A Bakers & Best Thanksgiving: Vegetable Tart
Any Thanksgiving table needs a vegetable dish, if only to balance out the meat and everything else bread based. But I couldn’t just cook up some green beans and call it a day. Our final CSA boxes of the summer were heavy on root vegetables and I kept saying I would make some kind of vegetable tart. Inevitably the veggies were roasted, put into soups, or in the case of potatoes, made into tasty breakfast hash browns. Well I finally got around to making the tart I wanted and it did not disappoint.
This was a modified version of a Food Network recipe for a vegetable tarte tatin. Typically made with fruit, a tarte tatin involves cooking the topping in caramel before piling it into a dish and covering with puff pastry. I also wanted to put a layer of cheese between the veggies and puff pastry. Though I shouldn’t really judge until I’ve tried it, it seemed to me that a choice needed to be made between using the caramel and the cheese; I didn’t think having both of them in the dish would be ideal. I decided on the cheese and nixed the caramel, hence why I’m just calling this a tart, not a tarte tatin.
As you can see I did keep the puff pastry. Pulling off a Thanksgiving meal is a crazy amount work. I made an amount of food that could probably feed 6 people and it consumed my weekend. So when you can take shortcuts that don’t affect the overall quality of the final product it’s a good idea. I had a somewhat prolonged internal debate about whether I was going to buy or make the puff pastry.
I’ve laminated dough for croissants plenty of times without issue but this was going to be a whole extra level of work added to an already busy weekend. I’d like to give it a shot at some point but I was quite happy with the decision to buy the pastry. However when I was unable to initially find it at Meijer I felt like a horrible food snob when I had to explain to the person helping me that crescent rolls or pie crust in a tube was not what I was looking for.
I was very pleased with the finished product. The vegetables caramelized nicely without any added sugar and the mozzarella melted into this layer that permeated both pastry and vegetables. I was worried about the pastry getting soggy once I flipped the tart out of the pan but it never happened. Pre-roasting the veggies allowed me to better cram them into the tart and cooked off excess liquid that would make the crust soggy.
I added sage, thyme, and rosemary but the great flavor you get from the roasted veggies and cheese really provides enough for this dish to stand on its own. I used a mix of potatoes (gold and sweet potatoes), carrots, and onions and also quartered cloves of garlic. It is a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving meal but also one I think I will be happy to make throughout the year.
- 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick pieces
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick pieces
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick pieces
- 3 onions, quartered
- 8 cloves garlic, quartered
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1½ tsp dried sage
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 6 ounces (1½ C) grated mozzarella
- 1 8.5 ounce puff pastry sheet, thawed
- Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl toss together vegetables and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and then spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.
- Take puff pastry out from freezer and thaw to package instructions.
- Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven, stirring halfway through. Take out and set aside to cool. Keep the oven at 400 F.
- Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 inch baking dish (circular preferred) with olive oil. Pour in vegetables and pack tightly so that a compact flat layer extends all the way to the sides. The vegetables should come up just short of the rim of the dish.
- Spring the sage, oregano, rosemary, and thyme evenly over the vegetable layer, followed by the mozzarella.
- Place the thawed puff pastry over the tart. Tuck the edges in to the pan. You may need to tear off some corners to avoid excess crust, but make sure that all edges are covered. Poke holes in pastry with a fork, the place in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F, then turn down the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- When cooled use a knife to make sure that the pastry has not stuck to the edge of the dish. Carefully place a plate or serving dish on top of the tart and invert. If any veggies have stuck to the dish, place them back on the tart. Cut and serve warm.