Zucchini Blossom Tart with Polenta Crust
Serves 6 to 8
For the crust:
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
3/4 cup white or whole-wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for pan
½ ounce Parmesan cheese finely grated
3-4 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1/2 pound zucchini
1-3 zucchini blossoms
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or full-fat sour cream)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or other firm cow’s milk cheese (about 2 ounces)
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Generous pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
Prepare the Crust:
1. Butter a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the cornmeal, flour, parmesan cheese and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until well combined. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water all at once and pulse food processor about 5 times. Stop the food processor and remove a tablespoon or two of the dough gently squeeze the dough. It should hold and not be crumbly. If it is crumbly then add another teaspoon of water and test again. Shape into a ball and flatten into a 1-inch disc, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until cold 5-15 minutes.
2. Place the disk on a 14” piece of parchment paper and roll out in a circle large enough to cover the pan. Chill for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator until the dough is firm to the touch. Reserve any remaining dough scraps for repairs.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the prepared crust on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 15 minutes to slightly dry out the top and golden. This will keep the crust from becoming soggy when you add the filling. If the crust cracks fill it with a little grated gruyere cheese and bake just long enough to melt the cheese.
Prepare the Filling:
1. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shallots and a pinch of salt cook stirring regularly until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Remove from heat.
2. Slice the zucchini into1/4” rounds. Reheat the sauté pan with the shallots and garlic along with another tablespoon of olive oil; when hot add the zucchini and a pinch of salt cook stirring and sautéing just until they’ve released their liquid and are soft, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Prepare the zucchini blossoms. If they have begun to wilt refresh in ice-cold water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and cut down one side of the blossom. Remove the pistol and lay the blossom flat so that it is in a circle. Set aside until needed.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, crème fraîche, Gruyere, eggs, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
5. Set the tart pan with prepared crust onto a baking sheet for easy transport. Pour in the filling and arrange the zucchini on top of the crust then the blossoms.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is completely set. Let cool for 5 minutes, unmold the tart and serve.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie