Flaky pastry, cheesy custard, baby greens, green garlic, garlic chives, goat cheese. It’s spring.
These pretty, flower-shaped tarts are dedicated to the memory of the lovely, vivacious Monica Halici, of The Tart Lady fame. For years she sold her wares every Saturday at Portland Farmers Market, which is where I met her.
Although she left us too soon, her family of superb bakers continues her legacy. Don’t miss The Tart Lady stand when you are at PSU Portland Farmers Market. It doesn’t get any better than this.
A classic quiche is all about the sublime, just-set custard. And the classic portion is 2 large eggs to 1 cup of cream (or half and half). But you can achieve different, interesting effects by simply altering this proportion.
But I decided to go the route of the fabulous baking duo of Once Upon a Tart fame. (Their book is stellar by the way.) I first talked about their approach to quiche in Savory Apple Tart with Onion, Cheddar & Blue Cheese.
So the custard technique discussed in Baby Leek, Cheddar & Rosemary Tart doesn’t really apply here. This is not a custard per se. it’s more like a souffled omelet in texture. Thus, go ahead and ignore my earlier proclamations about determining the precise moment the custard is almost set. Just let it dome all the way. It will settle back down into the pastry shell as it cools.
Monica Halici’s flower-shaped savory tarts are legendary for their novel shape, perfect pastry, and mouth-watering variety of fillings. Here I’ve tried to approximate the lovely shape while creating an ode to Northwest Spring with the selection of the fillings.
Equipment Note You’ll need six, ¾-inch deep, 4-inch diameter, bottomless flan or tart rings. I found mine hanging in the cookie cutter section at Kitchen Kaboodle in Portland for $3.00 each. Mine don’t have rolled edges, which costs more and isn’t necessary for this recipe.
2 batches Quick & Easy, Flaky, All Butter, Short-Crust Pastry, well chilled (preferably overnight)
½ cup wilted mixed baby spinach, chard, and kale (AKA Power Greens)
½ cup thinly sliced green garlic (white and light green portion only)
½ cup fresh goat cheese, processed briefly with ¼ cup heavy cream until creamy and spoonable
¼ cup thinly sliced garlic chives (or chives)
4 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, skinned, and minced or pressed
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
5 ounces grated mozzarella
5 ounces grated Gouda
1. To prepare oven, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, set a large, square pizza stone or square baking tiles on it, and heat to 400ºF.
2. To prepare baking rings, set six, bottomless tart rings on an edged baking sheet. Reserve.
3. To prepare toppings, arrange each topping in a small mixing bowl, and set next to the baking rings on the baking sheet. Reserve.
4. To prepare custard, in a two-cup glass measuring cup with a pouring spout, whisk together eggs, cream, garlic, and salt. Reserve.
5. To combine cheeses, in a medium mixing bowl, combine mozzarella and Gouda. Reserve.
6. To roll and shape pastry, taking only one round of pastry dough from the fridge at a time, roll it to a large square, about 1/8-inch thick. You must be able to cut three, 6¾-inch rounds from the pastry, so roll accordingly.
7. Cut three, 6¾-inch rounds from the pastry. Repeat rolling and cutting for the second round of pastry.
8. Quickly, so the party doesn’t warm and soften, arrange the six pastry rounds in the six rings, making sure you press the bottoms to the edges of the rings. Make six large, inward “pleats for each pastry, creating a six-petal flower effect.
9. To fill pastry, sprinkle ½ cup combined cheeses on the bottoms of each pastry, pushing the cheese into the petals (which helps the pastry hold its shape). Pour ¼ cup custard mixture over the cheese in each tart. Divide wilted greens, green garlic, goat cheese, and garlic chives evenly between tarts.
10. To bake, set baking sheet on the prepared baking stone in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, until custard puffs and pastry is golden brown on the edges and bottoms.
11. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, remove rings and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Makes six, 4-inch tarts.
More Savory Tarts from LunaCafe
Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.