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Author Notes: This was inspired by Susan Spungen's recipe for Savory Ricotta-Squash Tart in Food and Wine Magazine. I've made it a dozen times this winter using a variety of squashes and finishing cheeses. It's a satisfying and elegant vegetarian dish sure to please even the most devoted carnivores. —Bob Vivant
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a baking pan toast hazelnuts in one layer until skins are dark brown, about 10 minutes. Finely chop the nuts once they have completely cooled.
- Place the pastry flour, chopped hazelnuts, and salt in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Sprinkle the butter over the flour mixture. Pulse again until coarse crumbs form.
- Add the water and blend dough until it begins to come together but is still crumbly.
- Press dough in bottom and up the sides of a 14x5-inch tart pan (or a 9” round) with a removable bottom. Chill crust 30 minutes.
- Increase oven temperature to 400°F.
- Bake crust in middle of oven until golden, about 25 minutes, and transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- 1 medium butternut (the neck only) or acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces fresh ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 ounces chèvre, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- Peel the butternut squash neck and cut into ½-inch slices. (If using acorn squash, leave the skins on.) Arrange the slices on a baking sheet. Combine one tablespoon each of olive oil and maple syrup and brush on the squash slices. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir to coat with the oil. Add a pinch of salt. Allow the shallots to cook slowly, stirring occasionally until golden. Add the remaining maple syrup and remove from heat.
- Combine the ricotta, eggs, cream, nutmeg, and a ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
- Spread the ricotta filling in the cooled pastry shell. Sprinkle the caramelized shallots on top. Arrange the squash slices over the shallots. If using butternut squash, scoop out a 1-inch diameter circle in the center of each slice to create a nook for the remaining ingredients to nestle in. Sprinkle the crumbled chèvre and dried cranberries over the top of the tart.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the ricotta filling is puffed and firm to the touch. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Fresh Ricotta
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Late Winter Tart (Sweet or Savory)