We like to make this savory tart at this time of year. With its traditional pastry shell and custard-like filling, the tart is similar to a quiche. The corn filling, a combination of pureed and whole kernels, is pure American, while the compote of cherry tomatoes on top lends a Provençal air. Think Martha's Vineyard meets Saint-Tropez.
The crust, a classic pâte brisée, couldn't be easier to make, and the fluted edge adds a touch of refinement to this rustic dish. I bake it in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Of course you can also use a store-bought 9-inch pie shell (look for one made without sugar, otherwise the tart will be too sweet). For the tomato mélange, feel free to combine red, yellow, orange, or purple heirloom tomatoes — whatever looks fresh and ripe at your farm stand or market. It's worth seeking out smoked paprika, which is a little more pungent than regular paprika; it provides the dish with a smokiness that hints of bacon and balances the corn's natural sweetness. The bread crumbs serve to absorb the tomato juices and will lightly toast as the tart bakes, giving the topping a little crunch, almost like that of a crumble.
The tart shell is fantastic. We use white whole wheat flour and we also use this as a crust recipe for our pumpkin pie.
The Tart Shell
- 1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1⁄8 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups dried beans or rice, for baking shell Combine flour, butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse until
crumbs form. Add egg and pulse until the mixture resembles moist curds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and knead once or twice to pull
dough together. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and
refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (At this point, the dough can be kept
refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to a month.)
Center a rack in the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Cut a 10" dia. round of waxed or parchment paper. Place a fluted 9" tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet. Lightly dust a work surface and the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough out into a round that is approximately 10" dia. and 1⁄8" thick. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim excess dough even with the pan's rim and, with the tines of a fork, poke a few holes on the bottom. Line the shell with the paper round and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and carefully remove the paper and beans, then bake the shell for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Remove and let cool in pan on a rack. (The shell can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 8 hours.)
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 11⁄2cups uncooked corn kernels (about 2 ears)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 eggs: 3 whole eggs, plus yolk from 1 egg
- 3⁄4 cup sliced scallions
- Dash Tabasco sauce
- 1⁄2 lb. heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 to 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut in thin wedges
- 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1⁄3 cup panko bread crumbs
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt 1 T of the butter in a medium saucepan
over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4
minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the corn, with a
sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reserve
1⁄2 cup of the corn mixture in a medium bowl. Add the cream to the
saucepan, bring to a simmer, and then transfer to a blender. Puree until
smooth and transfer to the bowl with the reserved corn. Whisk in whole
eggs, egg yolk, 1⁄2 cup scallions, Tabasco, and another sprinkle of salt
and pepper until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart
shell, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the custard is set.
Meanwhile, melt remaining butter, transfer to a medium bowl, and toss with the remaining scallions, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Once custard is set, remove tart from oven, and arrange tomato mixture on top. Return tart to the oven and continue baking for 15 more minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and bread crumbs are golden. Let tart rest for 20 minutes before slicing.