Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Simple Butternut Squash Tart

You can make this in a pan or free form, one big one, or multiple smaller ones. I had caramelized onions left over from a previous recipe so I used them in the ricotta - don't be afraid to experiment with seasonal ingredients. You could even sweeten up the ricotta a bit when summer comes around and do a stone fruit or berry version. I very rarely use puff pastry, but when I do, I look for Dufour, it is made with real butter and is outrageously delicious. Other brands are made with shortening/partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
It is easy to scale the ricotta filling in this recipe for use in different sized pans or multiple tarts. Use 1 cup ricotta to 1 egg.
1 package of puff pastry dough
zest of one lemon
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1/2 cup caramelized onions
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
10 very thin (1/8-inch) slices of butternut squash (I cut rounds from the neck of the squash), pre-cook them in a bit of olive oil in a covered pan for 2-3 minutes before using them on the tart
6 - 10 very thin slices of goat cheese
Preheat oven to 375.
Thaw the puff pastry dough. Put it out on a lightly floured counter top and roll it out a bit thinner - roughly 1/8-inch. Be sure to roll it to fit your tart pan if you are using one (again, you can make this tart free form w/ no pan if you like). Leave about an inch worth of edges draped over the pan (you will need to fold this back in over the filling later. Prick the dough in the middle of the tart a few times with the tines of a fork, and sprinkle most of the lemon zest right onto the rolled-out dough.
In a small bowl mix the ricotta, one egg, onions and salt together. Spread the ricotta mixture onto the base of the tart. Don't go quite all the way to the edge, it makes it hard to fold the edges over later. Arrange the slices of squash on top, and the slices of goat cheese on top of the squash.
Fold the edges of the pastry back in toward the filling (an inch or so). Brush the pastry with the egg yolk and bake for 30-35 minutes or until tart shell is golden and the filling has set.
Serve warm, cut into small slices (it is quite rich) sprinkled with any remaining lemon zest and a bit of pepper (I used red peppercorns this time around).

This will make one six/seven-inch square tart or multiple smaller tarts.