I love tarts! I am obsessed with making them, looking at pictures of them, reading about them, everything. I love how many combinations of ingredients there are for tarts; you can basically make a tart with anything, and this tart is a doozy. Let’s get straight to it. For this recipe I chose to use puff pastry dough instead of making a traditional tart crust for several reasons: I liked the flaky crust you get from puff pastry; I like the look of the irregular crust; and I wanted to make this recipe easy. This recipe is dedicated to my sister who got me addicted to the vanilla and blueberry goat cheese that’s sold down at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have this available I’m confident your local market will have something similar, at least something herb-y, or you could add a tablespoon or two of jam or preserves with plain goat cheese. Any flavor will do (There are some suggestions below!). This tart is so quick and easy you’ll be testing your own recipes in no time.
What is a tart?
A tart is like pie… It has a baked pastry crust, a filling, but no pastry top. I’ve made tarts with an unbaked crust, but you get the idea. Pies and tarts are different in a few ways. The crusts are made differently (pie crust is supposed to be flakier), and tarts have a shallow, vertical crust where pies are sloped and deeper. Also, pies are served in pie pans, whereas tart pans have removable bottoms so the tart can be unmolded. Another cousin of pies and tarts is a “galette” which isn’t even in a pan at all! The edges are just folded over the filling. Delish! And there’s quiche, which is basically a tart with more filling. Over-simplified? Maybe. But it’s true.
What is prosciutto?
Prosciutto is ham that has been dry-cured and is served thinly sliced and uncooked. When you do cook it gets crispy and so delicious. Dry-curing is when the ham is covered in salt and sometimes herbs (and sometimes nitrates), for about a month in this case, then washed and hung to dry, sometimes up to 2 years. There are a lot of “sometimes” here because each brand has a different technique and recipe that makes their product unique. Each culture has different curing techniques and traditional recipes because before refrigeration, curing was essential for preserving (redundant, I know) meats and produce. I could go on and on… preserving food is really fascinating, but it needs its own post.
What is blind baking?
Blind baking is when you partially bake a crust or other pastry so that it can hold its form better. This is usually for pie or tart or cookie crusts that will eventually be filled. Sometimes people do it with pizza, too. You also put parchment paper with a layer of uncooked rice or beans to help weigh down the crust while baking and prevent it from rising. They sell weights in cooking stores, but you don’t need to buy them unless you want them. Sometimes you can get away without weighing down the crust, but you always need to poke holes. Just saying, if skipping a step is going to get you to try something new or make your life easier, just be sure to skip the right steps.
Why do you poke holes in the puff pastry?
If you look at my recipe and discussion for pork wellington you will find a longer explanation of how puff pastry works, so I will be brief here. We poke holes in the puff pastry to prevent it from puffing. Usually, the pastry is flaky because of steam rising inside, and when we poke holes in it the steam can get out and we have a flatter layer. This is ideal for pie bottoms because it will bake flat and the filling won’t get in the layers to make the pie soggy. I don’t poke holes in the sides because I like the big flaky crust.
I hate goat cheese.
You do? That’s a shame. You can take it out of this recipe, along with the blueberries, and substitute any cheese. If you want to add fruit in, just add one that tastes good with the cheese… Usually pears, apples, or berries are safe bets. Or figs! How about gorgonzola, prosciutto, and figs? See? Tarts are the best.
- 1 puff pastry sheet
- 3 slices of prosciutto
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon shallots, chopped fine
- 1 sprig of sage
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces’ blueberry goat cheese
- Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface so that it will fill a tart pan, including the edges. Blind bake the crust: we do this by poking holes in the bottom, lining the crust with parchment, and topping with a layer of uncooked rice or beans. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, melt butter on LOW with shallots and sage. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat eggs and cream. Add butter and mix until combined. Add goat cheese in large chunks (or mix in completely if you prefer it more distributed).
- Line crust with prosciutto- it doesn’t need to be exact or neat, just as long as there will be prosciutto in each slice. Pour egg and cream mixture on top. Bake at 400 for an additional 25 minutes or until the filling does not jiggle when shaken. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.