The end of the winter is a difficult time for food lovers. The infertile and greenless culinary reality of the late winter months calls for a great deal of culinary imagination, and I find my inspiration in tubers and taproots. This is a simple tart that capitalizes on the sweet glory of gently caramelized root vegetables, accentuated by a hint of nutmeg, and two different kinds of pepper. I like to use dough from Dorie Greenspan's mustard tart recipe, because you can never go wrong with Dorie. And the rest, the rest are root veggies, in all their glory. —QueenSashy
Test Kitchen Notes
QueenSashy's Rustic Roasted Root Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart is sure to become a winter staple. (My fourteen-year-old boy scrunched his face and asked, “Really, goat cheese?” before devouring a quarter of the tart in a blink.) You can prepare the crust and roast the vegetables one evening, and then bake it off the next day, which makes it more accessible for a weekday lunch or dinner (or breakfast!). The root vegetables have a sweetness which balances the grassiness of the goat cheese. Lots of white pepper and a savory tart crust rounds everything out. It's lovely. —Shawna Ernst
6 to 8
For the dough
1 1/4 cups
very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into pea-sized bits
9- or 9 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom
For the filling
small rutabaga, about 4 ounces
small turnip, about 3 ounces
2 to 3
medium parsnips, about 8 ounces
small head of celery, or a part of a large head, about 4 ounces
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 ounces
soft goat cheese
In This Recipe
To make the dough: In a bowl of food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a couple of times to blend. Add the butter and pulse several more times, until butter is coarsely incorporated into the mixture. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the ice water. Pour about a third of the egg mixture into the dough and pulse once or twice. Repeat two more times. Pulse only once or twice after each addition, and do not over-process the dough. (The dough shouldn’t form a ball or ride on the blade, but just barely come together in a moist, malleable mass.) Place the dough on a work surface dusted with flour, gather into a ball, and then gently flatten into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
To roast the vegetables: Heat the oven to 375°F convection (400°F regular).
Peel the vegetables, wash, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Drizzle the vegetables generously with olive oil, and season with salt, a generous amount of white pepper, and a pinch of black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and begin to develop deep golden crust around the edges. Mix the vegetables often with a spatula, to prevent them from getting charred. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let them cool. (Roasted vegetables can be kept overnight in a closed container.)
To make the tart: Heat oven to 375°F convection (400°F regular). Butter and flour the tart pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a round. The rolled-out dough should be about 1/4-inch thick and at about 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to the pan without stretching it, and press gently against the bottom and the sides. Trim the edges. Transfer the pan to refrigerator and chill the dough for about one hour.
When ready to bake, using a fork, prick the dough all over. Cover the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for additional 5 minutes until it is lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven and let the dough cool before adding the filling.
Reduce the heat to 350°F convection (375°F regular).
In a small bowl, work the goat cheese with a fork until it is smooth and pasty. Slowly add milk, a tablespoon at time, and mix until fully incorporated. The mixture should have the consistency of heavy whipping cream. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the cheese mixture, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Arrange the vegetables in the tart and then slowly pour the egg mixture over. (You may not be able to fit all of either the vegetables or the egg mixture, depending on how large your vegetables were.) Bake the tart until filling is set and pastry is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.