Make Ahead

Sausage-Happy Tart

December  6, 2010
3 Ratings
Photo by AntoniaJames
  • Makes one 9" Tart
Author Notes

I call this "Sausage-Happy" because I flavor both the crust and the custard with the herbs and spices I like most in sausages - and of course, I use sausage as well. Chestnut flour in the crust adds a gentle, nutty sweetness. Use this as a template for variations using natural bacon, slivers of apple and cheddar, pear and gruyere, or mushrooms or paper-thin slices of fennel and onions for a vegetarian tart. I hope you like it. ;o) —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • Chestnut and Wheat Germ Crust
  • 96 grams / 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 20 grams / 1/3 cup unsweetened toasted wheat germ
  • 72 grams / 3/4 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram or a healthy pinch of dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves, or a healthy pinch of dried
  • 112 grams / 4 ounces / ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 24 grams (2 tablespoons / 30 ml) olive oil
  • 30 ml / 2 tablespoons / 15 grams cold whole milk
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • The Filling Ingredients
  • 118 grams / 1/2 pound bulk sausage (pork, turkey or a combination)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 121 grams / 120 ml / 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 58 grams / 60 ml / 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage or a good pinch of dried + more to taste, if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon / 15 ml good prepared mustard (I use a stoneground mustard with horseradish)
  • 70 grams / 2 ½ ounces / ¾ cup Gruyere or similar cheese, coarsely grated (or more, to taste)
  • 1 Bosc or Anjou pear (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  1. MAKE THE CRUST: If using dried herbs, crush them with the spices using a mortar and pestle.
  2. 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.
  3. Drizzle the oil and milk over it. Pulse until all the dry ingredients are absorbed and the dough has a fairly uniform consistency.
  4. Press the dough into a 9” tart ring with a removable bottom. I use the heel of my hand, right at the base of my thumb, to press the dough into the edge of the ring and then to level the base.
  5. Chill for at least 20 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. MAKE THE FILLING: Saute the sausage, broken into smallish bits, and the onion together in a heavy skillet until the sausage is 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. If using dried herbs in the custard, crush them with the spices using a mortar and pestle. This releases the fragrance of the herbs much more effectively than the more commonly suggested "crush them between your hands" method.
  9. TO BLIND BAKE THE CRUST: Cut a piece of parchment that’s large enough to allow for considerable overlap around the edges of the tart. Crumple it up tightly and then un-crumple and flatten it. Put the rumpled paper in the tart crust; fill it with dried beans or whatever weights you typically use for blind baking. Roll the edges of the parchment down over the edge. This will provide some protection from over-browning. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove the paper and weights; prick the crust all over and return to the oven for another 2 minutes.
  10. 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, forming a protective barrier between the custard and the crust.)
  11. Quarter, core and cut into thin slices the pear, if using. If its peel is tough or thick, peel it as well. Layer the slices over the cheese.
  12. Sprinkle on the herbs and spices, and more salt and pepper, if necessary. Pour over the custard.
  13. Bake for 30-35 minutes; check it after 20 minutes and frame the outer crust with foil or put on a silicone ring if the edge starts to brown too quickly. I hope you like this. Yours sincerely, AntoniaJames ;o)
  14. Tips for advance prep: 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lizund
  • Bevi
  • Sagegreen
  • AntoniaJames
  • hardlikearmour

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

21 Reviews

lizund December 9, 2013
I am not able to find the chestnut flour by me - I used a regular pie crust but the custard leaks thru - what am I doing wrong?
Bevi September 15, 2011
I could eat this every day of the week. I will have a hard time finding chestnut flour. I'll check WFM the next time I am near one.
Sagegreen December 8, 2010
Brilliant! What finesse with both the crust and filling!
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Thank you, Sagegreen. That's quite a compliment. I'm actually craving some tart like that, right now . . . . Mr T and made short work of the one photographed. I'm scheming to put another on the table by week's end. ;o)
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Thanks so much. I really like fruit, cheese and sausage combo too, and am planning to make this again with the bacon/apple/fontina or manchego trio this weekend. Best place to find chestnut flour around here is the older, established Italian delis that sell a lot of imported Italian groceries. As noted above, you may also be able to find it at Whole Foods. You might want to call your local one to check. If you can't find it anywhere, send me a note and I'll send you some. ;o)
hardlikearmour December 8, 2010
AJ, this sounds incredible! Do you think I could substitute almond meal for the chestnut flour?
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
You probably could, but I'm given the fat content of almonds and, presumably almond flour, you might want to cut back on the butter. As is, this is incredibly buttery, due to the somewhat buttery taste of the chestnuts and their velvety "mouth feel." Also, the chestnuts give the crust an amazing flavor that the almond flour would not. I'd love to hear how it works out. BTW, did you see the foodpickle discussions and also, I think there were some within a recipe for something else containing chestnut flour, about where to find chestnut flour? Let me know if you haven't, and I'll run that down. ;o)
hardlikearmour December 8, 2010
Thanks, AJ. I saw the thread on chestnut flour. I just have a bunch of almond meal in my freezer, so was hoping to use it. I'm sure it won't be as good as the chestnut, but almonds and pears work well together so I'm hopeful.
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Hey, it sounds great. Let us know how it turns out, please! I agree, almonds and pears are nice together. ;o)
monkeymom December 7, 2010
Ditto to all the below and what a cool crust too!
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Thanks, monkeymom. And yes, the crust is what makes this really tasty. ;o)
dymnyno December 6, 2010
Love the combination of ingredients and flavors...this sounds like my kind of special breakfast (or dinner)!
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Thank you, dymnyno. I wasn't sure about putting a pear in, and in fact, Mr T had his doubts, but I went ahead and snuck it in, and it works! ;o)
Lizthechef December 6, 2010
This looks well worth the effort - I think we can find chestnut flour at Whole Foods...Nice flavor combos, AJ!
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Ah, didn't know about Whole Foods. We only have one Italian deli within reasonable driving distance that sells the stuff. Am considering stocking up, as I have been told that it is a seasonal item. Will definitely check WF when I'm there next. Thanks for the tip! (And your kind words.) ;o)
thirschfeld December 6, 2010
this looks so good. I like the crust, well, and the filling, too.
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
Thank you. That photo was taken on the day after I made it, due to some scheduling issues (namely, it was late and dinner seemed more urgent than a photo shoot). It looked even better right out of the oven. I took a shot of the whole tart, but need to correct the white balance, due to all the crazy different color values of the lights in my kitchen and adjacent areas . . . . . ;o)
drbabs December 6, 2010
Coming over now...
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
You're welcome, any time. I mean that. Any time! ;o)
aargersi December 6, 2010
yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Love the cheese / fruit / sausage thing going on here. I guess it is time to look for chestnut flour!!!
AntoniaJames December 8, 2010
That note above, regarding where to find the chestnut flour, I had meant as a reply to aargersi, but it somehow appeared there, instead of here. ;o)