This week I am posting a primer on how to make one of my very favorite things in the whole world–a savory rustic tart (aka crostata or galette). Be sure to check out that post–not only for tips and photos on making the dough and assembling the tarts–but also for the easy food-processor dough recipe, too. Then come back over here for a complete recipe for filling and assembling the cabbage, apple and onion tart (recipe follows). If you’ve got a copy of my cookbook The Fresh & Green Table, you can also use the guidelines over on that post to help you make either the Roasted Ratatouille Tart with Goat Cheese & Mint; the Seven-Treasure Roasted Winter Veggie Tart; or the Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry, Shallot & Pecan Tart. There’s also a Rustic Roasted Tomato Tart recipe (my favorite yet) in my new book, Fresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories.
I hope you’ll try one of these fun-to-make free-form tarts. The crust is flaky, buttery, and delicious, and the savory fillings are the perfect counterpart. Serve a slice with a salad or a bowl of soup–or have a piece for breakfast!
Savoy Cabbage, Apple, Onion & Gruyère Rustic Tart
When I was developing my rustic tart recipes for The Fresh & Green Table, the filling for this tart was the surprise favorite with friends I never thought would be cabbage-eaters. So I highly recommend this as a great way to introduce people to the ethereal (and traditionally Alsatian) combination of sautéed cabbage and onions, nutty gruyere cheese, sweet-tart sautéed apples, perky fresh thyme, and buttery, flaky crust.
I also recommend closely following my sautéing directions for the filling—especially the cabbage. You’ll be cooking it in a relatively dry pan over relatively high heat, so that it will quickly brown (almost toast) rather than steam. This is the secret to bringing out the wonderfully complex nutty flavor in cabbage. Be sure to use the beautiful crinkly-leaved variety of cabbage known as Savoy for this. (You’ll find it in the grocery right next to green cabbage; it’s round, too, but with dark-green outer leaves.) The filling components cool quickly, so you can make them in about the time you’ll need to let your dough warm up after taking it out of the fridge.
Makes one 8- to 9-inch tart. Serves 4
For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
For the filling:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (6 to 7 oz.), thinly sliced
6 oz. Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups packed)
1/2 Golden Delicious apple, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick)
For the tart:
3/4 cup (about 3 oz.) grated Gruyère cheese
1 tsp. lightly chopped fresh thyme leaves
flour for dusting
1 disk Savory Rustic Tart Dough (recipe here), made ahead, chilled for at least one hour, and removed from refrigerator 45 to 55 minutes before assembling tart
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set an oven rack in the center of the oven.
Make the egg wash
Whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream in a small bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside.
Make the filling
In a heavy 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and 1 Tbs. of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is limp and translucent, 5 minutes. Uncover, turn the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about another 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the onions to a plate to cool.
Add 1/2 Tbsp. butter to the pan, turn the heat to medium high, and add the cabbage and another big pinch of salt. Cook, tossing with tongs occasionally (only once or twice at first; let the cabbage have contact with the pan), until the cabbage is limp and nicely browned in spots all over (the thinnest pieces will be all brown but the green color will still be bright in the bigger pieces), about 5 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to a plate to cool.
Take the pan off the heat, and let it cool for a minute or two before returning to the heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. butter. When the butter has melted, add the apple slices, season them with a pinch of salt, and spread them out in one layer (tongs help here). Let them cook undisturbed until very lightly brown on the bottom side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is very lightly browned, another 2 minutes. Transfer the apples to a plate to cool.
Make the tart
(For help with assembling the tart, check out the “How to Make A Savory Rustic Tart” photos here.)
Line a large heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and position it next to a large cutting board or other surface you will use to roll out the dough. Arrange the cabbage, onions, apples, thyme and Gruyère around your work area.
Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and spread it around with your hand. Put the disk of dough in front of you and lightly tap it with the rolling pin to start softening and spreading it. Then gently roll it out, lifting and giving the disk a quarter-turn after each roll, until you have a roughly 12-inch circle. Try not to roll your pin over the edges of the dough, as that will tend to make the edges thinner than the center. (If your edges get very ragged or torn, it’s okay to patch them back together or trim them a bit.) If at any time the dough feels like it is sticking, lift it up and toss a bit of flour underneath it and/or over it. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet by rolling it up or draping it over your rolling pin and unrolling or undraping it on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle a quarter of the Gruyère over the dough, leaving a two-inch border around the edge. Arrange half of the cabbage over the Gruyère. Arrange half of the onions over the cabbage. Sprinkle them with a little bit of fresh thyme, and top with another quarter of the Gruyère. Repeat with the remaining cabbage and onions, and sprinkle again with a little thyme and another quarter of the Gruyère. Arrange the apples, very slightly overlapping, in the center of the tart (they will not cover all the filling). Sprinkle with a tiny bit of thyme and the remaining Gruyère.
Pleat and fold the edges of the dough up and over the outer edge of the filling all the way around the tart. (You will be folding in that 2-inch border.) You don’t have to go crazy making a lot of pleats—folding a piece of dough in about every 2 to 3 inches around the tart will get you the results you want (you’ll have about 8 or 9 folds).
Brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash (you won’t use it all), and sprinkle the edges of the tart with any remaining thyme.
Bake until nicely golden all over and crisp and brown on the bottom (check with spatula), about 38 to 40 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and use the parchment paper to slide the tart on to a cutting board. Cool for another 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.