Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sweet Potato and Red Onion Tart

Tonight I took one step further into the realm of pastry crust.  This time it was a free-form tart, a galette of sorts, and one of the savory variety.  While the crust came out a little bit crumbly, the tart was in one piece and it tasted fantastic, so I think I can safely pat myself on the back.

This is a very elegant meal on its own, or with a simple green salad.  It could also work as an appetizer or side dish on Thanksgiving day, if you are looking for a last minute addition to your menu.  The flavors are mild and lovely, with just a hint of robust rosemary to liven things up a bit. 

I suppose if I'm really going to get good at the whole pastry crust thing, I need to go for the full fat, white flour and butter variety.  But these experiments with the more healthy alternative are still quite fun.  So enjoy a relatively guilt-free tart, on me.

Sweet Potato and Red Onion Tart
adapted from Eating Well Magazine
serves 8-10


3/4 cup walnuts
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
7 tablespoons ice cold water

1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 egg white, mixed with 1 teaspoon water


1.  Preheat oven to 425 (unless you are making the pastry dough ahead of time, which you can feel free to do).

2.  Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground.  Add flour, rosemary, salt and pepper, and process until smooth.  Dump out into a large bowl and form a well in the center.  Pour EVOO and water into the well, then gently stir everything together, gradually combining the dry and wet ingredients, until a cohesive dough begins to form.  Knead with your hands to form into a ball, just until it comes together.  Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or up to 3 days.

3.  Combine sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.  Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet (but leave room for the onions).  Toss onion in the bowl with 1 teaspoon oil.  Spread evenly on remaining space of the baking sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375.

4.  Line a work surface with parchment paper.  Lightly dust with flour, and then lightly dust the disk of dough with flour.  Roll out to a rustic 15-inch circle, adding more flour if necessary to prevent sticking.  Transfer to a baking sheet with parchment in place.

5.  Leaving a 2 inch border, sprinkle cheese over the dough.  Maintaining the 2 inch border, create an overlapping circle of the larger slices of sweet potato around the perimeter.  Follow with another circle of onion, and finally fill in the center with overlapping sweet potato.  It will look sort of like a bulls-eye. 

6.  Pick up edges of crust with a spatula and fold over, covering the edges of the sweet potato slices.  Dough may be crumbly, so be patient and smoosh it with your fingers as necessary.  Brush the crust with the egg wash.  Drizzle veggies with remaining teaspoon of oil.

7.  Bake until lightly browned on the edges, about 50 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

A few more steps than my typical recipe, but well worth it!  Enjoy.

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