In this savory Butternut Squash Carrot Tart, carrots and butternut squash are roasted with Harissa and Hungarian paprika then covered in caramelized onions, and baked to custardy perfection in a whole-wheat tart shell. All topped with sage browned butter.
A savory tart? After all the sinfully sweet fruit and nut pies that have been appearing from my kitchen over the past few weeks, you might be inclined to run over here and take my temperature.
I can assure you I am doing just fine. You can find me curled up with a good book, a bright kale salad, and a generous slice of this savory tart. It is comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out.
The whole-wheat crust is delicate all-butter perfection (huh? Did I say this was healthy? Puh-lease.); the lightly spiced butternut carrot custard is smooth and creamy; the caramelized onions add texture and a slightly sweet component; and the sage browned butter, well, that is one for the record books.
The sage browned butter compliments the lightly spiced vegetables and caramelized onions in an explosion of savory flavors that is perfection itself.
All the flavors seamlessly blend together in each bite so magically it will have you reaching for your rolling pin instead of your Seamless app. Trust me, I know.
The whole-wheat pie crust comes together in under 5 minutes with the help of a food processor, though you can use any of the 5 methods in my video tutorials to the same effect. There is a little freshly ground black pepper in the crust that makes this dish extra savory.
You can use a store-bought crust (tear) or my easy all-butter pie crust instead but the whole-wheat adds another level of flavor to the tart. Not to mention extra fiber and protein! Hooray for filling, comforting, hearty Winter meals!!!
This show-stopping savory tart will add a bit of rustic charm and comfort to your next party or just Saturday night in.
Savory Butternut Squash Carrot Tart
For the Whole Wheat Crust:
- 95 g whole wheat flour
- 30 g pastry flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 85 g unsalted butter (cubed, cold)
- Ice Cold Water
For the Butternut Squash Carrot Tart Filling:
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 336 g carrots (approximately 4 large, 7 small, peeled and sliced)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Harissa spice (I used Whole Foods brand)
- ¼ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 252 g evaporated milk
- 2 eggs
- 96 g unsalted butter
- 1 ¾ tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ½ pounds yellow onions
- 1 ¾ teaspoons sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 57 g unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
To make the Crust:
- Combine the whole-wheat flour, pastry flour, salt and black pepper in a food processor. Sprinkle the cubed butter on top. Pulse until large chickpea sized pieces remain (I like to keep the butter larger than peas with the food processor method because I find that otherwise the butter works into the dough too much by the time the water has been added).
- Add several tablespoons of water at a time through the chute of the food processor, and pulse after each addition. Open the lid to check the consistency after each addition. Once the dough looks crumbly, dump it out onto the counter. Gather the dough and press it away from you with the heel of your hand until it comes together. This technique is called fraisage. If it is stubbornly crumbly, add a touch more water by wetting your hands before fraisage.
- Once it comes together, pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes to overnight.
- You can watch a tutorial on this method here.
To roast the vegetables:
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F with the allocated sheet pan inside the oven.
- In a large bowl combine the squash, carrots, salt, Harissa, paprika, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread vegetables on the pre-heated sheet pan and roast for 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots and squash can easily be punctured with a fork.
To caramelize the onions:
- Melt butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or non-reactive pan over medium heat, stirring as needed.
- Add onions, stirring to coat. Spread them out in as even a layer as possible, sprinkle with sugar and cook, stirring as needed to keep the onions from sticking.
- Continue to cook until the onions are soft and smell fragrant and sweet. You want them to be a beautiful dark brown. It takes almost an hour but is a mostly passive task.
- Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper.
Roll out tart shell and par-bake:
- While the vegetables roast and onions caramelize, roll out your tart shell to ⅛ inch thick and line a 9-inch tart shell or a pie dish. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before trimming the edges.
- Remove vegetables from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Line the chilled tart shell with parchment paper and fill with baking weights or beans. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes and then remove the parchment and beans. Continue to bake until the shell begins to brown and the bottom no longer looks raw, approximately an additional 10 minutes. Lower the oven back down to 350°F.
Make the filling:
- While your tart shell par-bakes, make your filling! In the food processor, combine the roasted vegetables and evaporated milk. Process until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. You can also add more Harissa at this point if you want it a little spicier! Add the eggs and process until smooth.
- Pour into warm tart shell and smooth the surface with an offset spatula (Or don’t. No one will know the difference.) Carefully drop the caramelized onions onto the surface of the tart, leaving a little gap, so that you can see the filling in places.
- Bake 30 minutes at 350°F or until the center is no longer liquid. Cool completely before cutting.
To make the browned butter:
- In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once your butter is melted add the sage.
- Continue to cook over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until the butter has taken on a nutty aroma and you can see little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Pour into a bowl or the butter will continue to cook in the pan.
- Drizzle the browned butter over the whole tart or serve with each slice. Store extra browned butter in the refrigerator and then warm it in the microwave prior to serving.
- The tart can be re-warmed in a 350°F oven. It is best served warm.
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