Last week I wrote about the fact that I didn’t have juniper berries. That same day, my generous friend Diane left a little jar of juniper berries in my mailbox! I’m so excited. They’re lovely, a little piney, a little citrusy. I decided to use them to flavor this parsnip tart. I kept the tart very simple otherwise, so that I’d be able to detect the juniper flavor. So the only other seasoning is thyme. And the only other ingredients are shallots and garlic, which play more of a starring role in this tart than I usually allow them. I used gjetost cheese, because I had some left from the other week, but you could easily substitute cheddar or mozzarella, or whatever else you like and have on hand. (And if you don’t have juniper berries, the tart would still be tasty. You could substitute a bit of rosemary, if you have some lying around.) This isn’t a light and fluffy tart, it’s dense and flavorful, and very delicious!
Here’s Regina Spektor with On the Radio, in honor of the curiously effective soundtrack of the video.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup walnuts, ground till crumbly
1/2 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen (1/2 cup)
Mix the flour, walnuts, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Grate in the butter. Mix with a fork till it’s like coarse crumbs. Add just enough ice water to pull everything together into a workable dough. Knead for a few seconds, wrap in foil, and chill for at least a half hour.
3 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped in 1/3 inch dice (about 3 cups),
just enough olive oil to coat the parsnips
1 T butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t dried thyme
7 or 8 juniper berries, crushed
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated gjetost or brunost
1/2 cup cream or milk
salt and plenty of black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the parsnips with olive oil, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, and roast until browned outside and soft inside, 20 – 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and mash slightly.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme, stir and fry until the shallot and garlic are browned and starting to get crispy. Transfer to the bowl with the parsnips and mix well.
Grate in the cheeses. Whisk the eggs with the cream, and stir those in as well. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly butter and flour a tart pan. Roll the dough to be just bigger than the tart pan, and press it in. Pre-bake for about ten minutes, till it loses its shine. If it starts to wilt on the edges, press it up carefully with your fingers. (careful not to burn yourself!)
Pour the parsnip mixture into the tart shell. Bake for about half an hour, till its puffed and golden brown on the top. Allow to cool and set for a few minutes, then slice and eat.