It was a long and winding road to get to this recipe, I tell ya. I started with a butternut squash, chard and burrata tart (it was pretty good, but I didn't adore it enough to post for this contest). I then made a similar one, but with goat cheese (and still didn't LOVE it). Finally, I made the one you see here, which is my favorite. I tried a a few different crusts, too: the first was all butter and the second was butter and leaf lard, but then I switched gears and settled on this one which utilizes walnuts and walnut oil (and was inspired by Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini's Olive Oil Crust). If you can't find toasted walnut oil, you can substitute olive oil. I used a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this recipe. - WinnieAb —WinnieAb
Test Kitchen Notes
What an unexpected, but completely brilliant, combination of flavors for a quiche. The maple in the custard is subtle, just there to accent the bacon, greens and walnuts that anchor the filling. The walnut oil crust is another stroke of genius. Do your best to roll it out and transfer to the tart pan, but don't stress if it crumbles: as WinnieAb notes, you can make up for any breakage with some well-placed patches. —Kristen Miglore
Walnut Tart Crust
1 1/2 cups
organic all-purpose flour
walnut meal (made from whirring walnuts in a blender until fine)
fine sea salt
toasted walnut oil
ice water (you probably won't use it all)
Bacon, Chard and Walnut Filling
chopped walnuts, heated in a hot skillet for a minute or two until "toasted" (be careful not to burn them)
chopped thickly sliced bacon (I used home-cured organic, pastured bacon with no preservatives that I made for charcutepalooza; feel free to use your favorite bacon, preferably one that is thickly sliced
chopped sweet/Vidalia onion
toasted walnut oil
bunch green chard leaves, chopped
eggs, preferably organic and free-range
organic heavy cream
pure maple syrup
fresh thyme leaves, plus more for optional garnish
dash of ground black pepper
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, walnut meal, and the salt.
Add the toasted walnut oil and mix well.
Add about 1/4 cup of the water, and using your hands, mix until it starts to form a dough. Add more water, a tablespoon or so at a time, and keep using your hands to mix until it comes together into a ball.
Roll out into a little bigger than the bottom of your tart pan on a floured surface. It's ok if it falls apart a little- it's better not to overwork it and just to press the extra pieces into the tart pan.
Rub the bottom and sides of your tart pan with toasted walnut oil and then transfer the rolled-out dough into the tart pan. Using the heel of your hand (or whatever that part of your hand under your thumb is called), press the dough into the bottom and half-way up the sides of your tart pan. Any pieces that broke off while you were rolling can be pressed in now. I am all for charmingly rustic tart crusts, so don't worry if it doesn't look perfect.
Prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork, then cover with a layer of foil and place pie weights or a layer of dried beans on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the weights/beans and foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until crust just starts to brown and become fragrant. Set aside while you make the tart filling; reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
In a cast-iron skillet, cook chopped bacon for several minutes, until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Pour half the bacon fat into another skillet and leave the rest where it is.
Add chopped onion to one of the skillets along with the tablespoon of toasted walnut oil. Cook for about 20 minutes over low heat, stirring every now and then, until well caramelized.
In the other skillet, cook the chard over low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes. until fully wilted. When the onions are done, combine them with the chard, the toasted walnuts, and the cooked bacon in a large bowl. Add the thyme leaves and mix well.
Add the eggs, cream, and maple syrup to a small bowl and whisk until blended. Add this to the bacon mixture and combine. Pour into the par-baked tart shell.
Place the filled tart pan on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the center of the tart is set, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing the tart from the outside and bottom of the pan; garnish with additional fresh thyme if desired before serving.
I grew up in a restaurant family (my parents owned the now closed Quilted Giraffe in NYC) and I've always loved to cook.
My interest in the connection between food and health led me to pursue a graduate degree in naturopathic medicine. I don't practice medicine anymore; I have a blog called Healthy Green Kitchen that I started in May of 2009 and I wrote a book called One Simple Change that will be published in January, 2014.
I live in upstate New York with my family and many pets.