This little work of art is a tasty way to use some of your summer zucchini, and it’s pretty healthy, too!
I have to say that going into this crafty culinary creation, I was a little intimidated. I sort of felt like I should be an architect if I was going to undertake this endeavor. Luckily, I wasn’t too hungry when I started cooking because it took me a while to make. But isn’t it pretty?
I’ll be honest, I felt pretty good about myself after deeming this a success.
(You can sure use a store bought crust, but I’d recommend using your favorite crust recipe or using the one below.)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- 6 Tbs. cold butter
- few Tbs. cold water
- 2 or 3 medium to large carrots (I used three but had some leftover.)
- 1 or 2 small to medium zucchini (or, in my case, 1/3 of a monster zucchini)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs. milk (I used almond milk, but any kind would be fine.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (optional)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- Make the dough for the crust, and let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, peel the carrots, then thinly slice the carrots and zucchini (A mandoline would likely be a great tool for this, but I opted for a vegetable peeler).
- Season the veggies with salt and pepper.
- Using a spring form pan, cake pan, or whatever works for you, craft the vegetable slices into concentric circles, alternating a ring of carrot with a ring of zucchini.
- Preheat the oven to 350º, roll out the crust, and place it into a greased pie dish.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Mix up the milk and egg yolks with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust, then top it with about a third of the cheese.
- Use your skills to flip or slide the vegetable circle into the pie crust. Then, brush some olive oil on it, season it with a little more salt and pepper, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.
- Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden, and the egg mixture is thickened. (If the crust is starting to get dark before the egg mixture is done, cover it with some tin foil, and continue baking.)
There you have it! Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? If you’d like a few more tips, I’ve included more in-depth instructions below.
[If you’re well-versed in crust making, ignore this next bit. If you need some guidance, read on!]
Combine the salt with the flour, and cut in the butter. I lasted about one minute with my subpar pastry blender and opted for my Ninja (food processor/blender). Usually when cutting in the butter, you want to end up with about pea-sized bits of dough, but the Ninja left me with… well, essentially a flour/butter powder. But it all worked out! Next, add a few splashes of water, then use your hands to bring it together into a ball. If it’s too crumbly to come together, add a little more water. Don’t work the dough too much, or it’ll get tough. Now, you need to wrap your dough ball in some plastic wrap (a zip top bag or food storage container will work fine, too) and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
While your crust is resting, you can prepare the vegetables. But when it’s done resting, roll it out, and place it into a greased pie dish. I used a 9-inch dish, but 10- or 11-inch would be just fine. Poke some holes in it, and bake it at 350º for 15 minutes. You don’t want it to be completely done at this point because it’s going back in the oven later.
Now for the veggies. Peel the carrots, and leave the skin on the zucchini. I’m assuming a mandoline would be best for slicing the vegetables, but I don’t have one, so I just used a peeler. It took some time, but I think the result would be fairly similar. Cut the vegetable in half lengthwise, and slice away! Since my method took a while, I put my carrots in a bowl of water so they wouldn’t dry up on me.
Once everything is sliced up, spread out the vegetable strips, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. If you kept them in water, dab them with a paper towel first.
Here comes the trickiest and most time-consuming part. Alternate concentric circles of carrot and zucchini strips. I used a spring form pan and worked from the outside in, but feel free to use whatever method works for you!
Ring of carrot. Ring of zucchini. Repeat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Season it with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the cheese on top. To give you another challenge, flip your plate of vegetables into the crust. Or slide it off of your “canvas.” Again, do whatever seems like the best idea at the time. 🙂 I had success with the flip method. Brush your pie with a little olive oil, shake on some more salt and pepper, and top with the remaining cheese. Pop it in your 350º oven, and bake it for about 30 minutes. You should be able to see if the egg mixture looks runny or done. Also, be careful not to burn your crust. If it’s starting to look dark, and the tart isn’t done, cover it with tin foil. That should prevent the edges from burning.
This vegetable art tart was my entree, and I paired it with some peas and carrots. But it would also make a lovely side dish. And feel free to experiment with other vegetables, too! If you want to use up some summer produce to make room for fall foods, go right ahead.
What garden produce would you use to make this artsy tart?
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