Saturday, August 3, 2013

Butternut Squash Tart

Submitted by Linda
This recipe is one of my favorite dishes that Michelle makes, sometimes for my birthday or when I visit her in La Quinta. My boys are also really into this dish, even though it is vegetarian. I recently made another quiche/tart, and their comments were, "It's good, but not as bomb as the butternut squash tart". 

I'm a bit embarrassed of my pictures, as my crust was made by Pillsbury, and Chef Michelle makes her own, to flaky perfection. Maybe when I grow up I can master homemade pie dough. In the meantime, if it's 'bomb', why mess with it?
 I have found that it's nice to bake up the squash a day or two before, so that's it's quicker to assemble the tart.

Winter Squash Tart from The Greens Cookbook
Serving Size: 4 (main dish)

1 winter squash or pumpkin - about 1 1/2 pounds
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 recipe tart dough (or 1 Pillsbury Pie Crust)
2 medium leeks (about 4-5 oz, mostly white parts)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream (Michelle and I use all milk, no cream)
1/2 cup milk
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
(Michelle also adds a generous dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes).

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and pulp, brush the surface with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet, and bake until the skin is puckered and the squash is soft, about an hour. Remove it from the oven, let it cool enough to handle easily, then scoop out the flesh.  Pass the flesh through a food mill (I use my immersion blender) to smooth out the texture. There should be about 1 1/2 cups. Freeze any extra. 

While the squash is baking, prepare the tart dough. Partially bake it and set it aside. Trim the leeks, quarter them lengthwise, slice them into 1/4 inch squares or slices, and wash them well.  Melt the butter in a skillet, add the leeks, and cook over medium-high heat until they are tender, 7 - 10 minutes. Add a little water after the first 3-4 minutes to help with the cooking and keep them from burning.  Season with salt. Beat the eggs in a bowl with the creme fraiche or cream, milk and squash. Stir in the leeks, grated cheese, and herbs. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a few scrapings of nutmeg (here's where we add the dash of cayenne). Set the oven heat at 375F. Pour the batter into the tart shell and bake in the center of the oven until it is firm and flecked with spots of brown from the melted cheese, about 45-50 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes and serve it on a platter. Makes a 9 or 10 inch tart.

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