Thanksgiving French Butternut Squash Tart
November 24, 2014
I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin pie. In fact I think I’ve tasted it may be once or twice. It must be the sweet dense texture and the fact that most of them are made from canned pumpkin mix that makes me shy away from this Thanksgiving classic.
When it comes to pastries in general, French tarts are my go-to, whether sweet or savory. My mother has always made a French butternut squash tart for Thanksgiving, ever since we’ve been celebrating the holiday. Diced, the squash is scattered, along with onions and herbs, atop a thinly rolled out, flaky butter crust. Here is the recipe for this very easy savory tart.
The trick to having a flaky crust is to not over-knead it. Also be sure the butter is chilled and you work fast incorporating it with flour. An egg, though not necessary, results in a super flaky pastry. Tip: Shape the dough, pressing it against 1/2 sheet pan (18″ x 13″) or tart mold. You can also free form it, but be sure to roll it out thin, about 1/16-inch thick.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 stick salted butter (1/4 cup), chilled and diced
1 to 3 tablespoons chilled water
1 large egg (optional)
On a clean and floured work surface, sift together both flours, forming a mound. Scatter the chilled butter. With your fingertips, quickly work the butter into the flour until the mixture looks crumbly. It doesn’t need to be uniform. In fact some large clumps are acceptable. Make a well in the center and add the water OR the egg. Start gathering the flour toward the wet ingredients, gradually mixing them together until well combined but still crumbly. Without kneading, press the dough together into a ball. Flatten and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH TOPPING
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 dice
1 large yellow or red onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 bunch flat or curly parsley, leaves only
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
Salt and pepper to taste
TO ASSEMBLE THE TART
Preheat oven to 400°F for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, scatter some flour on a clean work surface and roll out the dough thin in any shape you wish to either fit a specific tart mold, 1/2 sheet pan, or to free form. Scatter the butternut squash, onions, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and bake until golden, about 45 minutes.