Produced by Brett Levine

Food Styling by Lily Plauché

Photography by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Tarts are single dish wonders.  Most commonly thought of as sweet delights, these three recipes take a different approach.  Savory, subtle, and full of spring flavors, tarts are perfect for any occasion.

The roasted herb and tomato clafouti reinterprets the traditional French dish.  Eggs and goat cheese bake into the herbs and tomatoes, creating an understated blend of tastes and texture. The bacon and caramelized shallot mini-tarts would be delicious for any meal.  The homemade crust adds a delicate note to the richness of crisp bacon.  And the asparagus and ricotta free-formed tart is as elegant in appearance as it is delectable on the palate.

Enjoy the variety these everyday ingredients bring.  Let the herbs and tomato, bacon and shallots, or asparagus and ricotta hit just the right note. But be aware, each will be just a little tart.

Roasted Tomato-Herb Clafouti

Serves: 4

3 cups grape tomatoes

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

¼ cup (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese

1 ¼ cups milk

3 eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 400F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes, garlic clove, oil, thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Chop garlic and remove thyme leaves from stems; add garlic and thyme back to tomato mixture. Spoon tomato mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

2. Decrease oven temperature to 350F. In a blender, combine milk, eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and flour. Blend until smooth. Stir in parsley and basil. Pour over tomato mixture in dish. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or browned and edges are puffed. Serve warm.

Asparagus- Ricotta Tart

Serves: 4

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

½ cup ricotta cheese

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) grated Comte cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 10 x 16-inch rectangle. Place pastry on a baking sheet. Lightly score the dough 1 inch from the edges with a sharp knife, making a rectangle. Prick bottom of dough with a fork. Bake 12 minutes or until light brown.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bright green and crisp-tender. Immediately transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water; drain and pat dry.

3. Combine ricotta, Comte, egg, lemon rind, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Spread mixture onto bottom of tart shell. Toss asparagus with oil; arrange asparagus over filling. Sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bacon and Caramelized Shallot Tart

Serves: 6

1 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 tablespoons ice water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 large egg yolk

12 slices bacon

6 medium shallots, sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs

Salt and pepper

¼ cup (1 ounce) grated Gruyere cheese

1. Combine flour and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together ice water, lemon juice, and egg yolk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dough holds together when squeezes. Gather dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 400F. On a floured surface, roll out dough to fit a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place crust into tart pan, trimming edges as necessary. Prick bottom with a fork. Chill while preparing the filling.

3. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon; crumble and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Heat drippings over medium heat; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, 20 to 30 minutes or until caramelized. Stir in thyme and half of the crumbled bacon.

4. Bake tart crust 15 minutes or until dry but not browned. Spoon shallot mixture into bottom of crust. Whisk together heavy cream, eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and cheese; pour over shallot mixture in crust. Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Bake 30 minutes or until filling is golden brown and set. Cool 20 minutes before serving.

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