3-Onion Leek Tart

May 17, 2009

3-Onion and Leek Tart Time has just flown by lately and with it, my opportunities to not only write as much as I have, but cook the way I’ve always enjoyed cooking — experimenting with new recipes.  Since coming back from Mexico, I’ve been mulling over an opportunity that has taken on a life of its own and me with it.  For the next year or so, I’ll be out of the house again for most of the day so will have to learn to adjust to writing here in the time I have left.  I know there are many of you who do this successfully, so I’ll look to you for inspiration and perhaps a schedule!  By all means, share your secrets with me so I can find a good balance.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a tart I made recently inspired by yet another tart made with some lovely vegetables from Specialty Produce. Although the brief and somewhat elusive season for ramps is close to ending (April – May) , I was able to sample them for the first time.  Ramps are wild leeks harvested by foraging in wooded, mountainous areas, and from what I’m learning, quite the reason to celebrate since they’re a sign of spring.  Ramps are a member of the allium family, so I decided to sample them with green garlic and shallot shoots knowing that whatever I ended up making would be delicious.  Unfortunately, the first tart was prepared for a dinner party, and since I’m challenged to find a way to shoot great photos while entertaining, I decided to recreate the tart using a different collection of vegetables from the onion family.

Because I was home alone that evening, I was thrilled not to have to share this amazing tart with anyone.


Allium Ingredients

Three Onion and Leek Tart with Goat Cheese and Creme Fraiche

For the crust…

3 T buttermilk

1/3 c. ice water

1 c. flour

1/4 c. cornmeal

1 tsp. sugar

lg. pinch salt

7 T cold unsalted butter, chunked

For the topping…

1 leek, white and light green parts sliced thin and rinsed thoroughly

2 lg. cloves garlic, minced

3 cippolines, sliced

1 cambray onion, sliced

1 lg. shallot, sliced

1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

For the creme…

1/4 c. creme fraiche

1/4 c. goat cheese

1 tsp. fresh thyme

salt & pepper to taste

Onion Saute Filling IMG_4005 IMG_4006

To make the crust, mix the buttermilk with the ice water in a small measuring cup and keep cold.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and cornmeal, then “pinch in” the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal of uneven sized crumbs.  Using a tablespoon, sprinkle a bit of the buttermilk-water mixture over the meal a bit at a time and mix lightly with a fork until it begins to hold together.  Only add as much liquid as needed to form a soft but not sticky dough.  Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it, wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  If you’d like to make two or more small tarts, divide the dough accordingly, flatten and refrigerate.

To make the creme, combine creme fraiche, goat cheese, thyme and seasoning in a small bowl and stir until well blended.  Leave at room temperature until ready to use.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.  Add all the vegetables at once, stirring to coat with the oil.  Cook slowly, and stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and very fragrant, but not browned, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

To make the tart, remove the dough from the fridge and between two sheets of plastic, roll into one or more disks about 1/8″ in thickness.  Place on a parchment lined baking pan and spread a light layer of the creme over the surface, leaving at least a 1-inch border.  Mound the softened onion filling over the creme, and then fold the edge of the dough up over the filling pleating it as needed.  Lightly salt and pepper and place in a preheated 400-degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool briefly on the baking sheet and either serve immediately, or cool completely at room temperature on a baking rack.

IMG_4012

Notes:

  • I made two small tarts — each about 7″ in diameter when finished.  One tart is plenty as a main course, or perfect to share if you add a salad.
  • The first tart I made essentially the same way, but combined ramps, green garlic, and shallot shoots.  I made three and cut them into quarters to serve as a starter with wine and most of us agreed that we’d have been satisfied to skip dinner and just eat the tarts.
  • The crust is one from Flo Braker and is truly special.  Although I’ve had trouble with it in the past, I bear with it because it is so delicious.  It can be made with yogurt, creme fraiche, or sour cream instead of buttermilk.  It can also be made in a food processor, but ends up so much more workable if you make it by hand.  The refrigeration is absolutely necessary, and depending on how warm the weather is, you may find you need to pop the tart in the freezer for a few minutes before baking.  The results are well worth the effort because it’s a delicate, flaky, but pleasantly crunchy crust.  It freezes well, too.
  • A few explanations about the onions:  cipollines are small, flattened looking onions that fit in the palm of your hand.  They’re quite sweet and have mellow flavor when cooked.  Cambray onions are also called grilling onions.  They look like green onions but with larger, onion-sized bulbs.  They are truly fabulous when grilled.  I’ve also seen them at local farmer’s markets called spring onions, but with bulbs not quite as large.
  • The creme is something you can truly make your own by adding other cheeses or herbs.  I enjoy the tang of the flavors with the onions is wonderful.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, then sour cream is good as long as it isn’t too thin or watery.
  • This particular combination of flavors also makes for a great pasta dish.  Add sauteed mushrooms to the onion mix and pour over your favorite pasta.

