Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zucchini leek tart

I like tarts. A lot. And I make tarts a lot. Perhaps because I've only had an oven since I moved into this apartment in July, I've filled up the months since then eagerly making anything that involves baking, roasting, etc. And now that it's practically Winter and the world is cold cold cold, baking is a cheap way to heat the house with the bonus that you get to eat something delicious at the end!

I actually first made this tart awhile ago and somehow never got around to writing it up. Then this week, I suddenly found myself with some week-old zucchini and leeks sitting around in my fridge, and so I decided to try the tart again, except with a cornmeal crust instead of a normal pastry crust like I had used the first time.

Though the cornmeal crust was tasty, I decided it didn't complement the filling as nicely as a regular pastry crust, so I'll give the recipe for the first version, though of course you're free to substitute cornmeal for some or all of the flour and see how you like it. Either way, this is a wonderful tart - light and yet filling, and also not too difficult!

For the crust:
200 g pastry flour
50 g unsalted butter
1 egg
A small spoonful of salt
A little bit of cold water

For the filling:
2 medium-sized zucchini
1 largish leek
100 g ricotta
1 egg
Olive oil

Begin by making the dough a couple of hours ahead of time. Sift together the flour and salt. Cut the butter into smallish chunks and crumble it into the flour mixture, using either your hands or mixing-gadget of your choice (I'm old-fashioned and go with the hands way). Once the flour and butter are thoroughly mixed, lightly beat the egg and then mix it into the flour/butter mixture. Pour in the cold water a little bit at a time, mixing as you go so that you get just enough to make a stickyish dough. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Several minutes before you plan to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 355º F/180º C. While the oven is heating, prepare the filling. Wash the zucchini and chop the ends off. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the zucchini into a bowl.

Tear off the outer leaves of the leek and then rinse thoroughly. Slit the leek lengthwise with a knife down almost all the way to the root. Spread the leaves apart and rinse even more thoroughly in cold water to get out all the bits of dirt that inevitably find their way into the leek leaves. Once the leek has been washed, chop it into little half circles.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the leek, and after a minute or so, add the zucchini. Let cook at high heat for a few minutes, then cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Let the zucchini and leek cook at this heat for 15 minutes or so, until the leek starts to caramelize. Stir every so often to keep the zucchini from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Lightly beat the egg with a fork. When the zucchini/leek mixture is done, add it to the egg, and then add the ricotta. Stir everything up well. Grate the parmesan over the top, sprinkle on the salt and pepper and mix everything up again.

When the pastry dough is done chilling, take it out and roll it out onto a well-floured board. I like my crusts fairly thick, but you can make yours as thin as you like - as long as it doesn't fall apart!

Butter a tart pan all over the bottom and sides and carefully place the rolled-out dough into the pan, adding and taking away bits where necessary. Poke holes in the bottom and sides with a fork, and let bake for about 10 minutes to pre-cook the crust.

After the crust is somewhat hard, take it out of the oven and spoon in the filling. Return the tart to the oven and let bake 20-25 minutes. Remove, let cool a bit, and then eat!


Haley said...

Yum, this tart looks delicious! I really enjoy looking through all of your recipes... great blog :)

I would love to write about your tart on our blog! If you are interested send me an email at haley@keyingredient.com

Haley, KI Blogger

Zoe said...

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!