I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to dinner, more often than I’d like to admit, I fly by the seat of my pants. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to plan something out fully, or enough energy to follow recipes all the way through. Sometimes I just feel adventurous. And while a lot of the time things generally work out for the better, there are definitely also times when things just don’t happen the way I expect (or want) them to.
This tart happens to be borne out of one of those kinds of misadventures. Last week I ended up with a bunch of zucchini and tomato that needed to be eaten, and I’ve had my eye on a certain summer Smitten Kitchen galette for a while. My plan was to adjust the recipe for lovely end-of summer tart of caramelized onions, sweet roasted zucchini, and lovely juicy tomatoes. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to kill my produce surplus while satisfying my tart hankering in a delicious and meaningful way. Right?
Little did I realize, this week would be a lot busier than I had initially planned for. I quickly ran out of time to actually make this tart, panicked, and didn’t prepare as well as I should have. On the night I had planned to make it, I came home exhausted, ravenous, and impatient. I re-read the recipe and realized that it not only called for a sour cream crust– the bane of my pie-making existence– but that the crust would also need an hour to chill before I could even think about rolling it out and assembling the tart. As I don’t yet have a favorite pie crust recipe (and would therefore welcome any suggestions you guys wanted to throw my way), I decided to cheat the recipe by popping the dough into the freezer while chopping the vegetables for the tart.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Pretty much at all. Even after freezing for about half an hour, the dough was sticky, wet, and impossible to work with. If you plan to make a galette (the original aim for this recipe) the way it is supposed to be, I would skip the sour cream dough and use another savory tart dough instead. Or let the dough chill for at least a day before attempting to work with it. However, if you’d like to follow the slightly sketchy (and delicious, and easy, and quick) way that I put this together, I would recommend experimenting with the same slapdash steps that led to my success: instead of rolling the sticky mess of a crust out according to directions, use about half of the dough that is called for and mold it with your fingers into the bottom of a cake pan.
I know, I know. It seems kind of unorthodox. I’m not even really sure that it qualifies as a tart. I do know, though, that the bottom was flaky and delicious, the vegetables were perfectly sweet thanks to the lovely roast, and the crispy cheese on top rounded out the flavors. You’ll want to throw this tart together using any and all vegetables you have lying around. And if you think you don’t have the time for it, don’t worry– you can slap this recipe around and it’ll still come out alright. Just aim for it to work out. It probably will.
Zucchini and Tomato Tart
Heavily adapted from this Smitten Kitchen recipe
For the crust
1 1/4 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
1 1/2 large zucchini
2 medium-large tomatoes
1/3 cup parmigiana cheese
For the dough, I warn you– I was lazy. Smitten Kitchen has a much more bakerly way to pull this together. Feel free to check her directions out if you want to try to do this the right way. If you, like me, want to take the easy route, simply mix the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer, then add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse peas. Add the lemon juice, sour cream, and water to the mixer and combine until large clumps form. Combine into a ball, then cover in plastic wrap and pop it into the freezer for at least a half hour or until soft but firm.
If you plan to go the tart (rather than the galette) route, note that I only used half of the dough for one tart– you can easily make a second tart by cutting another set of the vegetable ingredients in the next step. Otherwise, feel free to freeze the dough for use later.
While your dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and slice your veggies. You will want them to be thin so that they get all nice and caramelized in the oven. My tomatoes were quite large, so I ended up cutting each slice in half vertically so that I could lay them nicely with the zucchini. This isn’t necessary, but it may make your tart look prettier. I only used zucchini and tomato in this particular tart, but it would also be great with a sweet onion, as well.
When the dough has chilled appropriately, push about half of it into the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Make sure to get it into a relatively thin layer so that it cooks through nicely. Spread about half of the cheese directly onto the crust, and then layer the vegetables on top. Sprinkle everything with a little salt, pepper, and the remaining cheese.
Bake the tart in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables have wilted, the cheese is melted, and the crust has cooked. Remove the tart and let it stand for about five minutes before removing from the pan, then serve promptly. This tart is also excellent cold or room temperature, will keep for a few days, and peps up nicely in a toaster oven.