Savory tarts can be dainty things, eaten on your finest china with a pinkie in the air.
But not this one. Loaded with roasted vegetables and cheese on a whole-grain crust, it’s a hardy meal that you can eat out of hand, with your pinkie occupied by holding the slice.
It’s gorgeous, too. With a mixture of velvety butternut squash, earthy mushrooms and sweet green leeks, this tart makes for an especially pretty yet satisfying vegetarian meal.
The crust is made with yeast, which is what really makes this tart rustic, rather than refined. If working with yeast makes you nervous, this recipe is a good place to begin.
The dough is so simple you can mix it by hand with a wooden spoon and then knead it for just a few minutes, until it starts to spring back when you pull it. It should be somewhat elastic but not bouncy. Think Silly Putty rather than Spaulding.
Then set the dough aside to rise. The warmer your room, the less time it will take to double in bulk. In a cold room it could take two or three hours, whereas a warm room gets the job done in half that amount of time. Or let it rise in the fridge overnight. It’s a very adaptable recipe.
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The whole-grain flour in the dough gives it heft, along with a gentle nuttiness. I like either whole-wheat or rye flour here, but you can substitute spelt or einkorn. Just be sure to use a flour with gluten in it. In this particular recipe, gluten-free flours (brown rice, millet, oat flour) won’t bake up as pleasingly chewy.
I’ve topped the tart with mushrooms, leeks and winter squash, all roasted before they meet the crust.
This is an important step. You want to roast the vegetables until they are almost, but not quite, caramelized. They should be pale golden at the edges and tender in the center when you pull them from the oven, but not thoroughly browned because they will continue to cook when you bake them on the crust.
You can roast the vegetables up to eight hours in advance, but the tart itself is best made within an hour or two of serving. That’s when the crust is at its most crisp and the cheese still soft and oozing. That said, you can still enjoy the tart the next day, especially if you reheat it.
Leftover and cold, eaten wrapped in a napkin on your way out the door, this robust tart can hold its own.