Introducing Martha Stewart's Vegetable Tartlet from her cookbook Martha Stewart's New Pies & Tarts by Random House of Canada. Aren't these gorgeous?! It was a close call! This recipe won by only two votes!
Make sure to vote for the final recipe test from Martha's latest cookbook in the poll on the right: Ginger-Pear Hand Pies, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pielets and Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Galette.
You begin with 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp coarse salt. Pulse in a food processor.
Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter cut up into pieces. Pulse until butter is broken up and looks like coarse meal.
Drizzle in 1/2 cup of ice water, pulsing until dough holds together. I had to (as usual) add a lot more water for this to happen. Divide dough into half and shape into disks. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
For this recipe you are supposed to use either small springform pans or tart pans with removable bottoms but I do not have either so I used the dishes I use to make crème brûlée. I just greased and floured them which worked perfectly. I rolled out the dough to 1/8" thick. Well, it might have been a bit thicker. This dough is crazy tough and hard to roll out! I did my best Martha.
I put the dough into the dish, folded the edges to get it to fit and trimmed the dough along the top. Then I put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the dough was chilling I heated oil in a skillet over medium heat and added vegetables that are in season: fiddleheads, sliced asparagus, yellow and orange peppers and sliced mushrooms. I sauteed the vegetables for around 4 minutes. I added some red onions and cooked for 2 minutes.
I added 1 cup of dry white wine and a pinch of salt and pepper. I cooked until the wine had evaporated.
I turned off the heat and tore in some fresh basil, added some grape tomatoes and a small pinch of red pepper flakes.
I put the vegetables into the chilled tarts and baked in a preheated 350F oven for 40 minutes.
Of course I immediately wondered, where is the sauce? What about a drizzle of aged balsamic? At least some flecks of goat cheese?! But nope, it was just a tart with veggies. Was that enough?
I was shocked at how delicious this was. I thought it was just going to be too darn boring and simple for me but surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. My tomatoes did not roast down though so next time I will slice them in half and deseed them.
A major issue was actually eating the tart. Do you use a knife and fork? The crust was tough enough to eat the tart by hand (which was my preference) but my husband tried to cut it up with just a fork and fought with it. Despite enjoying the flavours in this tart, he hates cornmeal and difficult-to-eat food so he was not terribly impressed with this recipe.
I thought the veggies were wonderful. I loved how the wine brought out their natural flavours and added to them at the same time and the heat from the red pepper flakes was perfect. Being a stickler for true advertising, I think these tarts came out of the oven looking a lot like the ones in the cookbook which made me very happy.
Because my husband was not happy with this recipe, I used the last of the dough to make a robust quiche. The recipes says the crust is "light and crisp" and I have to differ on that one with you Martha. If you have super upper body strength and could beat this dough into submission and make it thin... maybe that would be the case. I did my best and I just could not get it nice and thin.
That said, I loved the crust. Not light and flaky but had wonderful texture and flavour thanks to the cornmeal (again, Reg would disagree with me on that one). This may not be the kind of thing I would make for a dinner party because the actual eating might be awkward but for a special treat on a miserable rainy day, I was thoroughly impressed.
I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons. Next time I will be adding goat cheese and an aged balsamic drizzle though!