One of my favorite kinds of food to make is savory tarts, especially in winter. In order to make tarts, it is necessary to have a good, reliable recipe for tart dough. Luckily, I have one that I love, and it’s very easy to make. I used it last night to make a spinach and egg tart, a take on a recipe for Torta Pasqualina that I read once, and let me say, it turned out delicious. Hello, lunch!
Savory Tart Dough:
250 g (2 cups) flour
1 teaspoon salt
125g butter, room-temperature and in small pieces
4 - 5 tablespoons room-temperature water
Mix together the flower and salt in a bowl. Add the egg and the butter, using a pastry cutter or your hands to work them into the dough until the mixture has reached a crumbly consistency. Add the water slowly (not all at once! just a little bit in the beginning!), mixing it in until the dough holds together, but not adding so much water that the dough is sticky. Knead for 5 - 8 minutes and shape the dough into a ball. Wrap the ball of dough in saran wrap and put in the fridge for about two hours. Take the dough out of the refrigerator a bit before you need to use it and roll it out into a thin sheet with a rolling pin. Use as you will! For a nice shiny top to your tart, paint it with egg yolk.
Spinach and Egg Tart:
250g fresh spinach
salt, olive oil
1 medium-sized white onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup or so mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup milk
Clean and chop the fresh spinach and boil until cooked but not mushy. Coarsely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic. Sauté the onion in a frying pan with some oil on medium heat; after a few minutes, add the garlic. After about 10 minutes, when the onions are looking cooked but not burned, take off the fire and add the spinach, one beaten egg, and some salt.
Mix the mascarpone cheese, one egg, and the milk until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Mix this mixture into the spinach mixture in the frying pan and set aside.
Take your tart dough and roll it out into a thin sheet. Press the dough into a pie dish or pyrex or whatever you are using for your tart, but leave about 1/3 of the doug aside so that you can cover the tart after. When you are lining your pie dish with the dough, make sure that the dough comes all the way up the side of the dish and even a little past the top, so that you have something to work with when you cover the tart.
When your dish is ready and lined with dough, pour the spinach mixture into the dish. Make a little well in the spinach mixture, break an egg into a cup, and carefully pour the egg into the well. Repeat this process with two more eggs. Roll out the rest of the dough into a thin sheet. Moisten the circle of dough on the top of the pie dish so that when you drape the new dough sheet over it, it has something to stick to. Drape the dough sheet over your tart and press into the sides, so that the two doughs connect. (Wow, this is harder to explain than I thought! I hope this is comprehensible!) Cut away the excess dough from around the pie dish. Poke holes in the top of the tart with a fork. Paint with egg yolk if you wish to.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius. Remove after about an hour, when the dough is looking the right color, golden-brown.