Dorie described the origins of this tart in such a storybook way that it made me excited to make it. The recipe comes from her friend Gérard Jeannin, who owns a Bed & Breakfast just outside of Dijon. Dijon mustard is really the star of this tart, which I never thought to mix with carrots, fennel, eggs, and cream. Gérard actually started using carrots and fennel in this trationally tomato topped tart because he wanted to make it even when tomatoes were not in season. It turned out to be a winning combination!
I’ll admit it – I’ve never made a tart, much less a tart shell from scratch so I knew this one would be a challenge. After reading the list of ingredients on pre-packaged tart dough that would make Michael Pollan run for the hills, I decided to try making my own, using Dorie’s simple ingredients and copious instructions. I also read all the P’s & Q’s about this recipe to get as much extra help as possible and it paid off!
The tart dough was of a kryptonite consistency, as some described in this week’s P’s & Q’s. I put off rolling it out for an extra day, mainly because I didn’t have a rolling pin. When I got around to rolling it out I decided to use a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc – I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Napa and a wine bottle was the first thing I could think of to use!
The bottle worked surprisingly well and I was able to fit the dough perfectly in my brand new tart tin without stretching it, just like Dorie said. I froze it for an hour to be extra careful and then baked it in the oven at 400° for 20 minutes, covered in foil and weighted with rice, since I didn’t have any pie weights. It shrank a bit but I was pretty happy with my first attempt.
I steamed the matchstick sized carrots and fennel in my bamboo steamer to bring out that French-Vietnamese flair.
The filling was the easiest part to make – just whisked together the eggs, crème fraiche, mustards, salt & pepper. For the mustard, I used Trader Joe’s Dijon and Dijon Whole Grain Mustard, which said ‘Imported from France’ on the bottles so I thought they’d work well enough to be the stars of this tart. I can’t say that the smell of the dijon made me cry so they probably weren’t up to Gérard Jeannin’s standards but I did use fresh rosemary from my work colleague’s garden – thanks Cristy!
Arranging the carrots and fennel strips on top was the most fun and then I popped it in the 425° oven for 30 minutes and it came out perfectly.
All in all this tart was a success and my boyfriend and I enjoyed it with a bowl of tomato and roasted red pepper soup on a chilly night. I’ll be eating the leftovers tomorrow for lunch!
We aren’t allowed to post the recipes in this blog group so if you want to try the tart, check out Around My French Table.