savory sage & squash tart


i spend a considerable amount of time preoccupied with thoughts about flavors. perhaps i should pursue becoming a mixologist at some swank speakeasy and make this preoccupation an actual occupation. anyhow... sometimes inspiration comes from something i've tried here or there, out at a restaurant or a bar and such. and then sometimes a random thought pops into my head for a recipe. for example: "what if i made a savory pumpkin pie?" well now, that's a ingenious idea, aubrey. do it! 

i was envisioning something with winter squash, nutmeg and savory flavors like onion and sage. i wanted it to be a cross between a pumpkin pie and a quiche but with the flavors of a butternut squash soup or something. i considered a pie crust in a pie pan, but then settled on a savory tart crust recipe adapted from the roost blog. i'm quite pleased with this recipe. it would make a fabulous addition to a thanksgiving feast. or maybe for a christmas brunch. or just whenever you need to feel cozy. 

for the crust:

3 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the filling:
2 cups canned or cooked winter squash or pumpkin, pureed
1 egg
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace (or use double the nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
2 oz soft goat cheese

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, or seeds reserved from squash

garnish:
small handful of fresh sage
1/4 cup grapeseed oil



preheat oven to 375. 

you can either use canned squash or pumpkin or make your own puree! i used an acorn squash. to do so simply halve the squash, remove seeds, and cut each half into two pieces. in a large pot, steam squash in a steaming basket for 15+ minutes or until the squash if fork tender. let squash cool for 30 minutes before handling. you can reserve the seeds, clean them and roast them on a baking sheet with a teaspoon of oil in a 375 degree oven until lightly brown and use these as your topping for the tart! (or you can use store-bought roasted pumpkin seeds. those are tasty too!) 

let's begin your crust! in a bowl combine all ingredients for crust, stir with a fork until a dough forms. using fingers, press almond meal dough into a un-greased removable-bottom tart pan (or use a pie pan if you don't have a tart pan!) try to form a consistent thickness and use fingers to form a clean edged crust. make several pricks on the bottom of the crust with a fork. place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes to par-bake the crust. remove from oven and let cool. this dough recipe makes enough for a larger 11 or 12 inch tart pan, if you have a smaller 9 inch tart pan, you may have a bit of extra dough. just form to your desired thickness. 

for the filling, saute onions in grapeseed oil at a low temperature until translucent. then, tear the sage leaves into smaller bits and rub them in you fingers to break down the cells a bit and add the sage to the onions. cook for one minute. once squash has cooled, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh from the rind and place into a food processor. add spices, egg and goat cheese and pulse until smooth. add the sage and onions. i did not process the onions with the squash, but if you would like a smooth consistency you most certainly could. i enjoyed the texture of the sauteed onions in the tart. 

finally, pour the filling into par-baked crust. do not overfill. sprinkle with pumpkin or home-roasted squash seeds. place the baking sheet in the center of you oven and bake the tart for 60-75 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown and the filling is firm - aim for the consistency of a moist pumpkin pie or quiche. remove from the oven and let cool in the tart pan. once the tart reaches room temperature, remove the rim of the tart pan and slice the tart into 6 or 8 slices.

as a garnish, fry sage leaves in 1/4 cup grapeseed oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. it only takes a few seconds to get crispy. use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove sage from the oil, and let oil drain off on a paper towel. place a few fried sage leaves on each slice of tart! yum. 

in other news. in case i didn't think about flavors enough already, i now have a three-quarter length sleeve tattoo of botanical vegetable drawings. to be exact: an artichoke, garlic, carrot, chilies, asparagus, pea vines, flowering dill, wheat, purple cabbage, rosemary, and of course .... a beet. i'll show more progress when i get it filled in! 



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