This tart is a winter mainstay, and a great way to use those heavy-duty carrots you’ve got rolling around in the root cellar (or vegetable drawer, as the case may be). It’s somehow at once filling and light and the combination of the cooked onions, rice vinegar, and tarragon lend a really unusual, savory flavor you don’t often find in a vegetarian dish. Last year, I served this as the main veggie course at Thanksgiving and it was a big hit.
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Carrot & Tarragon Tart
Crust adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and filling adapted from Eating Well magazine.
- 2 teaspoons active dried yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- big pinch of sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more as required
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive or canola oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
First, prepare the crust:
- Whisk the yeast, sugar, and warm water together in a large bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. (The water should be warm to the touch, but not too warm — you don’t want to kill the yeast.) Add the oil, egg, and salt, then the flour. Mix with a spoon until your arm gets a good workout, then transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. (Alternately, you can do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook.)
- Meanwhile, lightly oil a large bowl. Once the dough is nicely sticky and elastic, and somewhat shiny, set it in the oiled bowl, rolling it around a bit to coat it with the oil. Cover loosely with a moistened tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for an hour to rise. (I usually put my rising doughs in the oven with the light on. Just make sure you remember to take the dough out before preheating the oven.)
- After an hour, the dough will have just about doubled. Punch it down, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it out a large circle, about 14″ in diameter. This is a yeasted dough — it’ll be puffier than a traditional butter crust — so, you want the dough to be very thin, no more than about 1/8″. Press the dough into a 10″ tart pan, trimming the excess. (You can make a dinner roll or two out of the trimmings.)
To prepare the filling:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium head. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and 1 tbs. rice vinegar and cook, stirring, for another few minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, milk, eggs, 1 tbs. rice vinegar, tarragon, and mustard. Add to this the carrot-onion mixture and cheddar, plus 1/4 tsp. salt and freshly ground pepper, and stir to combine.
- Place the prepared tart shell on a baking sheet and pour in the filling.
- Bake the tart until the filling is firm and the edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or chilled.