When we plan our Thanksgiving weekend, we plot out each meal and how we’ll use leftovers. We have a standing joke between us now.
“And for Saturday?” Brian will ask.
“Smokey Joe’s tart,” I will laugh. There is no question that one weekend meal has to be this tart.
In all honesty, this tart is the very best way to use leftover turkey.
Carole Walter published Great Pies and Tarts in 1998. We still use our original copy, although it is literally falling apart. And each year since 1998 we’ve made this tart, either after Thanksgiving or Christmas. Carole says that it was her favorite recipe when writing the book.
If you enjoy Southwestern flavors, then you are going to die for this mix of turkey, onion, corn, cilantro, and beans. It’s vibrant and satisfying. The recipe calls for smoked turkey, but turkey leftovers were destined to be served in the cornmeal pastry that encircles all the wonderful ingredients.
Coming out of the oven, the smell of pastry, turkey, beans and just broiled cheese will spark up your appetite no matter how stuffed you remain from Thanksgiving.
If you’ve never seen this book by Carole Walter, then I urge you to find a copy of Great Pies and Tarts. Of course, each recipe from Carole is meticulously tested so you know they will work. More importantly, the book is filled with recipes I’ve never seen anywhere else, tongue intriguing entries like:
- Cinnamon Crumb and Plums Tart
- Autumn Pear and Grape Pie in Cheddar Pastry
- Glazed Banana Lemon Tart
Every page you turn make you want to stop and bake. Start with the savory idea from Carole and work your way towards dessert.
Smokey Joe’s Turkey Tart
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 recipe Golden Cornmeal Pastry [recipe follows]
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 6 ounces (2 ¼ inch-thick slices)
- 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mince garlic
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 4 teaspoons chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup cooked black beans
- 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Shape the Pastry
You’ll need a 14X 17 inch cookie sheet. The pastry is rolled directly on the cookie sheet. Cut a piece of 18-inch-siede aluminum foil, measuring about 6 inches large than the edge of the pan. Place the foil over the cookie sheet so that the ends extend over the sides. Tuck the ends under and smooth surface.
Sprinkle the pan with a 1 tablespoon of cornmeal, making a large circle. Place the pastry in the center of the pan. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little flour and cover with a piece of baking parchment. Roll the dough, preferably with a tapered rolling pin into a 15-inch circle.
Fold the edge of the pastry under, making a 1-inch border. The circle should measure 13inches in diameter. Flute the edge and prick the center lightly with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake the pastry for 18 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. If the center puffs up, tap it gently with the bottom of a fork to expel the air. Cool the pastry shell before filling.
Make the Filling
Preheat the broiler. Position the rack so that it is about 6 inches from the head source. Wash and dry the red pepper. Cut it in half lengthwise and remove the tem, seeds, and white veins. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place the red pepper cut side down on the foil. Broil the pepper until it is well charred and skin is black. Removed from the oven and wrap the aluminum foil around it. Make the package airtight so that the pepper can steam. Let stand about 1 5minutes. Using a paring knife, remove the skin. Dice the pepper into ¼-inch pieces.
Following the grain of the meat, pull the turkey into thin shreds. Set aside.
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil until transparent. Stir in the garlic and cook briefly. Add the corn, cover the skillet, and cook until the corn is almost tender. Sir in the diced red pepper and cilantro. Seaton to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. The tart can be made ahead to his point. Just warm the vegetables and proceed from this point.
Assemble the Tart
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
Spread the sautéed vegetables over the baked pastry shell. Scatter the black beans and shredded turkey over the vegetables. Lay a square of aluminum foil loosely over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the filling is heated through. Remove the aluminum foil. Sprinkle the top with Monterey Jack cheese.
Move the oven rack to the upper third of the oven and turn the oven setting to broil. The tart should not be too close to the heat source or it will burn. Lightly brown the cheese topping, 15 to 20 seconds. Watch carefully. To serve, slide the tart onto a platter with the help of a long spatula. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve while hot.
Cover any leftover tart with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.
Golden Cornmeal Pastry
Yield: 1 11-inch tart
- 1 cup unsifted al-purpose flour
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup firm unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large egg white
Place the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend.
Add the butter, and pulse 4 or 5 times, then process for 8 to 10 seconds. Stop the machine, remove the cover, and add the egg white. Pulse 4 or 5 times, then process for 5 to 8 seconds, just until a dough is formed.
With lightly floured hands form the dough into a 5- to 6-inch disk. Dust with flour, score with the side of your hand, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using. Roll as directed in the recipe.
Source: Great Pies and Tarts by Carole Walter
The title of this post is bold and taken directly from Baking by Dori Greenspan. After chocolate, Brian’s favorite flavor is lemon. If a lemon tart is on the dessert menu, he’s ready to raise his hand. And I agree: a good tart, with sweet pastry shell and divine lemon curd, is a most refreshing way to end any meal.
This tart is the best you will ever have. Ever.
And the secret is that it is made, not with lemon curd, but with lemon cream. Dori has worked with, written with, and certainly bonded with Pierre Herme, a prince of the French culinary world. And he taught Dori this incredible secret.
When you made a lemon curd, you cook the butter along with the other curd ingredients [eggs, lemon juice, and sugar]. For this cream, you reserve the butter and add it only at the end, in pieces, using a blender. Instead of melting in the curd style and forming a richly thick buttery substance, in the cream method the butter emulsifies — like oil in mayonnaise. As Dori says, the texture is incredibly velvety and light. That light velvet touch just fools your brain. You expect curd and you get cream. It’s packed with flavor and surprise.
I truly mean it: this is the ultimate tart. And you can experiment. I did this recipe with lime replacing lemon. The result was a tart equally ultimate. I’m going in hunt of blood oranges!
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Yield: 1 9-inch tart
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of three lemons
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 sticks +5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 9 inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough, recipe follows
Have an instant read thermometer, a strainer and a blender or food processor and. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
Put the sugar and zest in a large heat proof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with a whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180°F area. As you whisk — you must whisk constantly keep the eggs from scrambling — you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer 180°F, it will start thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point — tracks mean that the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, have patience — depending on how much heat you are giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
As soon as it reaches 180°F, remove the cream from heat and strain it into the container of the blender or food processor. Discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally until it cools 240°F, about 10 minutes.
Turn the blender to high, or turn on the processor, and with the machine going, add the butter about five pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going — to get the perfect light, airy mixture of lemon cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another three minutes you’re your machine protests or it gets a bit too hot, work in one minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between.
Pour the cream into a container, and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. The cream will keep in the fridge for four days, or tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to two months. Let it overnight in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to assemble a tart just whisk the lemon cream to loosen it and spoon into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.
Sweet Tart Dough and Shell
Yield: 1 tart bottom
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- one stick +1 tablespoon very cold or frozen unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolks
To make the dough: put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scattered the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add a little at a time pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process and long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change — heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very slightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed — press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To partially or fully baked the crust: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust is puffed press down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, and transfer the crust to a cooling rack. Keep it in the pan.
To fully baked the crust: bake for another eight minutes or so, until it is firm and golden brown. I dislike lightly baked crust so I often keep the crust in the oven just a little longer. If you do that just make sure to keep a close eye on the crust’s progress – it can go from golden to way too dark in a flash. Transfer the tart pan to a rack to crust to room temperature before filling.
To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary: if there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough, as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges to the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another two minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.
Source: Baking by Dori Greenspan