Ricotta tart with tarragon, smoked gouda and roasted mushrooms

ricotta tart

Mushrooms smell so good when they’re roasting. It really does make your house smell like a holiday. And their nice, meaty, roasty flavor goes so well with smoked gouda! We’d been eating soups and stews and saucy dishes all week, and yesterday I cracked! I made something with a crust! Because I’m crazy! Actually, it’s because I bought some fresh ricotta at Trader Joes earlier in the week, and I was eager to use it. And I bought tarragon earlier in the week, and I was eager to use that as well. I like tarragon with eggy cheesy meals, something about its bright surprising flavor harmonizes well with comforting foods. And this tart is comforting, but also complex and delicious and even elegant. And also fairly easy to make! It has a toasted walnut crust (because walnuts and tarragon play so nicely together) which makes especially good Isaac crackers. All-in-all, a nice winter meal, with potatoes roasted with garlic and rosemary, and a crisp arugula salad.

Here’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Thelonius Monk.

WALNUT CRUST

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and ground
1/2 t. salt
black pepper
1 stick (8T) frozen butter
ice water

Combine the flour, salt, pepper and walnuts and mix well. Grate in the frozen butter. Mix with your hands till it resembles coarse crumbs. Add enough ice water that you can for the dough into a ball (about 1/2 cup). Knead for a few seconds to make sure everything is incorporated. Wrap the dough and put it in the fridge

FILLING

1 batch roasted mushrooms
1 1/4 cup fresh ricotta
2 eggs
1-2 T fresh tarragon, chopped
a few tablespoons of milk
1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
salt & pepper

Roll the dough out to fit a tart pan. I don’t have a tart pan (crazy, right?) so I use my toaster tray. Anything that has straight edges that are 1/2 an inch to 1 inch high, and roughly the area of a 9 inch tart pan, should work. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork and prick the bottom with a fork in a few places.

Blind bake the pie crust at 400 for about 20 minutes, till it’s puffed and golden, but not cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile…in a blender combine the eggs and ricotta and 2 or 3 T of milk. Blend till it’s quite smooth. Pour it into a bowl and mix in the tarragon, the roasted mushrooms, the cheese, the salt and the pepper. Pour this into your pre-baked tart shell.

Cook at 400 for about 1/2 hour, till it’s all puffed and golden brown.

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