Thursday, January 24, 2008

Squash & Aged White Cheddar Tart with Sage and Roasted Garlic Custard

I've been trying to keep up with what food blog events are going on so that I can participate. So when I saw that the Think Spice January spice was garlic, I immediately wanted to try out this tart made with a roasted garlic custard (from one of my favourite cookbooks, Rebar). I've never really thought of garlic as a spice, but who was I to argue with an excuse to make this tart. Doesn't that sound so intriguing?? Roasted garlic custard. Yum. I wasn't sure how the flavours would all come together. Would I be turned off by the sage? I couldn't wait to find out what the garlic custard would be like.

I was really happy with how everything tart turned out. It's not the kind of meal you'd make on a week night, at least not for me, but is definitely worth the effort on the weekend. The flavours of garlic, sage, shallots, aged white cheddar and butternut squash came together beautifully. The roasted garlic flavour was not as strong as I'd have liked it to be, due to the mashed garlic not incorporating very well into the egg/milk mixture. Next time I'll puree the roasted garlic with a bit of cream first. Unfortunately I didn't get any better photos than these because I have no idea how to take well lit photos at night in my kitchen, and it was completely eaten up that night. (I'm tempted to just post black and white photos so you can't see the ugly lighting!)

I ended up making the tart dough twice, really not having fun with my first attempt. I had written on the page with the tart dough recipe "simple and easy"! So why was it crumbling and not staying together? What was wrong with me? Did I measure the butter wrong? I could've just pushed the crumbly dough into a pie plate but since I really wanted to try out my new tart pan with a removable bottom, I had to make the dough again. The second time I made sure to mix the dough more before attempting to shape it into a ball to go into the fridge, and it turned out well. There was a little hole in the tart shell, which the egg ended up oozing out of while baking, but thankfully it was all kept within the tart shell and didn't drip into the oven.

And a question, when your garlic cloves have that green sprout thing in them, do you pick it out or just eat it? I usually pick it out.

Squash & Aged White Cheddar Tart with Sage and Roasted Garlic Custard
adpated from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

1 pre-baked whole wheat tart shell
1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp butter
2 shallots, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream (18% cream)
1/2 cup half&half (10% cream)
2 garlic bulbs, roasted and mashed
1 tbsp minced sage
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
1 1/4 cups aged white cheddar

1. Cut the squash where the long neck and the bulbous part meet. Peel the neck, halve it lengthwise and cut 1/8" thick half-moon slices. You should have about 2 cups. If you come up short, peel and seed the other half of the squash and cut enough slices to make up the difference. Toss the squash with just enough oil to coat and a pinch of salt. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spread the squash slices on it. Roast in a 375F oven until tender (about 15-20 minutes).

2. While the squash is roasting, heat butter in a small pan and saute the shallots with 1/4 tsp salt until crisp and golden. Set aside.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Add the cream, mashed garlic, pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt; whisk to combine.

4. To assemble the tart, sprinkle grated cheese over the surface of the pre-baked shell. Evenly distribute the shallots and sage over the cheese. Arrange the squash slices in a single layer and pour the custard over top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the custard is set and the top is lightly browned.

Note: I used the 10" tart shell recommended, but had too much of everything. Or maybe I can't measure my tart shell properly. You can make up mini ramekins with the leftovers (including the leftover egg/garlic/cream mixture) minus the tart shell and bake with the tart. I'd recommend pureeing the garlic in a blender with a bit of the cream before adding it. When mashing it with a fork and trying to mix it, it didn't incorporate very well. I sliced up the extra butternut squash and roasted it to save for another day. You could try using less cream for a more solid and eggy tart, which is what I'll be trying next time.

Another tart I've made:
Apple & Spinach Tart


Gigi said...

All the herbs and spices sounds like this tart was DELICIOUS! I can't wait to see the rest of the entries.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

What a beautiful tart - and I just love the sound of that custard. Fantastic recipe!

Deborah said...

This sounds so good!! I'm a sucker for a tart.

About the garlic - I'm not sure what the proper thing to do is. I usually cut the green part off, but I can't imagine that it would be bad to eat because it's just a sprout. I don't know, though!!

kickpleat said...

holy moly, this looks great!

Hendria said...

this looks really good.... I added it to my list. :)

sunita said...

Lovely recipe...thanks for sending it over.

MrsPresley said...

mmmm, i love roasted garlic! this looks delicious. i don't really think of garlic as a 'spice' either but whatever you call it, i love it ;) i always cut the sprout of my garlic if it is there...

VeggieGirl said...

oh, my goodness roasted garlic and squash?? together?? PERFECT!! that savory tart of yours has such a gorgeous presentation!!

Indigo said...

I only have to see a butternut squash to get embarassingly enthusiastic, and this looks fantastic! Love the blog!

Cakespy said...

I adore this. It looks so good! I wish I could take a nice big bite!

Bellini Valli said...

I love the Rebar cookbook!!!!I have it listed as one of my faves.

Hearts and Crafts said...

After seeing this, it has definitely gone to the top of my "things I want to make" list! That looks delicious!

Holler said...

Wow, I have never seen a tart quite like that, it is great! I do love a good strong cheddar, so I am very intrigued!

Johanna said...

this tart looks amazing - and I am always heartened by hearing about others' experiences with pastry - I avoid pastry because it always fall apart when I make it so I understand your pain!

katiez said...

Wow, How did I miss this for a whole week! All my favorite flavors: squash, garlic, sage... excuse me while I mop up the drool...