Ramps

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

The Purple Foodie May 17, 2009

the tart looks gorgeous Kelly! And three different types of onions sound like so much fun!

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kellypea May 18, 2009

It was fun — and the reward so worth the experiment ; )

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katrina hall May 17, 2009

That looks fabulous, Kelly! This, I have to bookmark!

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kellypea May 18, 2009

I’m sure you’ll come up with something creative — wondering about foccacia….what to you think? Wouldn’t that be delicious?

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A&N May 17, 2009

I love tarts! Especially savory ones. The idea to use diff types of onions is brilliant!

Great pics too, KP!

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kellypea May 18, 2009

Thanks! I have a hard time passing up sauteed onions, so this was quite the treat.

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Haley J. May 18, 2009

I’m dying of jealousy over here! The tart looks wonderful – both variations sound so delicious. But, what I’m really going to have to make is that onion topping with mushrooms over pasta. That sounds like the perfect meal when I’ve got a night to cook for myself! Yum!

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kellypea May 18, 2009

Actually, the first dish I made with the ramps, green garlic, and shallot shoots was pasta. I had some herby chicken sausage, sauteed the greens just like I mentioned here and made sure there was enough olive oil. It was outstanding.

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grace May 18, 2009

i generally like my tarts sugary and smothered with ice cream, but i wouldn’t turn this down. very elegant, kelly–bravo!

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kellypea May 18, 2009

Well you’re in luck girl — I happen to have some extra dough…; )

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Corrinne May 18, 2009

YUM! This looks amazing and your photos are gorgeous. I work with Chavrie goat cheese and this a great recipe for me to share with all my goat cheese lovers out there! Thanks for a great recipe!

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June May 18, 2009

Kelly, this looks wonderful and I can wait to try the pastry. I have some left over mascarpone in the fridge – do you think it would work instead of creme fraiche?

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kellypea May 19, 2009

I love to use mascarpone with these ingredients. It’s a bit sweet, so I’d taste it and make sure you like the combo. I love it! You’ll most likely need to add a bit more cream, or if you prefer to “dollop” that would work, too, but being able to spread the cheese mixture on the dough helps prevent it from softening and getting soggy. Let me know how it turns out!

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Jen May 18, 2009

Your tart cradles many of my favorite ingredients. My oh my, it’s irresistible!

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DaviMack May 18, 2009

Looks awesome, Kel! Yum! If I hadn’t just had dinner….

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Peabody May 18, 2009

What a lovely savory tart.

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Maria May 18, 2009

I love savory tarts. This one looks exceptional!

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Karen@Mignardise May 19, 2009

Sounds like you have an exciting opportunity coming up. Best of luck!

That crust looks so good, and as usual, your photos are excellent.

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Judy May 19, 2009

What an incredible looking tart Kelly! I love a rustic looking crust and that one looks just perfect!

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MyKitchenInHalfCups May 19, 2009

You sure have me swooning with this one Kelly! I love this crust and yours is beautiful! Opportunities . . . that ‘s the best!

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kellypea May 20, 2009

Thanks, Tanna. Yes, I’m a big one for opportunities — it’s the mindset about priorities in choosing to take advantage of opportunity that skews things a bit, however. ; )

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Deborah May 20, 2009

Well, it seems like since I’ve been home, I’ve had LESS time to blog!! Gorgeous tart!

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kellypea May 20, 2009

Yes, but you have a beautiful excuse, too! And she’s just perfect. I need to stop by and see how she’s doing : )

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Blond Duck May 21, 2009

I wouldn’t share either.

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Aida May 21, 2009

Thank you for making me hungry! :) The tart looks delicious! Kelly, I did want to send you an invitation to something but do not have your e-mail address!

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lo May 22, 2009

This is one of the best ramp recipes I’ve seen yet this season… LOVE the wild leek. But, I’ve yet to eat any this year. *sad*

As far as blogging goes, I’m not sure there are any secrets to working/blogging… at least not for me. I blog when I’ve been cooking and have the time. And I try not to stress. I read others’ blogs loyally… and hope they’ll do the same :)

Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

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Tartelette May 24, 2009

My favorite ways to eat ramps or leeks is blanched and served room temperature with a simple vinaigrette or in a galette like this one! Truly beautiful and delicious!
I would not say that about just anybody, but *you* will figure out a way to balance it all out.

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maris May 26, 2009

I love onions – especially caramelized and they’re great with leeks. I’d have to say what sold me on this tart though, is goat cheese!

And as far as balance, I work in PR so I’m allowed to read blogs at work! lol

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justeatfood June 1, 2009

God bless ramp season! Looks like it is officially over today. Oh well, until next year… Looks fabulous Kelly.

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kellypea June 5, 2009

I’m a new fan of ramps, so I’m with you on being sad to see their season end.

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