September 14, 2006

SST (Sassy savory tart) seeks FO (functional oven) in time for HHDD

I was ready to go.

I'd found a recipe that intrigued me *and* included mostly ingredients I had on hand.

I'd made the side trip to Williams Sonoma in search of mini tart shells and emerged without having to take out a second mortgage.

And a second stop at the grocery to pick up the two ingredients I didn't have in-house.

I'd sliced the endive, peeled and cubed the pears, crumbled the stilton, melted the butter.

And then I tried preheating the oven. Beep. Beep. Beep. Error message F7. And then the touchpad stopped responding altogether.

A little internet research and a couple of phone calls later, I've got an appointment scheduled with GE's service department for Friday afternoon. In the scheme of things, that's a pretty quick turnaround. But unless I can come up with a Plan B, I'm going to miss the deadline for Hay Hay Donna Day #5: The Savory Tart, hosted by Tami of Running with Tweezers.

Fortunately for our heroine, John's parents love me (or took pity on me, or both) -- and their oven functions fine. So I pack up my puff pastry, my brand-spanking-new tart shells and my now-plenty-cool tart filling and head south on 680.

Two hours later, I'm quite pleased with my trans-bay area effort. The tarts are a delightful combination of savory-sweet and perched atop some honey-cumin vinaigrette coated greens, they make a satisfying early fall lunch. The curry turned the pastry an eye-catching and autumn-appropriate yellow.

And now, without further adieu, the recipe (based loosely on this one I found on

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 heads Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
1 cup roasted spring onions, chopped
3 cloves roasted garlic, diced
1 teaspoon curry powder
8-10 pears, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped The recipe as published called for three large pears. The pears in my CSA box were itty-bitty -- but quite tasty. I peeled, cored and chopped a full cup.
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar I used 1/2 tablespoon each balsamic vinegar and red wine.
1 17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed )
1 cup crumbled Stilton cheese (give or take) I used a hunk of leftover blueberry studded stilton.

I followed the published instructions for the filling: Melt butter & olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add endive, onions, garlic and curry; saute until endive is golden, about 8 minutes. Add pears, vinegar & wine and cook until pears are tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool.

After transporting the components 50 miles down the freeway, I abandoned the recipe and let creativity take over. I rolled the pastry out on the counter and used my new tart shells like cookie cutters to make perfect shell-shaped puff pastry forms. I pressed the pastry gently into the shell and pricked each a few times with a fork so my pastry didn't puff the filling right out and onto my prepared cookie sheet.

The stuffing to pastry ratio worked out perfectly -- I had exactly enough of the filling to create 6 generous but not super-sized individual tarts.

I had leftover pastry and artfully draped it across the top of my pastry, smacking myself upside the head silently (and virtually) for not grabbing my very Martha-esque leaf shaped cookie cutter as I ran out the door. Golden leaves atop the tarts would have been gorgeous.

Tasted just as good with random pastry shapes though.

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wheresmymind said...

I was shocked that I went into Williams Sonoma the other day and was able to resist buying anything

Ivonne said...

I know all about oven problems ... hope it works out!

peabody said...

Yes, Ivonne, we do all know oven problems :(
I love the name of your tart by the way. Excellent entry!

Sam said...

making a tart without an oven is no joke. :(

Barbara said...

Hi Dolores - I love your combination. Thanks for entering. I do hope your oven is now working. It looks fabulous by the way.

s'kat said...

Hope you at least shared some with the in-laws! Extra points for triumphing in the face of adversity!

jenjen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jenjen said...

Great effort, especially when things weren't going your way!

BTW sorry, blogger was doing weird things and it accidentally deleted the comments.

ilingc said...

What an interesting combination, sweet and savoury..

I can relate to your oven problems. There was one time when the gas oven turned off on me when I was baking a lemon tart. Let's just say it took 1.5 hrs to bake the custard when it should only take 45mins or so. (because I didn't realise it turned off)

Hope your oven's all fixed now :)