Tag Archives: goat cheese

Savory Tart Two Ways: Tomato & Goat Cheese and Asparagus & Mushroom

tomato tart
asparagus tart
tart plate

It’s been three years since my last first day of school, but every August I still sleep restlessly the night before it all starts again. I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m going to be tardy for class the next morning.

This year, that feeling was exacerbated by the promise of waking up to a new job, but going to bed remembering where I was just one year ago — in a city that moved even faster than I imagined and left me dazed and adrift.

I can officially say that this year served as my quarter-life crisis. Reading over the blog posts I wrote in high school, I can see how the seeds were sown years earlier. A girl so eager to bust out of where she was that she forgot to stop and take a look around at what she might already have. And I’d been on that trajectory ever since, hurling toward a life I thought I wanted, of working hard and playing hard and collecting stories and battle scars along the way.

As it turns out, I’ve managed to assemble quite a good collection since coming home. The pace is better for me here. And, lucky for you, I have plenty of time to invest in things that I love… like baking tarts.

Tart Dough:
Makes 2 12-inch tarts
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup ice-cold water

1) Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or with a stand mixer. Pour in the water slowly, until the dough begins to clump. (Mix for 30 seconds or less if using a mixer.)
2) Divide the dough in two and create two balls of dough. Wrap with plastic and compress into disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Filling:
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill one tart. Double the recipe if you want two!
4 ounces of goat cheese, room temperature
bunch of basil
salt & pepper
1 pint of cherry heirloom tomatoes
1 garlic clove, slivered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of water

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the tart dough sections from the fridge and roll into a circle with a rolling pin until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
2) Combine the goat cheese, a few of the basil leaves, salt and pepper, then spread over the chilled tart, leaving a border of 1 and 1/2 inches. Place the tomatoes evenly across the goat cheese. Sprinkle with garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
3) Fold the border over the cheese and tomatoes to make a crust. Mix the egg and water together and brush gently over the crust. Place the tart on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Asparagus & Mushroom Tart:
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill one tart. Double the recipe if you want two!
1 tablespoon butter
1 pint mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 bunch (about 15 pieces) of asparagus
1 garlic clove, slivered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of water

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the tart dough sections from the fridge and roll into a circle with a rolling pin until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
2) Heat a pan over medium heat with the butter. Once melted, add mushrooms and cook until softened and browning, about 10 minutes. Add rosemary, salt and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
3) Remove tart dough from the fridge and spread with mascarpone cheese. Top with mushroom mixture, then arrange the asparagus on top. Sprinkle with garlic, then drizzle with olive oil.
4) Fold the border over the cheese and asparagus to make a crust. Mix the egg and water together and brush gently over the crust. Place the tart on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

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Apple Onion Cheese Tart

I am not private in my opinion of comfort foods. This blog, if nothing else, serves as a testament of my devotion to all things warm and buttery. Living so far from home necessitates cooking with an excess of butter from time to time. Is a flaky tart an acceptable replacement for my brother’s bear hugs or my sister’s permeating laugh? Well, no. But it makes a decent consolation prize.

Being a resident of New York City is taxing in all the ways you’ve heard (including, quite literally, taxes). There is no loneliness quite so profound as the one experienced while surrounded by a sea of strangers. Cures are difficult to come by. When home is a few bites away, sometimes that’s enough. In any case, it has to be.

This recipe comes from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, which is my go-to resource for fresh and, obviously, simple food. Alice actually has the onion tart and the apple tart listed as two different recipes, but the two foods seemed like such a complementary pair. The dough recipe required no modification. It actually bubbles butter. Now that, my friends, is enough.

Tart Dough:
Makes 2 12-inch tarts
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup ice-cold water

1) Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or with a stand mixer. Pour in the water slowly, until the dough begins to clump. (Mix for 30 seconds or less if using a mixer.)
2) Divide the dough in two and create two balls of dough. Wrap with plastic and compress into disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Tart Filling:
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill one tart. Double the recipe if you want two!
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup cheddar or goat cheese

1) Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan on medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir occasionally, cooking for 20 to 30 minutes until onions are brown and soft. Let cool.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove one of the tart dough sections from the fridge and roll into a circle with a rolling pin until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
3) Spread cheese over the chilled tart, leaving a border of 1 and 1/2 inches. Starting at the outside, layer the apples slightly over one another and work toward the center. Apple slices in the center should be layered about 1 inch thick.
4) Sprinkle the apples with the cooked onions. Fold the border over the apples and onions to make a crust.
5) Mix the egg and milk or water together and brush gently over the crust. Place the tart on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Butternut Squash Tart with Caramelized Onions


I’ve officially lived in New York City for one month.

