Here's a tart that's guaranteed to frustrate you. If you stay with it though, you'll be rewarded with a tart that's a visual stunner and tastes wonderful too. But don't say I didn't warn you when your pastry collapses, when you don't have enough strips of veggies, or you run out of ham because you're eating it instead of tucking it into the tart shell. Can you hear the swear words across the screen? Yea, just sayin'…..
The first glitch came with the puff pastry called for in the recipe. It said to line a springform pan and prebake it for 10 minutes. Well, good luck with that, as the buttery dough decides to slide down the sides of the pan.
Oh, I know what I'll do. I'll use a tart pan instead, and drape the dough over the sides, then trim the edges flush with the border.
Nah, the puff pastry did its thing and "puffed" up almost to the top of the pan. And yes, I pricked the hell out of it before it went into the oven -- to no avail.
But I wasn't going to let some bully of a puff pastry keep me from making this tart, darn it. So I moved to plan three and scratched the puff pastry idea, making a traditional tart pastry instead - and it worked. Take that, you ornery puff pastry!
OK, so the next cast of characters are these veggies - green and yellow zucchini, orange, yellow and red rainbow carrots.
You could try using a vegetable peeler to make the strips, but I used a mandoline instead.
I didn't want any accidents, so I stopped cutting when the pieces got too close to the blade. Don't waste them though. They're perfectly fine for cooking as a side dish some other time.
You'll need some ham for this too. I used a "French" ham that I find at my supermarket. It's a very delicate flavor and the closest thing to prosciutto cotto I can find in the states. It's also very delicious, which is why I couldn't stop eating it out of hand, and ran out of it before I got to the end of the rolling.
OK, so what you do first is parboil the veggie strips for a couple of minutes, let them cool, then start rolling, beginning with a strip of one of the veggies. Alternate with the ham and continue rolling.
The parboiled strips of veggies will stick to each other, and so will the ham. This part is not hard, but time-consuming. And I didn't cut enough of the veggie strips and had to go back to the mandoline and cut more - and parboil more.
The recipe called for a 6 inch diameter pan, but I thought that was too small to serve a group of people, so I used an 8-inch pan instead. It seemed as though I'd never get the spiral large enough, but I did - finally!
The next hurdle was transferring the spiral to the (pre-baked) tart shell. I used my hands and a large spatula, and while it was a little tricky, with some of the spiral getting dislodged, in the end I managed to put everything back in place and no one was the wiser.
This part is easy - pour the filling over the top and spread in between the cracks. If you roll your spiral a little looser than mine, you'll have more space for the filling. (But warning - it will undoubtedly be harder to transfer the spiral to the tart shell.) Now, you're practically home free - just bake in the oven.
And slice open to reveal a jewel of a tart that tastes wonderful, but that I will likely never make again. But maybe you'd like to give it a go. Maybe even using puff pastry (maybe you're a masochist?)
If you do, please write me and let me know how it worked out. If you're still speaking to me.
(the site begins in French but near the bottom the recipe is also in English. My changes are marked in red, below)
printable recipe here
1 package of ham (use Italian ham) (I used about 1/2 cup)
1 zucchini (I used two)
1 yellow zucchini
1 carrot (I used at least six, of varying colors)
60g full cream = ¼ c full(heavy) cream
30g grated cheese = ½ c grated cheese
1 roll puff pastry (I used a traditional tart pastry shell - my recipe for that is below)
salt and pepper
Start by cutting all the vegetables into strips with a vegetable peeler.
Heat a large pot of salted water and prepare a large bowl of cold water.
Put the vegetables in boiling water, let ten seconds and then retract it with a slotted spoon and put them in cold water to stop cooking, drain well and dry with paper towels.
Cut the ham slices in half lengthwise.
Start assembling spread four slices of zucchini in length. The slices should overlap slightly in length.
You'll get a long strip of zucchini.
Cover it with the yellow zucchini in the same way and with the carrot.
Repeat, green zucchini, yellow zucchini, carrot and ham this time.
Repeat two layers in the same manner.
In the end we arrive at six layers (I had many, many more "layers.")
Cut a little too much if it exceeds the width.
Roll the vegetables and ham, with four hands is easier to obtain a large roll. Drop the roller to lay flat, then you should get the same as the first picture.
Cut the puff pastry to the size of your pan and let the precooked for 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F (HA! good luck with that).
Mix the egg, cream and cheese and pour over the pastry. Place the vegetables and ham roll and press a little. It should look like the second picture.
Bake for thirty minutes at 180°C/350°F.
Ciao Chow Linda's Pastry Shell (to use if you're skipping the puff pastry)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ice cold water, or more as needed
For the pastry, put everything except the cold water into a food processor. Pulse until it is the consistency of damp sand. Add the cold water and pulse a few more times, until the dough sticks together. Roll into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it rest in refrigerator a little (if you have time and patience, even a half-hour rest helps), then roll it out on a floured board and fit into a tart pan. Prick the bottom and sides of the pan with a fork. Refrigerate the tart pan for an hour, then bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.