According to my taste, boiled or steamed cauliflower is so blaaah.
I recently taught this cauliflower tart in one of my classes. Since the pastry is made with oil, its texture and flavors are very light. For the filling, the cauliflower is combined with fresh mint leaves, eggs, cheese, salt, cinnamon and more. I’ll bet you didn’t think you could make cauliflower taste so exciting, right? Surprise!
Serve the tart warm or at room temperature alongside a green salad or other vegetarian selections.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 30 to 35 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10
Prepare the Pastry for a Two-Crust Savory Tarte or Quiche:
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower oil preferred)
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
1. Measure the flour and salt into a 3-quart mixing bowl.
2. Add the oil; mix with a pastry cutter or a fork until particles are size of small peas.
3. Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl.
4. If dough seems dry, 1 to 2 tablespoons oil or water can be added.
5. Gather dough together until it amalgamates.
6. Divide the dough into two balls.
7. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap; place dough balls in freezer for 10 minutes.
8. After 10 minutes, transfer the dough balls to refrigerator. Meanwhile
Prepare the Cauliflower & Mint Filling:
Florets of one cauliflower, boiled until tender and drained
Fresh mint leaves
¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (you can also use a combination of both cheeses)
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
freshly grated black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
dash ground cinnamon
waxed paper sheets (for rolling out the pastry)
1 large egg yolk ) FOR
1 teaspoon cold water ) EGG WASH
1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cauliflower florets (not too coarse and not too fine) to measure 3 cups.
2. Transfer the 3 cups chopped cauliflower to a mixing bowl; set aside.
3. In the meantime, finely chop the mint leaves; add them to the chopped cauliflower in bowl. Cover and set aside.
AT THIS POINT, DO NOT ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS TO THE CAULIFLOWER UNTIL AFTER BOTH PASTRY SHEETS HAVE BEEN ROLLED OUT.
Preheat Oven to 425°F and Roll Out The Pastry:
1. Lightly flour one waxed paper sheet measuring approximately 16 inches long.
2. Take one dough ball from refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.
3. Working on the floured waxed paper sheet, flatten the dough ball to a disc measuring 6 inches. If the edges crack, try to piece them together with your fingers to form a smooth circle (as best you can).
4. Lightly flour the top of dough disc.
5. Measure another waxed paper sheet – to 16 inches long.
6. Place the second waxed paper sheet over the dough disc.
7. Using a rolling pin, roll pastry 2 inches larger than the inverted pie pan.
8. Peel off the top paper.
9. Place one hand underneath the bottom waxed paper sheet and another hand over the rolled-out pastry.
10. Quickly invert pastry into pie pan.
11. Carefully remove the second waxed paper sheet.
12. Adjust the pastry to fit in pan (there will be a 2-inch overhang).
13. Using a fork, make a few scattered holes in bottom of pastry sheet.
14. Roll out the second pastry, following above instructions.
15. Peel off the top paper and set the pastry aside while you finish preparing the cauliflower filling.
Finish Cauliflower Filling, Assemble & Bake Tart:
1. Using a fork, stir the cheese, eggs, salt, black pepper, sugar and cinnamon into the cauliflower and mint mixture.
2. Gently mix the ingredients until they are uniform.
3. Using a spoon, transfer the filling to the pastry-lined pie plate.
4. Quickly invert the second pastry and place it over filling.
5. Peel off the waxed paper and discard it.
6. Meanwhile, using a knife, trim the pastry edges to one-inch.
7. Roll or curl the pastry edges in a downward motion so that they are tucked into the plate’s edge.
8. Slightly pinch pastry edges to create fluted edges.
9. Using a fork, make scattered holes in pastry (this will avoid ballooning while baking).
10. Cut 3 foil paper strips that measure 2 inches wide.
11. Cover the pastry edges with foil strips.
12. In the meantime, in a small bowl, make egg wash: mix together 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon cold water with a fork.
13. Using a pastry brush, brush the pie top with egg wash.
14. Place the tart on a rack set in center of oven.
15. Bake the tart for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil strips.
16. After removing foil strips, bake the tart for an additional 5 minutes.
17. Transfer tart to a counter to cool.
18. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.
Text & Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real