I created this tart a few years ago because I wanted to stretch one of my favorite winter side dishes--tangy Brussels sprouts with salty pancetta and meaty chestnuts--toward spring. With just a simple custard holding the filling together, this tart is hearty enough to acknowledge late winter, but light enough to anticipate spring. The whole wheat shell is crisp and flavorful, and the rich-tasting filling is quite healthy. Paired with soup or a salad, it makes an excellent meal to straddle the seasons. —julie_chicago
Whole Wheat Tart Shell
whole wheat flour
whole wheat pastry flour
ice water, plus 1 to 2 Tbs as needed
(1/4-inch thick) slices pancetta or 6 slices bacon, chopped
Make the tart shell: In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until you have a sandy mixture with pea-sized chunks. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture, then pulse again until the dough just starts to come together. It will still look a little scraggly. If the dough does not easily adhere when you press a bit between your fingers, add one more tablespoon of ice water and pulse. Repeat if necessary until the dough is moist and cohesive, but not wet.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press it together, kneading once or twice, to form a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to a large, 12-13 inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough over the pin and drape it into a 9 or 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the sides of the pan with your knuckles and peel off the pieces that hang over the pan and use them to patch any holes. Prick the base and sides of the crust all over with a fork, place tart pan on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. If you want to cook this crust all the way through for a different recipe, bake about 30 minutes total.
While tart shell partially bakes, make the filling: Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-low. Add pancetta or bacon and cook until lightly browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove to a paper towel to drain, leaving the fat in the pan.
If necessary, add some olive oil to the pan so you have about 1 tbs. of fat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat if shallots started browning too quickly. Add the cider vinegar and sugar to the shallots, stirring until shallots are coated with glaze, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir until slightly wilted. Turn up the heat to medium and add water to create a thin layer of liquid at the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring often, until water evaporates and Brussels sprouts are soft, but still sweet and firm to the bite. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chestnuts and pancetta.
Scatter the cheese over the partially baked tart shell and place on a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and milk and season with salt and pepper. Add the Brussels sprout mixture and toss to coat. Add to tart shell. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until set, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.