I went through a phase where I made a lot of tarts. And I mean, A LOT. We are not talking one tart here, another tart there. I was on a mission to perfect the art of tart making. Okay, not really. I just wanted to use the tart pan we got from our wedding registry that had sat in the cabinet for over 4 years. It seemed so necessary at the time….
Anyway, as we all know, baking is not midEATS’ forte. We thrive on our savory Middle Eastern roots. But this tart dough is one recipe that I am quite proud of, because it not only works, but is easy, and even the baking handicapped can do it! I must have read at least 30 different tart dough recipes online before I got a grasp of the basic ingredients, and then I dove right in. I broke every conventional “must follow directions to bake” rule (ahem, as always…), and to my surprise, it turned out wonderful. And it did not only once, but many times.
SO, I am glad I wrote it down to share. Particularly since I am in a festivus mood, I figured this is perfect for a holiday savory tart. In this recipe, I used rosemary, but you can use thyme, za’atar, herbs de provence…basically anything you are in the mood for! And the best part? The recipe yields enough to make two tarts. I find that tarts get eaten quickly, so two is definitely the way to go.
You are probably asking yourself – “What does this have to do with the Middle East?” Well, baked goods and bread are an essential part to the Middle Eastern diet. Living in Abu Dhabi, all the weight I have gained has ben from savory carbalicious cookies, breads, snacks, etc. I have taken this tart, and made some fun Middle Eastern inspired ones, such as my very own Mediterranean Olive and Caramelized Onion Tart, as well as an Eggplant Ricotta Tart. Delish!
Savory Tart Dough
3 cups of unbleached white flour
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened but not melted
4 tbsp of cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp rosemary (or other herb)
(1) In a large bowl, combine the flour and butter. I usually put the stick of butter in the microwave for 15 seconds to make it softer. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like a bowl of tiny pebbles.
NB: I think “real” bakers use cold butter, and use a pastry blender to combine the flour with the dough. Never fear – I have a pastry hand blender (from my wedding registry also, thank you very much…). Both ways – microwave or pastry blender – turned out the same for me.
(2) Add the eggs, and 3 tbsp of cold water. Work through the mixture with your hands. If the dough doesn’t seem to hold well, add another tbsp of cold water, although you do not want the dough to be sticky.
(3) Add the salt and rosemary (or whichever spice you want to use) and work through the dough with your hands.
(4) Split the dough in half to create two separate balls of dough.
(5) Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate immediately if the dough is not going to be used right away.