Saturday, November 14, 2009

Italian Green Tomato Mincemeat Tart

Thanksgiving Morning after
No photos of the handsome Italian Green Tomato Mincemeat Tart?? What a shame. So as a placeholder here is one of the Thanksgiving table the morning after. Looks like we made some progress on that jigsaw puzzle!

If you were provident you made your Green Tomato Mincemeat a month ago or so. Now here, as promised, is the recipe for this handsome rustic pie that is not shy of taking its place on the holiday table. When it is taken from the pan and placed on a pretty plate or, as I do it, on a large, round, cast-iron griddle, the top fits over the bottom like the lid of a pot. As beautiful as it is it is no less delicious. A slender slice succinctly complements slivers of roast meats as well as finishes a meal. And if there is any left over there's no better way to break the fast the next morning!

There are three steps involved, but the Italian pastry, which can be done by hand or in a food processor, and the mincemeat can be made ahead of time, preparatory to assembling the tart. To remove the tart from the pan bottom easily, use a flat, somewhat flexible piece of metal such as another tart pan bottom or a sharp-edged baking sheet without a rim to slip between bottom crust and pan.
Serves 8 to 12

Italian sweet pastry dough:
  • 2 1/3 cups flour (10 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (2.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream cheese layer:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg beaten (you'll use 4 tablespoons of it)
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 2 cups green tomato mincemeat

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and zest. Cut the butter in with a knife or pastry cutter, then rub the mixture quickly between your palms until it is the texture of cornmeal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and toss until incorporated. If you use a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest just until combined, then add the cold butter, the egg and yolk, and the vanilla, and pulse several times just until combined and only beginning to come together in a ball.

Turn onto a work surface, knead lightly with the heel of your hand to distribute the egg, form the dough into 2 disks, one slightly larger than the other, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, roll out the larger portion of pastry and with it line a 10-inch, fluted, removable-bottom tart pan. Press excess pastry back into the fluted sides, pinching the two layers together and forming a 1/4 inch margin above the edge to allow for shrinkage.

Don't become distraught if the dough tears -- it does so easily but it can all be pressed together to mend it. I've taught this dough and had to patch it like a jigsaw. Laugh it off.

Blend the cream cheese with the honey until soft, add 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg, the milk, zest, vanilla, and nutmeg, and mix but do not beat. You do not want to incorporate air.
Pour into the pastry-lined pan and spread evenly. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes or until just set.

Meanwhile, roll out the top crust and prick it several times, decoratively, with a fork.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully spread the Green Tomato Mincemeat over the cream cheese layer in the pan. Drape the top pastry over a rolling pin and carefully lower over the pan. Arrange it evenly and then run the rolling pin across the top of the pan. The fluted edge of the pan will cut off the excess and seal the top to the bottom crust. Brush with the remaining egg. Bake until the top is delicate golden, about 20 minutes.

Let it cool and remove from the pan to a serving plate.

Serve in wedges, warm, with a spoonful of Creme Fraiche.

There may be no more fitting inscription on my tombstone, when the time comes, than
'Here lies she who developed the glorious Italian Green Tomato Mincemeat Tart.

Creme Fraiche

Stir 2 or 3 tablespoons of sour cream or buttermilk into 2 cups heavy cream, not ultra-pasteurized. Whisk together well, cover loosely, and leave in a warm place until the mixture becomes thickened and of the tang you like. This can take half an hour on some days and all day on others.


Penny said...

It sounds glorious Sharon. Happy Thanksgiving.

sharon parquette nimtz said...

And you too, M'Dear. I'm sure it will be scrumptious!