Feb 21, 2015

Recipe Box- Savory Tarts for a Big Crowd

So, what's a cook to do when there's a charity event for 80 people, but someone's already vouched for the sweet treats?

Think, "Damn. Someone stole my move." Then, have a lightbulb moment.

Ah-ha! Make some savory tarts! 

Over the last few months, I've been tasked with feeding large crowds of people, and one of the things that I've stuggled with is time-efficiency vs. quantity of food. As much as I'd like to bake and decorate tons of individual desserts, my schedule is just a little too packed to spend all day filling and frosting a million cupcakes. So, what's been my life-saver?

Slab pies

Slab pie is exactly what it sounds like. It's a slab of pie. In more specific terms, it's a pie that is the size of an entire jellyroll pan. That's a big pie! And, just one can easily serve 24-30 people depending on what size slice you're serving. Talk about a delicious, delicious time-saver! 

So, here we go...

Roasted Vegetable and Creamy Goat Cheese Tart 

For the crust:

3 3/4 c. flour

3 sticks cold unsalted butter (diced)

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. sour cream

1/2 c. cold water

Making a crust this big was probably the scariest part of this recipe, but if I can do it, you can do it! First, I did some research and came across a recipe on Martha Stewart that was an excellent starting point. Also, I should mention that I use a food processor for this recipe, but you could still make this crust with good ol elbow grease. 

So, combine the flour and salt in the processor's bowl and pulse once or twice to combine. Then, add in the diced butter cubes, and process until the butter is pea-sized. Then, add the sour cream, start the processor and slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Finally, take the dough out of the processor, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. 

After the dough is nice and chilly, get ready to roll it out. This is without a doubt the trickiest part of the process, because unlike rolling out dough for a normal pie, you'll need to make a rectangle that can completely cover your jellyroll pan, plus a little more for the rolled edges. That's a super big pastry crust. My best advice for this is patience. Just keep rolling it out evenly and shaping as you go. Once it's the right size, very carefully roll it around itself on the rolling pin, and then unroll it onto your greased pan. Then, cut off some of the excess, but leave just enough to tuck it under the edges. 

Ooooooo. Ahhhhhh.

And, now for...

Creamy Goat Cheese and Vegetable Filling

4 8oz. blocks of cream cheese (room temp)

5 eggs

8 oz. crumbled goat cheese

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

1/2 tsp. of garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 1/2 tbs. chopped herbs (thyme and rosemary)

salt and pepper to taste

First, you'll want to prep your veggies. Thinly slice the squash and zucchini into rounds, and thinly slice the peppers as well. Then, toss the veggies in a little olive oil, plus the onion and garlic powder and salt and pepper. Put them to the side while you make the creamy goat cheese filling. This is a take on a cheesecake bar, but, you know, a savory version. When a hand-held or standing mixer, combine the room-temp cream cheese with the eggs and goat cheese along with some salt and pepper to taste. 

Once combined, fill the pastry crust with the creamy filling. Spread it out evenly, and then top with rows of the veggies.

Finally, pop that baby in the oven on the middle rack at 400 degrees for 1 hour. If the veggies or the crust look like their getting a little too brown, feel free to tent with some foil after about 40 minutes.

Once, the pie is baked, sprinkle with some finely chopped herbs, and, presto- you've got a savory slab pie!

Because the creamy filling is quite rich, you can easily cut 36 or so squares from this tart because little squares will go a long way. 

Yum! Savory tarts for all!