Sweet and Savory Holiday Breakfast Tart

By • December 6, 2010 22 Comments

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Author Notes: Though named a "Breakfast Tart," this is also delicious for lunch or dinner. The sweetness comes from the chestnut flour in the crust, and the slices of pear buried in the custard. You could also make this using natural bacon, slivers of apple and cheddar, or whatever other cheese appeals to you. The crust can be made and blind baked the night before. You can also saute the sausage and onions and chop the herbs, and separately mix up the custard ingredients, well in advance. However you make this . . . enjoy!!AntoniaJames

Makes one 10" tart

Chestnut and Wheat Germ Crust

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons cold whole milk
  • Butter for greasing foil used in blind baking

The Filling Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bulk sausage (pork, turkey or a combination)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage, if necessary
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon good prepared mustard (I use a stoneground mustard with horseradish)
  • 2 ounces Gruyere or similar cheese, coarsely grated (or more, to taste)
  • 1 Bosc or Anjou pear
  • Salt and pepper, if necessary
  1. START THE CRUST: Place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Turn the mixture into a large bowl and drizzle the oil and 1 tablespoon of the milk over it. Stir to combine, using the back of a broad-bowled spoon to mix the ingredients. It will appear dry and crumbly. Don’t despair.
  3. Use your hands to scoop up and press the dough firmly together.Add the second tablespoon of milk if you are unable to get the dough to clump up, i.e., if it seems just too dry.
  4. Turn the pieces of dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, bring the edges up and squeeze the dough into a ball inside the plastic wrap. Flatten it into a disk, thoroughly wrap it and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. ROLL THE CRUST: Roll out the dough between two layers of plastic wrap. Place in the tart pan and press firmly around the edges and into the sides of the ring. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  6. MAKE THE FILLING: Saute the sausage and onion together in a heavy skillet until the sausage is fairly cooked and the onion is translucent.
  7. Taste a little piece of the cooked sausage. Is it salty? Does it have enough herbs in it? How about the pepper in it? Take note, as you will be seasoning and adding herbs, or not, depending on your answers to these questions.
  8. Beat the eggs, half-and-half and cream together.
  9. PARTIALLY BLIND BAKE THE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter the shiny side of a piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom of tart crust, and up the sides as well. Put the foil in, butter side down, and add dried beans, pie weights, pennies, or whatever you typically use.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, prick the crust all over and return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
  11. ASSEMBLE THE TART: As soon as you remove the crust from the oven, brush the bottom with the mustard and put the cheese on it. (This will melt the cheese, allowing it to form a protective barrier between the custard and the crust.)
  12. Quarter, core and cut into thin slices the pear. If its peel is tough or thick, peel it as well. (You can do this while the crust is blind baking if you want. I like to do it at the last minute and directly slice into the crust, simply because it's easier for me.)
  13. Carefully arrange a layer of the thin slices of fruit over the cheese. Pour in 1/2 of the custard.
  14. Sprinkle on the fresh herbs, if you are using them, then add the sausage and onion mixture. Pour over the rest of the custard and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
  15. BAKE IT: Bake for 30-35 minutes, framing the outer crust with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. (I always check it at about ten minutes).
  16. Let the tart rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
  17. Enjoy!!

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