Tag Archives: Savory Tart

Torta Rustica – A Savory Italian Pastry

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Torta RusticaThis Torta Rustica is a savory Italian pastry which I am assuming means Rustic Tart.  Its memorable crust holds a filling of spinach with cheese, eggs, onions and bread crumbs to bind it.  It is layered with red peppers, artichokes and provolone.  It is hard to go wrong with these ingredients.  The one caveat here is to thaw the spinach completely and squeeze all the water from it.  It is important it is dry when combined with the other ingredients.

We would squeeze 30 pounds of spinach to make 12 Torta Rustica at a time.  No matter how long we thawed the spinach it would be freezing cold when we squeezed it.  We would keep a bowl of warm water next to us to dip our hands into to  warm them as we prepared the spinach. Continue reading

Goat Cheese Pesto Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished PhotAt the retail shop, the clientele loved this Goat Cheese Pesto Tart.  It is the perfect example of a savory tart and we did many of them.  This Goat Cheese Pesto Tart came from my love of peppers and basil – in this case,  pesto. While I appreciate goat cheese, I find it very astringent and usually cut it with cream cheese to mellow it out as I have done here.  I used this filling for small crostadas which we used as appetizers. We crossed slivers of red and yellow pepper on the top and they made a dazzling display on a tray when passed.  They can be made, as can the tart, ahead and frozen.

For the crostadas, I would freeze them without the peppers on top, adding them after they had been reheated.  I particularly like to use this filling for the crostadas as it didn’t lose it shape when heated.  We would pipe it on with a large star tip. Continue reading

A French Pastry Crust with a Salmon Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished TartPate Brisee a l’Oeuf pastry crust is known as one of the, if not the, finest pastry crusts to be found.  Made with all butter and, if made correctly, it will be flaky and crisp yet tender.  The word pate means pie and a l’oeuf means with egg.

The use of the food processor almost guarantees a perfect pastry crust.  The key is not to over mix or it won’t be flaky – tasty, but not flaky.   The butter must be very, very cold.  Put it in the freezer after cutting if desired.  It is important to keep the pieces of butter in pea size chunks when processing with the flours.  While speaking of flours, I have used both all purpose and cake flour to make pastry flour which has a lower gluten or protein count.  This will make a more tender pastry crust.  A two to one ratio of all purpose to cake flour is what we used at the bakery for our pastry flour as we lacked the room to store another canister of flour and we didn’t use it that often. Continue reading

French Onion Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished-Slice-1-of-1-400x265With tomatoes practically falling off the vines, this  is the perfect time to make this French Onion Tart. When I had the take out shop, this was a huge hit.  We also made them in half sheet pans, trimmed the edges, cut them into 1 1/2 squares for appetizers.  This tart is an example of savory pastries which are as much a part of baking and pastry as sweet.

The crust is as easy to make as falling off a log.  While the recipe gives instructions for the food processor, it is just as easy to make in a mixer putting all the dry ingredients in the bowl and the wet ingredients on top. After making the dough it needs to rise.  After it rises you can punch it down and refrigerate it for the next day.  When ready to use,  just push it out into the pan and up the sides.  I definitely suggest refrigerating it while you prepare the filling as you don’t want it to rise at this point.  It bakes up beautifully browned and crisp with great flavor.

Fresh basil is essential for this French Onion Tart to come to life.  Whenever I use fresh herbs in a baked item, I bury them under other ingredients so they retain maximum flavor.  If they are sprinkled on top, they will just dry out, so you might as well use the dried version to start.

If the yeast crust has not been done ahead of time, start it first.  I start the onions next since they take a bit of time.  The next step is to start prepping the tomatoes, olives and basil.  After the onions are finished, cool them to lukewarm.  Assemble, bake, wait a few minutes then cut the French Onion Tart for a phenomenal food experience. This is good, hot, warm or room temperature.   Continue reading