January 29, 2012

Savory Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheeses Tart

Yesterday, I broiled a pie. It was not some ingenious technique to caramelize the sugars, but a percocet-induced blindness to details that reduced my walnut pie to a smoldering mess that tasted like "baked beans and burnt popcorn," according to Joey. Hooray. It really was truly disgusting, and though I blame my altered state --thanks doctors! -- I think that the copious molasses might have had something to do with it as well. I usually love molasses, but this pie recipe called for it in excess of one cup and in addition to brown sugar, which frankly is just way too much sweetness for my palate. I'm still curious to try this pie and its cousins -- shoo-fly! --just not made in my own kitchen on prescribed, heavy narcotics.

Luckily, however, before going under the knife, I helped chef one of DC's numerous underground restaurants and emerged (lucidly) with this roasted garlic tart featuring plentiful herbs and goat cheeses. Other standouts were Eric's roasted fennel-celeriac salad, James's spicy stuffed onions and quinoa, and of course the cocktails invented by the geniuses behind the bar. I baked a couple of espresso-white chocolate-citrus tarts too, but this garlic jam might have been the queen of my contributions. It's pretty much an Ottolenghi recipe, though I swapped in a quiche crust, increased the garlic, and cooked the garlic at a lower heat and for much longer than he did. However! These weren't scientific changes, and no matter what your technique or substitutions, this tart will turn out beautifully and delicious. It must seem a welcome reprieve from the usual parade of sweets on this blog. Maybe my percocet disaster could be considered a sign that I ought to spend more time baking savory goods; butter is good in any light, after all!

Roasted Garlic Tart
Adapted somewhat from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty

I didn't tweak this much, but my changes are noted where applicable. Get to it! This tart is too good to ignore.

13 ounces puff pastry, defrosted if frozen, or your favorite quiche crust recipe
3 medium heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled (not crushed) (I used 4 heads)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (I upped this to two)
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs for garnish
1 teaspoon fine sea salt (orig. calls for 3/4 teaspoon), divided
4 1/2 ounces soft, creamy goat cheese, such as chevre
4 1/2 ounces hard goat cheese, such as goat gouda
2 large eggs
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
6 1/2 tablespoons creme fraiche
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Roll out puff pastry/dough into a 13-inch circle. Fit puff pastry into an 11-inch round fluted pan with a removable bottom. Place a parchment paper round on top of puff pastry or crust; top with pie weights or dried beans. Transfer to refrigerator; chill for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and set aside. Transfer tart shell to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove weights and paper and bake until pastry is golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. Place garlic cloves in a small saucepan filled with water. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer; simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and return cloves to saucepan. Add olive oil and place saucepan over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fried, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and 1 cup water; bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, rosemary, chopped thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue simmering over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and garlic is coated in a dark caramelized syrup, about 10 minutes more (I ended up going for more than 15). Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Break both goat cheeses into pieces and scatter in tart shell; spoon garlic cloves and syrup over cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, creme fraiche, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over cheese and garlic filling, making sure the cheese and garlic are still visible.

5. Transfer tart to lined baking sheet then to oven, and bake until tart filling is set and top is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes (I ended up going for 50). Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing tart from pan. Garnish with thyme sprigs; tart can be reheated but is best straight from the oven and served warm.


  1. ughh yessssss whyyyyy. 2012 goal: make it so that spam is NOT the most exciting thing to happen on this blog.