Friday, July 2, 2010

Use Your Booty: Torta d'Erbe

In Italian cuisine, a torta is a pie or tart. This one is a greens pie with a yeasted dough crust. For those of you afraid of pie crust, a yeasted dough might be a nice gateway pastry: you can't overwork the dough like you can with a short crust, the dough provides a firm case for the filling and doesn't get soggy like a pastry crust can.

To make for easy assembly, make the dough when it's convenient for you and after it rises, punch it down and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the tart. Make your filling ahead as well - a warm filling will make the dough harder to work with. I made my tart in a free-form gallette style with a pleated top but you could easily make your tart in a tart, cake or pie pan if you wish.

Torta d'Erbe
Makes 1 large tart, 6-8 entrée servings
  • 1 recipe yeasted tart dough, below
  • 4-6 cups cooked, chopped greens (I used kale and Swiss chard in this tart)
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 ounce parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red wine vinegar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • sesame seeds for garnish
Combine the greens, cheeses, and olives. Combine well and taste. Add salt & pepper to taste. If you think the greens need more acidic brightness stir in a few drops of red wine vinegar. When you're happy with the seasoning, stir in the 2 eggs.

On a lightly flour surface, roll the tart dough into a large circle (about 18"), sprinkling with more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough onto a greased baking sheet or into an 11" tart pan.

Evenly spread the filling onto the dough, leaving a 4" margin if you're using a baking sheet and over the entire tart pan if using a tart pan. Lift the dough up and over the filling, pleating the dough to layer it evenly across the top of the tart.

Beat the other egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the egg wash over the tart. Sprinkle the tart with sesame seeds.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until the crust is well browned. Check the underside of the tart - if it's not browned well, bake the tart for another 10 minutes or so. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yeasted Tart Dough
Makes enough for one large tart
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup room temperature water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 13.5 - 18 ounces (3-4 cups) flour
  • 3 ounces butter, at room temperature OR 1/3 cup olive oil (I like the butter version best)
Stir together the yeast, sugar and water. When the yeast is dissolved in to the water, stir in the salt, egg and half the flour. Stir well to form a stiff paste (use a mixer with paddle attachment if you wish). Stir in the butter (the dough will soften back up). Keep adding more flour until the dough is dough-like.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead, adding more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Knead until the dough is tender, shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes of contemplative kneading. It shouldn't be sticky. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap

Let dough rise for about 1 hour, until doubled. Form tart as above, or if you aren't ready to make the tart, press the dough down to deflate it, recover and put the dough in the fridge until you're ready to make the tart.

You can freeze the dough for a week or so: put the dough into a ziploc bag, press out the air and freeze. Let thaw in a cool place for 6-8 hours.

This Summer, I am chronicling my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) experience. My CSA share is from Arrowhead Farm, a farm based in Newburyport, MA. Each week, I am posting about what was in my share and what I'm doing with it. By way of full disclosure, I won my share through a raffle and am not paying for it. However, Arrowhead did not know I was entered in the raffle, and I received no special consideration because of this blog. I paid for my livestock share. A full set of all the photos I've taken of this share is here.


MrsWheelbarrow said...

ohmygoodness that is just beautiful. i simply must make this.

Sunday Cook said...

It's right up your alley my dear. Really nice at room temp so it's perfect for picnics. Plus, with all the butter in the dough it's a dream to work with.

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