yet found my inspiration to try the recipe from someone else! But I’ll tell you what- it’s doggone delicious and easy to make. It was still crisp, flaky and tasty the next morning. Doggone delicious!!
So I present to you the two recipes that made this yummy tart come together. Please try it- you’ll like it!
When making tarts, I prefer to use a removable-bottom tart pan as it is much easier to get the tart out of the pan when you are ready to cut and serve.
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces cold salted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slabs
- 1/4 cup very cold water
Measure the flour and dump it in a pile, on a clean counter-top. Place the slabs of butter on top of the pile of flour and flip them once so that they are coated in the flour. Using the heels of your hands, begin to press the butter into the flour so that they flatten, and begin to turn into flakes. It is helpful to use a bench-scraper to periodically turn the pile in an effort to keep it from sticking to the counter. Eventually, the pile will end up looking like a pile of small flakes and crumbs.
Make a shallow well in the pile and pour in all the water. Using just the tips of your fingers, toss together the crumbs with the water, until it begins to form a mass, and the water is distributed evenly. Again, it will be helpful to use a bench scraper to keep it from sticking to the counter. Once you have a fairly cohesive mass, gather it up into a ball, wrap tightly with plastic, and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly flour the counter and place the dough on top. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough into a rough-rectangle. (The best way to roll out dough is to start at the center and roll outwards, turning the dough as necessary, rather than simply rolling back and forth over the whole piece of dough.) When you have achieved a rough- rectangle, fold 1/3 of the dough in on itself, as if you were folding a letter to fit in an envelope. Lightly brush off excess flour. Then fold the other 1/3 of the dough in on itself again, completing the tri-fold (as you would fold a letter). Again, brush off the excess flour. Use a rolling pin to roll out your tri-folded dough into another rectangle. Do this two more times. Roll out your final rectangle and cut it in half so that you are left with two square pieces of dough.
Gently shape your squares of dough into disks, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you refrigerate the dough longer, you may need to let it temper at room temperature for about 10 minutes before attempting to roll it out. Alternately, you could freeze the dough, tightly wrapped and placed in a zip-top bag, for months!
When you are ready to use the dough, lightly flour a clean counter-top, and roll the disk into a circle about 1-1/2 inches larger than the pan you are using. If you are using a deep-dish pie dish, you’ll need to roll it out even bigger.
When the dough has been rolled to the correct size, transfer it by rolling it up over your pin and then un-rolling it over the tart/pie pan. Gently press the dough in place, using your fingertips to push it into the corners. You should have some dough hanging over the edge. For a tart, simply roll the pin over the top of the pan to “cut” the excess off. For a pie which will be topped with another crust, you must wait to crimp the edges until the filling has been added and the top crust is in place.
To blind bake the crust (as you will for the following tart recipe), dock the dough using a fork, and then place the whole pan (filled with the dough) in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425º. Remove the pan from the freezer and line the frozen dough with a piece of aluminum foil. Pour enough dry beans into the pan so that they are one-inch deep. Place the pan on a baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and beans. Slip the pan back into the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the crust has turned a light-golden-brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Ricotta tart with onions, sausage, and basil adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
yields one 9-inch tart
It is well worth the expense and trouble to use excellent ricotta cheese. If you can find it, use an artisan brand, or at least a local, organic one. Honestly, I find the Precious brand that is found in most super-markets to be bland, flavorless, and practically useless. Also, I recommend using a removable-bottom tart pan as it is much easier to remove the tart from the pan when you are ready to cut and serve.
- one 9-inch tart crust, blind baked
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- one 3-ounce sausage cooked and cut into a medium dice
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cream
- 2 Tablespoon roughly chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
Place an oven rack in the center-most position and preheat the oven to 400º.
In a medium saute pan set over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the onion until it is translucent, allowing it to brown slightly. Stir in the cooked sausage and allow the mixture to cool to room-temperature.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, egg, milk, cream, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir in the cooled onion mixture.
Pour the filling into the cooled tart crust and place the pan on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is set in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
The tart may be served slightly warm or at room temperature.