Easy Rustic Tarts

While the ground is frozen, my oven stays warm.

I’ve been perfecting my pie dough crust.  Okay, I haven’t been actually making pies I guess you can say I’ve been taking the easy route with these super easy rustic (and so delish) tarts.

Since I couldn’t decide whether to go sweet or savory, and while I have made many sweet tarts or crostatas or galettes, I was uncertain about the ingredients to use in a savory tart.  (Why so many names?  Crostata is Italian and galette is French.)

I looked for some recipes starring my all-time favorite vegetable, leafy green spinach and got some ideas from those.  I prepared the spinach using very similar ingredients that I would use when not including in a pastry dough – with sautéed onions and garlic for great flavor and I added grated gruyere cheese then added to the dough.  Pretty simple, right?  You got it!

You give it a try and let me know whether you agree or not.

Spinach Gruyere Tart




Easy Rustic Tarts Recipe

Pastry Dough for Tart

2 C flour
1 ½ t salt
1 t baking powder
6 T butter, cold
4 T vegetable shortening
½ C (or less) ice water

Process:  mix flour, salt, baking powder together; add the butter and shortening using a cheese grater (or your preferred method); combine until mixture is the texture of small peas; add ice water a little at a time; roll out onto a floured surface and make 2 small discs; wrap in plastic and refrigerate until filling is ready.

Spinach Gruyere Tart

6-7 C organic spinach
½ C Gruyere cheese, grated
2 T olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t thyme
dash pepper

Process:  Sautee onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden; add garlic and cook until fragrant, careful not to burn; remove from pan and add remaining olive oil; add spinach, salt, thyme and pepper; cover with lid and cook for 3 minutes; let cool.  Squeeze all liquid from the cooled spinach then combine with the cheese; add this mixture to the tart dough and wrap the edges over the filling to enclose; bake at 400 F degrees for about 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown.


Red Grape Tart




Red Grape Tart

1 C red grapes, thoroughly washed
1 t potato starch
½ C water
1 T sugar (adjust here according to natural sweetness of fruit used)
1 t lemon juice
½ t lemon zest
pinch of salt

Process:  cook grapes in the 1/2 cup of water; bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl mix the potato starch, lemon juice, sugar, zest and salt; add this mixture to the boiling grapes and stir constantly; let simmer for about 2 minutes and remove from heat; let cool.  Add this mixture to the chilled and rolled out dough.  Fold up the edges to “hug” the red grape mixture; bake in a preheated oven at 400 F degrees for about 25 minutes until crust is golden.  Let cool before serving.

Bean Pie, Yes, I Said Bean

Muslim Bean Pie

Bean Pie

I’ve been eating bean pies since discovering them as a teen. I’ve never made one and I’ve never actually found one in a bakery that may have been fresh-baked. The bean pies I craved and ate were from the “Muslim” vendors in Harlem. A few years ago I noticed that the neighborhood Pathmark sold bean pies which was an exciting discovery since they were notoriously hard to find. Even now people I talk to about this dish have either never heard of or tasted it or they find it an unusual element to be in a baked good.
I never thought I’d ever make a bean pie however since playing around with beans in soups, spicy sides with rice, in chili’s, and pureed as humus, sweetening them up for a dessert was a natural progression.
I’ve also been perfecting my pie crust and am envious of those bakers who can make and handle delicate pie dough with confidence and vigor and never, ever tear it (how’d they do that?).
The flavor of this pie was spicy and robust, just the way I like my flavors and it is deceivingly simple to make. If you believe that a bean pie cannot be a delicious treat, think again. I’m here to promote the protein infused bean in this sweet and satisfying dessert!

Bean Pie  Bean Pie Bean Pie

Muslim Bean Pie Recipe   Yield = 2, 9″ shallow pies
2 C all-purpose flour
1 ½ t salt
6 T butter, cold
4 T vegetable shortening
¼ C ice water
Combine the flour and salt and use a cheese grater to grate the butter and shortening into the flour mixture; mix together to form pea-size grains; add ice water in small amounts while continuing to mix; flour mixture should not be too wet to make it sticky; turn out onto a floured surface, mix until no longer sticking; separate in half and form two small disks; wrap in plastic and refrigerate until filling is prepared.
Roll out chilled dough and place into pie plates; place parchment paper and weights into each to prevent shrinking and blind-bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 F degrees; let cool.
1 19 oz can Cannellini beans, rinsed (or 1 ½ cans of 15 oz size beans)
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
½ C butter
1 t fresh minced ginger
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
½ t allspice
2 T flour
2 C sugar
2 T vanilla
3 eggs
Place all pie filling ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, may need to do in batches to prevent overflow; pour mixture into cooled, blind-baked pie shells and bake at 350 F degrees for about 55 minutes until filling is firm.

Bean Pie Bean Pie

Some of the comments I’ve received about this bean pie:
From David: It was delicious but a little thick and less creamy than the first one with more of a rich taste. I enjoy eating both just as much as you enjoyed making them for me to eat (ha ha) thank you for that experience of enjoyment.
From Richard and Hope: the pie was very good—I don’t think it was too sweet. But I like sweet so you may not be able to go by me. Hope says there’s a little after taste, but she still likes it. It reminded me of sweet-potato pie but with a slightly different taste.

Bean Pie

A Note About Progresso Beans
I do like to educate myself about the food I put into my body and I have to admit that I’m a bit unsure of the company Progresso and the processes they use to grow their beans. I mention this because their beans are super creamy and tender and I look for them especially when making my vegetarian and turkey chili since no other bean I’ve tried has come close to having a similar texture or flavor. Every successful business has entered the lives of and created a relationship with their customer, I suppose this has occurred between Progresso and myself. I’ve decided to trust their product for now.


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