I hope you’re having a very merry holiday season!
I may not have shared this with you yet, but my husband is a pastor… which means Christmas is a flurry of activity for us, and I had to take a couple days to recover from all the holiday craziness. But I’m finally rested and back with another recipe I made over the holiday season.
Today I have a recipe for you from the famous Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty. I picked up the cookbook this summer, and have drooled over the recipes since then, but hadn’t quite gotten up the nerve to try one. Finally, I tried it for a small holiday dinner party, and WOW! I am now saving my pennies to their other two cookbooks: Ottolenghi and Jerusalem.
The cookbook Plenty is all about vegetables – not to say that it’s necessarily always vegetarian (there are often recommendations for meat pairings), and it’s nowhere near vegan, but it has an adventurous take on how to use vegetables as the star of your meal.
The star of my meal was the Carmelized Garlic Tart.
Poached garlic is then caramelized with balsamic vinegar and sugar, placed in a puff pastry crust and surrounded by a eggy, creme fraiche custard. With all those flavors, you can’t go wrong! Plus by using frozen puff pastry, the whole dish is pretty low-stress. I served this tart with a small salad and pan fried chicken, which makes for a fantastic lunch or dinner, but a slice of this would go just as well with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
Here’s how I put it all together:
- One package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled with the woody stems sliced off
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- ½ and ¼ teaspoon salt, separated
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese (such as chèvre)
- 4 ounces hard goat cheese (such as goat gouda - I found it at Trader Joe's)
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Preferably, use a 11 inch removable-bottomed tart pan, but a large pie plate will do if you don't have a tart pan.
- Roll the puff pastry into a 12-13 inch circle, so that it will fill the tart pan all the way up the sides. Transfer the pastry into the pan.
- Pre-bake the puff pastry at 350 for 20 minutes, with some parchment paper filled with beans, pie weights, or as I used, rice, weighing down the crust. After the 20 minutes, remove the paper and weights and bake until the crust is a nice golden brown (about 7 minutes).
- While the puff pastry is pre-baking, poach the garlic cloves in a medium saucepan with plenty of water, bringing it all to a boil and then simmering it for 3 minutes. Drain the garlic cloves and then return them to your saucepan with the tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the cloves in the oil over high heat for a couple minutes, until the cloves have some beautiful color on them. Keep shaking the pan, so the color is on all sides, and you don't have any side burn.
- Add the balsamic vinegar to the saucepan, bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar, herbs, and ¼ teaspoon of salt to the saucepan and stir regularly while you simmer the mixture for another 12 minutes, until the liquid has mostly evaporated, leaving you with a thick syrup.
- In the pastry crust, scatter chunks of the cheeses, and then pour the garlic cloves with syrup around the crust to evenly distribute them.
- Finally, in a small bowl, combine the ½ teaspoons of salt and black pepper, eggs, heavy cream, and creme fraiche, whisking briskly with a fork.
- Pour the custard over the tart, but don't fully cover the garlic and cheese with custard. You want little bits of cheese and garlic to peep out of the top so that they will brown and caramelize in the oven.
- Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, when the tart has set in the middle, and you see bits of brown on the top.
- Allow the tart to cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, and then remove the outer ring of the tart pan, if using one.
- Serve it on a cake stand to "elevate" it to a new level :)