I want to say that I’ve been putting my beautiful black-counter-topped, white-subway-tiled kitchen with cherry cabinets and gas stove to good use on a regular basis, but shoot, kids. I live in New York City. Do you even know how much food exists here? I experience moments of overwhelming anxiety whenever I consider how many restaurants I have to eat at while my metabolism still allows for reckless eating. It’s a rough life.

Also, I’m in love with Brooklyn. In love. I see no reason to leave on the weekends when there are flea markets and food markets and farmers markets to be visited and general exploring to be done.

But, every Sunday, I make lunch for the week. This was last week’s lunch. Sometimes I even paired it with salad.

Butternut Squash Tart with Caramelized Onions:
Makes one 9-inch tart
Tart Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons ice water

Tart Filling
olive oil
1 small butternut squash
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For crust:
1) Blend flour and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter and shortening until pea-size pieces form. With the machine running, add enough ice water by tablespoonfuls to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour. Soften dough slightly before rolling dough out.
2) Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan. Trim dough overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang in; press to form double-thick sides. Pierce bottom of dough all over with fork. Refrigerate 1 hour.
3) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake crust until golden, piercing with fork if bubbles form, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

For filling:
1) While the tart crust is being refrigerated in the tart pan, slice squash in half and place on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 40 minutes or until squash is soft.
2) Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook onions for a few minutes to soften, then add balsamic vinegar. Cook for 20 minutes.
3) Beat together eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, goat cheese, cayenne pepper and ground pepper. After the squash cools, remove it from the skin and combine with egg mixture.
4) Pour the filling into the tart and sprinkle with caramelized onions. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Butternut Squash & Mushroom Turnovers

Every once in a while, I experience a pang of homesickness for London. After all, nine months have passed since I cried my way from Notting Hill to somewhere over the mid-Atlantic and grinned my way from that point homeward. I’m totally allowed to wax nostalgic if I so choose.

In the midst of that dreary, gray weather, the sardine-packed Tube, and the labyrinth of stairs and hallways that defined my university, I found myself. My friend Maria said it more succinctly than I ever could:

When I first met you, I had the sensation that you were kind of a baby … in the sense that there was so much potential waiting to come to life. I only “knew” you for four months but during that time, I felt that you grew up a lot and, like with me, London is still crawling its ways into your soul and heart and brain and self and it’s still helping you grow up to this day. And I mean growing up as a full individual, not growing up to become the ‘grown-up’ with a job and a house and a husband. You can grow up to that, but grow up to yourself first.

Isn’t that a lovely sentiment? In many ways, London brought me to this blog, to this moment, because while I was there I used food to bring me home. Now that’s some kind of wonderful symbiosis.

And now I’m bringing myself back to London through the delightful medium of pastry dough.

In case you were not previously aware, the English are a savo(u)ry-pie-and-pastries people. Shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, pot pie, pie-pie. Frankly, I’m shocked/disappointed that we didn’t all run around in pastry crust like pigs-in-a-blanket, simultaneously shielding ourselves from cold and combating hunger.

English food is misunderstood, really, but wrapped in the comforting arms of flaky pastry, it comes out juuuuuust fine. (That’s more than I can say for the reputation of American food in other countries. Our few redeeming qualities include cupcakes, depending on whom you ask.)

This turnover recipe reminds me of London in all the best ways. Warm and buttery, with a surprise inside. Perfect for cold days in particular.

Butternut Squash & Mushroom Turnovers:
One 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 leeks, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 tablespoon dried thyme
14 ounces puff pastry, thawed
1 1/2 cups goat cheese or gruyere or a combination
1 egg, beaten

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 25 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.
2) Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil, add the leeks, and cook over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
3) Season with the butternut squash with salt and pepper and toss with the butternut squash in a medium-sized bowl.
4) Using the same baking sheet, line with parchment paper. Roll out puff pastry dough on a floured surface until it’s about a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Cut pieces of pastry into squares, place a tablespoon or two of squash and mushroom mixture into the center of each, and top with cheese.
5) Brush beaten egg around the edges of the squares. Fold the pastry dough over to form triangles and crimp with your fingers or a fork.
6) Place completed turnovers on the baking sheet and brush with more egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until pastry dough is golden brown.

By the way, you have exactly 59 more minutes to enter for your chance to win free baked goods. Uhh… why wouldn’t you? Bathing suit season is still months away.