Overfull tart

We've headed down to my parents' house for the weekend, helping out a little as my dad recovers from surgery, and wanted to make sure we loaded up the folks' fridge so Mom didn't have to worry about cooking at least over the weekend. Last night, I fully intended to bake a quiche and a tart, so we could pack and go this morning. Last night, our neighbors had a little gathering before they move back to Germany. Last night, there was much revelry and not so much quiche-baking. I did manage to finish some patriotic marshmallows (red and blue food coloring streaks - so really just swirly purple marshmallows) for day 2 of the neighbors' party; Mom and Dad are enjoying the marshmallow remnants.

So this morning I sprang out of bed at 6am (no, really - I don't know how or why it happened either) and did some prep work, with a plan to assemble and bake the quiches at the folks'. Mr Leaven was my reluctant sous chef (thanks, honey!). We loaded up our supplies and took over Mom's kitchen to fix up a crookneck squash quiche and the Very Full Tart from the gorgeous Ottolenghi cookbook, Plenty, that has me drooling over every picture.

We followed the form of the Very Full Tart but substituted generously (almost every ingredient). That's probably why the tart towered over the pie dish and we could only pour in 1/2 of the custard filling. Undaunted, I baked that sucker for over an hour then served 4 extremely messy pieces (that custard filling's a pretty important binder for all those veggies). It was delicious. The taste was so unique, and every bite was something new. I loved the roasted beets, Mom and the Mister loved the tomatoes on top, Dad enjoyed it but preferred the more traditional squash quiche. Other than cutting back a little on the quantity of vegetables, I don't think I'd change a thing if I made this again.

The squash quiche was straightforward - parbake a quiche shell, layer 1 cup of shredded cheese like Gruyere, layer 1/2 cup of Parmesan, pile in sauteed squash and onion, pour the custard mixture (1 cup of heavy cream, 3 eggs, some salt, pepper, nutmeg) on top and bake for about 45 minutes.

There are more steps to the Overfull Tart. So far, each recipe I've tried from Plenty has been similar - several steps of prep that really pull out every morsel of flavor from each ingredient. And how can you go wrong when you caramelize your onions and roast your vegetables before commingling them?? You can't.

Overfull Tart
adapted from the Very Full Tart
Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
about 6 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper
about 4 smallish potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
about 4 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 small crookneck squash or zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
11 oz pie crust dough (I used Deb's)
Leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
3 oz goat cheese
4 oz shredded cheese, cheddar or other (crazily enough, we used cheese curds, which were good but not usually accessible in Texas - thank you, Wisconsin family!)
4-5 small Roma tomatoes, quartered
Jalapeno slices (Mom's special request)
2 medium eggs
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 450F. Use a small serrated knife to cut around the stem of the peppers and lift it out along with the seeds. Shake the peppers to remove all the remaining seeds; discard the stems and seeds. Place the two peppers in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little oil and put on the top shelf in the oven.

Mix the potato and beets in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking pan and place in the oven on the shelf beneath the peppers. After 20 minutes add the zucchini to the pan, stir and roast for another 10-12 minutes. At this point the peppers should be brown and the rest of the vegetables cooked. Remove all from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325F. Cover the peppers with foil and cool, then peel and tear roughly into strips.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pain on medium heat. Saute the onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and set aside.

Lightly grease a 9-inch loose-bottomed tart pan (I used a regular pie dish). Roll out the pie crust dough to a circle roughly 1/8 inch thick and large enough to line the pan, plus extra to hang over the rim. Carefully line the pan with the dough, pressing it into the corners and folding the excess back over into the pan. Line the dough with a large sheet of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the paper with the weights, then bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until it turns golden brown. Remove and allow to cool a little.

Scatter the cooked onion over the bottom of the crust and top with the roasted vegetables, arranging them evenly. Scatter half of the rosemary over. Next, dot the veggies with small chunks of the goat cheese, scatter the shredded cheese, and then add the tomato halves (and jalapeno slices, if using), cut-side up.

Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Carefully pour this mix into the tart; the top layer of tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining rosemary over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 (or more) minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before releasing the tart from the pan and serving.


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