You cannot make me leave my French cafe — it is calm and friendly here. Plus relaxing on last week’s imaginary vacation worked so well for me that I moved from being weeks behind to a whole week ahead. Perhaps this means I should continue moving forward rather than becoming stagnant? At least I refuse to leave without making a tart.
Last week, I resisted the tart and so this week they all started crowding around me begging to be made. But how to decide on which one? I started weeding my yard as a productive task that also avoided the scarily long to do list filled with deadlines. Fighting for breath under all the sticky weed and dandelions were the only two herb plants that survived my brown thumb — sage and lavender. Why these two lived when the rosemary, thyme, oregano, mexican marigold mint — all better suited to Texas — died, I don’t know. The plants deserved a little thank you — so I knew, knew, knew that I wanted Herbs de Provence with lavender.
After that the tart was in serious danger of suffering from my indecisiveness. I tried my best, but it may still be a little of an amalgamated mess.
Since I had never made a tart before, I used the Pâte Brisée (pie pastry) from Daniel Young’s cookbook. Turns out tart dough is really just pie dough. Which means you need flour, a touch of salt, a fat such as butter or shortening and a little ice cold water. It was rolled out rustic style on a greased baking sheet with the edges folded up to make a rim kind of like a pizza tart, no prior tart equals no tart pan. Which also means I skipped the custard that usually goes into these.
All the different flavorings smelled amazing while baking and the flavor was good, but it really needed something else — like a take two. Next time, I plan on turning the artichokes and cheese into a pesto and lining the bottom with that.
Tart with Herbs de Provence
from The Paris Café Cookbook by Daniel Young
1 ¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
Mix together flour and salt. With a pastry cutter work in butter. Then work in vegetable shortening. Gently mix in water one tablespoon at a time. Toss after each addition so that dough becomes moist. Form into a flattened disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out (will fit a 10″ tart pan) on a lightly floured surface. Prick bottom all over with a fork. At this point I baked it in a 400° oven for about 10 minutes. Remove, fill with toppings. bake until vegetables are tender, cheese is melted and crust is browned.
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence mixture with lavender and fennel
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Swiss, Gruyere, or Jarlsberg
6 ounces canned artichokes, sliced
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, sliced
10 asparagus stalks
Sprinkle Herbs de Provence on bottom of shell. Mix together cheeses and lemon zest. Sprinkle over bottom of shell. Layer artichokes, olives and asparagus on top. Bake until vegetables are tender, cheese is melted and crust is browned.