Rutabaga Tart with Shallots, Aged Cheddar and Rye Crust

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

This savory tart could stand in as a vegetarian main course at any holiday meal or as a light lunch. The crispy shallots will soften on top of refrigerated leftovers, but the caramelized flavor remains, so no harm done. Make your own pâte brisée with some whole-grain rye flour for a nuttier crust, or use a pre-rolled store-bought pie dough instead—the rutabaga is the star here. 

Serves 8-10

Tart crust:
¾ cup whole-grain rye flour
¾ cup organic all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Ice water

Filling:
2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces aged cheddar, grated
¼ cup crème fraîche
1½ teaspoons thyme leaves, divided
1 teaspoon local honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Shallots:
1 cup neutral oil, like safflower or grapeseed
2 shallots, peeled and sliced into rings, tossed to separate
Sea salt, to taste

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade pulse together the flours, 
salt and sugar. Add the butter and pulse again until pea-sized clumps form. Add the vinegar to ¼ cup ice water and drizzle into the butter-flour mixture while the machine is running, then pulse until a dough forms—do not over-process.

Pour the dough out onto a piece of parchment and press into a disk. Wrap in parchment and place in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a rimmed ovenproof casserole dish toss the rutabaga with the oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the rutabaga and continue to roast uncovered another 30 minutes, or until very tender when pricked with a fork. 

Remove from the oven and scrape into a bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, crush the rutabaga into a coarse mash. Add the cheese, crème fraîche, 1 teaspoon thyme, honey and mustard, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

When ready to bake, remove the pie dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Roll out to fit inside a 10- to 11-inch fluted tart pan, reinforcing the edges by folding under and pressing against the inside of the tin. Pierce the pastry with the tines of a fork, then line with parchment and 2 cups dried beans (or rice or pastry weights). Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and bake another 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.

Add the filling to the pastry, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and bake 30 minutes or until filling is bubbling and browned.

Meanwhile, make the fried shallots:  
Pour the oil into a small saucepan and add the shallots. Turn on the heat to medium and stir frequently, letting the shallots sizzle in the oil just until they turn deep golden brown and crispy; this can take up to 15–20 minutes. As soon as they are golden, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon to a paper towel and season with sea salt while still hot. Reserve the (now oniony) oil for another batch of shallots or to use in cooking—it’s especially good for frying eggs!

Assembly:  
When the tart filling is bubbly and the crust a golden brown, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the crispy shallots. Allow to cool 5–10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, vegetable gardener and managing editor of Edible Boston. She can be reached at sarah@edibleboston.com