butternut squash, caramelized onion & goat cheese tart
I know what you’re thinking. It’s the same thing Chris has been thinking — often aloud — for the past few weeks: squash again? And, well, yes. Because even the teensiest of winter squashes tend to weigh nearly a pound, which is rather a lot for two people, and one can only fit so much squash purée in one’s freezer. Extra squash is inevitable, and the unused portion will languish in the depths of your fridge, feeling sorry for itself and gazing forlornly at you each time you reach in for some fresh new food until eventually you think to yourself, “Shit, I should really use up that squash.”
Such was the case last week. As I prepared my grocery list I noted several things — in addition to the squash — that needed to be used up: eggs, a variety of cheeses, and some nearly-sour cream. All of which practically begged me to whisk them together and pour them over caramelized onions, creating a wonderfully savory winter tart.
The trickiest thing about tarts, whether savory or sweet, is the shell. Although lots of folks use the same recipe for both tart shells and pie crusts, ideally a tart shell is crisp and crumbly while a pie crust is tender and flaky. To add to the confusion, tart shells for sweet tarts (like those you might eat for dessert) are generally sweeter than those for savory tarts (like the squashy one I’ve been rambling on about).
I’ve experimented with two tart shell recipes, one of which I ultimately tossed in the trash despite glowing praise from multiple sources and the other of which has never failed me. Guess which recipe I used for this tart. Right, the reliable one.
And Chris, who likes neither onions nor eggs, declared himself “not a fan of tarts” but conceded that the crust was “pretty good.” I am a fan of tarts, and I thought the tart itself was pretty damn good. First of all, it contains both goat cheese and caramelized onions, two foods I love. Then, of course, there’s the squash, which lends a light fluffiness to the custard without screaming “squash! (again!).” Plus the whole thing is covered in buttered bread crumbs, an addition that initially struck me as odd but whose crunch perfectly complements the tart’s soft egginess.
All in all, it’s not a bad way to enjoy squash for the tenth or twelfth time in a month.
Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tart
for the pastry
adapted from Jane Doerfer’s Going Solo in the Kitchen
1 1/3 c. flour
½ t. sugar
6 T. butter, chilled
2 eggs, beaten
1) Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse in the butter until it’s the size of lentils.
2) Add in the eggs and combine until the mixture forms a ball. Press into tart pan.
3) Line the shell with foil, weight with pie weights (or rice), and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and set aside.
1 lb. butternut squash
2 T. + 2 t. olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/3 c. heavy cream
2½ oz. gruyere cheese
1 oz. grated parmesan
1 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1½ t. minced fresh rosemary and thyme
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
1 t. butter, melted
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1) Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush each cut side with 1 t. olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast in 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until squash begins to collapse on itself.
2) Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium skillet. Add onions and sautée until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
3) Cool squash and scoop out flesh, then purée in food processor. Add eggs and cream, then process until combined. Transfer to large bowl and stir in cheese, herbs, salt & pepper, and onions. Pour mixture into shell and smooth with silicone spatula.
4) Pour melted butter over bread crumbs and stir until combined. Sprinkle bread crumbs over filling and bake about 40 minutes, or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.