fall tart

4 Nov

One of the great things about going to culinary school is that when you are waiting to meet with someone in the administrative offices you have an epic archive of culinary magazines and cook books to peruse. SO, while I was waiting I saw a picture of a squash apple tart with blue cheese and decided I’d try to make one up. Here’s what I came up with..disclaimer: i should have kept it in the oven just a bit longer but I had to leave and so I took it out a shade too soon. On yours you will want the squash and apples to be browned a bit.

Game plan:
For this you either need sharp knives or pre-cut squash. Butternut squash is really woody when raw so if you don’t have good knives and can’t find thinly sliced squash in the grocery store than you can buy a whole squash, stick it in the oven at 400 degrees and cook until soft, about 30 minutes, and then cut it once it’s soft..just be careful because it will be steaming hot once you cut it open.
Ok so here’s what ya need:
A food processor.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
1/3 of a medium size butternut squash
3/4 of a red apple
1/2 yellow onion
dried thyme, rosemary, sage
fresh rosemary, time and sage (optional but would make it MUCH better)
black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons maple sizzurp
1/4 c ricotta cheese (optional but would make it much better)
First things first, make the dough.
Add the flour and generous pinches of salt,  and the dried rosemary, thyme, sage, pulse to mix.
Dice one stick of butter into small cubes, add to the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds 10 times until the dough is moistened and in small and large crumbles. 

quickly beat 1 egg and add it to the processor and pulse until a dough ball forms.
Take the dough out, kneed it a bit and then form it into a disc, plastic wrap it and let it rest in the fridge for 40 minutes 

pre heat the oven to 400 degrees…i forgot to do this part. oh, and if you are opting to roast your squash a bit so you can cut it easier, then stick it in the oven at this point.
so, take out your badass knife set..
and cut the onion first, save the apple for last so it doesn’t oxidize too much. cut the onion in slices like this: 

to do this, cut the onion in half from the root to the weird fuzzy/hair end and peel it lay it on the flat side and cut lengthwise from root to tip. you dont want hamburger halves here, you’re looking for a more elegant almost half heart-shape. 
cut the butternut squash…slice the end off so you  have a flat surface to work with.
then stand up the squash and cut it right down the center.
slice the squash in half moons to be the same thickness as the onion, you want to keep it thin so that the squash cooks through all the way-maybe about 1/4″-1/2″ thick. 
Lastly, slice the apple to be in wedges of the same thickness.
Put the squash, apple, and onion into a bowl. Top with 2 T maple syrup, and herbs. If you are using fresh herbs use them here, if not just use the same dried herbs that you put into the dough mixture. Fresh: 2 T of thyme and sage and 1 T chopped rosemary. Dry: 1/2 T of rosemary, 1 T each of thyme and sage.
Melt 3 T of butter and add on top of the fruit/veg mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the filling onto a sheet pan and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes while you work on the dough.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a “circle”. I didn’t have a rolling pin so I used a bottle of rice wine vinegar…maybe you can plan ahead better than I can. This is a very rustic, autumny dish so that’s why I say “circle”..

Sorry that the shadow of my hand got in the way of the picture. Also, take a moment to marvel at how beautiful the dough looks with specks of rosemary and thyme and sage in it…yummmmmm.
Ok. so take the squash and apple out of the oven and begin layering it onto the dough, leaving about an inch around the edge to fold over. 
Note: I did not put my mixture into the oven first which is why it doesn’t look cooked and its also why my final product was not as golden brown and glorious as I wanted it to be…which is why I told you to put yours in the oven for 15 minutes and why you should also not take yours out early, like I did mine.
So, fold the sides over the tart and then rub them with an egg wash. Egg wash=1 egg beaten, I used the bowl that I melted the butter in. If you have fresh herbs I would sprinkle them over the egg washed tart now…
Stick it in the oven for 40ish minutes, you want the sides to be golden brown and yummy and you want the squash and onion to be carmelized and smelling delicious. 
If you are using the ricotta cheese, this is where it comes in. Mix about 1/4 cup ricotta with 1 T of maple syrup. 5 minutes before the tart is finished, dollop teaspoonfuls of the ricotta syrup mixture onto the tart. Put it back into the oven for 5-7 and then, fall tart party time!!
I’m on a tight budget so I didn’t use ricotta or fresh herbs, but you should, you really really should.
Happy Eating!!

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