Recipes: 'Once Upon a Tart' This cookbook takes its name from the bakeshop and cafe in Manhattan. Recipes here include those for a Provencal tart and haricot-vert-and-corn salad.
NPR logo Recipes: 'Once Upon a Tart'

Recipes: 'Once Upon a Tart'

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Get more cookbook suggestions from food writer Heidi Swanson.

This tart cookbook, recommended for summer cooking by food writer Heidi Swanson, also includes recipes for healthy salads and refreshing summer soups.

Provencal Tart with Gruyere Herbs de Provence

In preparation for a picnic, make this tart the day before. After the completed tart cools on the counter, cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to pack your basket. The tart crust recipe yields two 9-inch crusts. I par-bake (see below) the extra shell, let it cool, pop it in a heavy-duty plastic bag and freeze it. The next time you go to make a tart, your pulse will jump with excitement when you realize you have a homemade shell ready to be filled - on the next sunny day your second tart will come together in a flash.

For the Tart:

12-15 plum tomatoes (2 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4- inch-thick rounds

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 par-baked 9-inch Crunchy Savory Tart Crust

1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

2 large eggs

1/4 cup light cream

1 teaspoon salt

A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

For the Crust:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons semolina flour

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening

A glass of ice water

9" tart pan with removable bottom.

To Prepare the Crust:

1. Position oven racks so that one is in the center and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse a couple of times just to integrate the flours and salt.

3. Add the butter and shortening all at once and pulse quite a few times, until the mixture forms little balls, like moist crumbs, and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. You have to pulse, not run, the food processor. The worst thing that can happen at this stage of the crust-making game is for the flours and fats to come together into a paste.

4. Remove the blade from the food processor and dump the dough crumbs into a big bowl. Fill a tablespoon with ice water and sprinkle over the surface of the dough. Repeat with 3 more tablespoons.

5. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to bring the dough together into a ball, adding more water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough should be just past crumbly, but holding together. You don't want it to be so wet that it sticks together or turns white in color.

6. Cut the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Press each half with the palm of your hand to form a disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

7. Roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/4 inch thick. Fit it into your tart pan and chill for 30 minutes. Then use the tines of a fork to prick holes over the bottom of the tart. Line the dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans.

8. Place the tart shell on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights from the pan. Return it to the oven, and bake until the crust is golden brown and toasted all over, 5-10 more minutes for a par-baked tart shell. For a fully baked tart shell, bake for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until it's golden brown all over.

9. Remove the tart shell from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Can be prepared a day in advance. Cover and keep at room temperature.

To prepare the tart:

1. Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Put the tomato slices in a colander, and place it in the sink. Let the tomatoes sit for 15 minutes to drain off any excess liquid.

3. Spread the mustard evenly over the tart shell with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the cheese over the mustard, and sprinkle the herbes de Provence over the cheese.

4. Working from the outside in, lay the drained tomato slices in overlapping concentric circles, making sure the crust is covered entirely.

5. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, or a large measuring cup with a spout, to break up the egg yolks. Whisk in the cream, salt, and pepper. This is your custard. Pour the custard evenly over the tomatoes until it comes to about 1/4 inch from the top edge of the crust. (If you have extra, don't worry about it; if you don't have enough, pour a little cream on top.)

6. Place the tart on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the custard is set. Set custard won't jiggle when you shake the pan and will be firm when you touch it. (The custard will also be hot, so touch it lightly.) The tomatoes in this tart may give off a lot of liquid; don't confuse this with uncooked eggs and accidentally overcook your tart. The liquid will evaporate as the tart cools.

7. Remove the tart from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Allow the tart to cool slightly.

8. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can. Make sure the tart is steady and balanced. Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart. Then place the tart on your work surface, and slide it off the bottom of the pan and onto a rim- less serving dish or a cutting board. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes one 9-inch tart.

Haricot-Vert-and-Corn Salad with Roasted Artichoke Hearts and Fresh Tarragon-Lemon Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

A few turns of freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

For the salad:

1/2 pound haricots verts or string beans (green or yellow or both)

4 cups cold salted water (for the haricots verts)

2 cups fresh corn cut from 2-3 cobs (you can substitute frozen or canned corn)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshIy ground pepper (for roasting the vegetables)

1 13.5-ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water (not marinated in oil)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

½ cup Fresh Tarragon-Lemon Vinaigrette

To make the vinaigrette:

Whisk everything but the olive oil together in a small bowl. Add the oil in a slow, thin, steady stream, whisking all the while to form and emulsion.

To make the salad:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Snap off the stem end of each haricot vert or string bean, and pull down the string to remove. Grabbing a bunch at a time, cut them on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.

3. Bring the 4 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the haricots verts, and blanch them for 1 minute, maybe less. They should still be bright-colored and crunchy. Drain in a colander, and immediately run cold water over them to stop them from cooking further. Drain them well before tossing them into a bowl big enough to hold the entire salad.

4. Toss the corn with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, a sprinkling of salt (1/4 teaspoon), and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Scatter the corn on a sheet pan, place the sheet pan in the oven, and roast the corn for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. You'll want to shake the pan at least once during the cooking time, so that the corn browns evenly and doesn't burn. Remove the pan from the oven, and use a metal spatula to scrape the corn into the bowl with the haricots verts.

5. Drain and rinse the artichokes in a colander. Cut them into quarters and toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic. Spread artichokes out on your sheet pan, place the sheet pan in the oven, and roast for 25 minutes until the artichokes begin to brown and the edges char slightly. When they're done, remove the artichokes from the oven, and use a metal spatula to scrape them off the sheet pan into the bowl with the other vegetables.

6. Just before you're ready to serve, pour the vinaigrette over the salad and, using a large metal spoon or your hands, toss until the vegetables are evenly coated. Taste for salt. Serve this salad still warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau

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