Fall tart

I’m a fan of any body-warming food that’s layered. So, I’m naturally drawn to tarts (the food, not the personality type.) And while there’s no denying that sweet tarts are the bee’s knees, there’s just something irresistible about savory tarts. Savory tart fillings (think fall favorites, such as cabbage, kale and sweet potato) are hearty–but the tart itself goes down light (if you can just stick to one slice that is.)

We’ve rounded up some savory tart recipes that are perfect as a side dish, a light dinner or heart-warming breakfast.

A fine autumn tart: Pumpkin Seed Sage Tart with Butternut Squash Coins (via NPR)

NPR contributor Claire Adas describes this tart as tender. The roasted squash is sweet and smoky, while the pumpkin seeds and sage provide savory flavors.

Crust ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), frozen

Ice water

Filling ingredients

1 small butternut squash, 2 to 3 inches thick at the top (Note from the author: “if you can’t find one this thin at the top, you can use a thicker one and cut it into half circles or even quarter circles.”)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup unshelled pumpkin seeds, or pepitas

1 clove garlic

5 or 6 sage leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Pinch cayenne

1/2 cup milk (Note from the author: “I use whole, but I think any kind, or even cream, would work.”)

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar

Method

“For the crust, in a bowl mix the flour, salt and black pepper. Grate in the frozen butter and mix with a fork until texture resembles coarse crumbs. Add enough ice water to pull it into a workable dough — about 1/2 cup, but start with less. Knead for about half a minute, using cool fingertips, until you have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap in foil or plastic, and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it, at least half an hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel squash, and cut it into circles about 1/8-inch wide. You want to have a thinnish squash (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick), or the circles will be too big. If you can only find a bigger squash, you can cut half-moons instead of circles, and that will be pretty, too. The lower half of the squash can be cut into crescents. I had enough left over to save these to eat on their own the next day, but they can be used to make a nice pattern on the pie, as well.

Coat a cookie sheet with thin layer of olive oil and spread the squash in a single layer. Lightly brush the tops with another thin coating of olive oil. Roast for about a half-hour, until squash starts to get brown and crispy. You might need to rearrange them when you turn them over (every 10 minutes or so). In my oven the outside objects on the tray get brown first, so I’ll move them to the middle, to make sure everything cooks evenly. When they’re quite crispy, remove to a plate, and let them sit while you prepare everything else.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or turn the oven down, if you’ve just roasted your squash.

Toast the almonds, pumpkin seeds and garlic in a toaster oven, or at 425 degrees Fahrenheit in a real oven for 5 or 10 minutes. The pumpkin seeds will get a bit brown and pop. You can leave the garlic in longer to get soft. Combine the almonds, pumpkin seeds, garlic, sage, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cayenne in a food processor. Process until quite smooth. Add milk and eggs, and process again. Stir in cheese.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick. Spread this over a lightly buttered and floured 9- or 10-inch tart pan, trimming the extra dough from the edges. Pre-bake the tart shell for about 10 minutes, until it’s firm and loses its shine. Remove from the oven.

Pour the pumpkin seed custard into the tart shell, spreading it in an even layer. Arrange the squash slices prettily on top. Cook for about a half-hour, until puffed and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve.”

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

A rustic, late fall/winter, vegetable tart: Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Fontina Tart

This tart recipe originally came from EatingWell.com and was reposted by HuffPost Taste. It looks just so darn good. The savory tart is described as a free-form tart. It will work as an appetizer or side dish, and could serve as the main course for a vegetarian. Enjoy at room temperature or served cold.

Crust ingredients

3/4 cup walnuts

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see note)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

7 tablespoons ice-cold water

Filling ingredients

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion

1 cup shredded fontina or Cheddar cheese

1 large egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary

Method

“Preheat oven to 425°F.

To prepare crust: Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Combine in a large bowl with whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons thyme and/or rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup oil and water. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough (it will seem wetter than other types of pastry dough). Knead in the bowl just until the dough comes together. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 days.

To prepare filling: Combine sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Spread on three-fourths of a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss onion in the bowl with 1 teaspoon oil. Spread evenly on the remaining one-fourth of the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 375°.

Line a work surface with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, lightly dust with flour and dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a rustic 15-inch circle, adding more flour, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Transfer the crust to a baking sheet with the parchment or baking mat in place.

Leaving a 2-inch border, sprinkle cheese evenly over the crust. Make an overlapping ring of the larger sweet potato slices over the cheese, leaving the 2-inch border. Spread the onion slices in another ring closer to the center. Using the rest of the sweet potato slices, make an overlapping circle in the center of the crust (the pattern will look like a bull’s-eye). Pick up the edges of the crust using a spatula and fold over the filling, making pleats in the dough as necessary (it’s okay if the dough cracks a little as you fold it); the filling will not be completely covered. Brush the crust with the egg-white wash. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme and/or rosemary.

Bake the tart until lightly browned on the edges, about 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure tender baked goods. Find it in the baking section of the supermarket or online at bobsredmill.com and kingarthurflour.com. To Make Ahead: Prepare the crust (Step 2), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Cool, cover and refrigerate the baked tart for up to 1 day. Reheat at 350°F for about 20 minutes.”

Yield: 12 servings

Some other tart-y, and tart-like inspirations:

Tofu, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Strudel with Red Pepper Sauce, via Baking Obsession

Cabbage Caraway Quiche with Gruyere, via Baking Obsession

Roasted Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tarts, via Taste and HuffPost Taste

Savory Solstice Tart (filled with cheese and greens), via Wonderful Ingredients

Image: photoverulam