Doesn’t Christmas happen really fast? I feel like I’m slowly getting ready for it all through November, and then after Thanksgiving I keep telling myself that I have a bunch of time before Christmas, but that’s never true. I ended up–like always–scrambling in the last couple of weeks to get gifts for everyone, and most of my homemade gift ideas went totally down the tubes. The things that I did manage to make are done hastily and I certainly did not to take pictures of it while I did it. You’ll have to believe me that I made a lovely marmalade, Irish cream, and vanilla. Just take my word for it, will you? I did have a chance to make brunch on Christmas day, and the tart that I made was so good, I remade a few mini-tarts today with the sole purpose of taking pictures…and then eating them for dinner. But, before we talk tart crust and custard, here’s a peek at my Christmas.
We went out oystering and made friends with a pelican.
Palaki the dog is terrified of me, but only if he’s inside. When we’re outside, he can deal.
My Dad and Uncle Dickie
After about an hour, we had a bushel and a peck of oysters.
These are their excited faces–just before opening presents!
I think my dad has a future in glove modeling, don’t you?
More gift modeling
Coffee and beer at breakfast.
My Mom and I make sugar cookies every year, and it’s always a little messy.
We made stars and trees.
Speaking of my Mom, here she is with Mona.
We had Prosecco cocktails on Christmas morning…
...And Emily wore everything she opened.
Santa brought lots of books and an ice cream maker!
Mona got a bone and a blanket. She also helped everyone else open their gifts.
Okay, okay, back to this tart. I made it on Christmas morning, so I promise it’s deceptively easy. It’s just a simple butter crust, and you don’t have to roll it out, it’s just a press-in situation. You can even make the crusts ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator or freeze them.
Here’s the recipe for the crust: (makes 4 mini tarts, 1 nine-inch round tart, or 1 14 inch rectangular tart)
1 cup all purpose flour
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
pinch of salt
4-5 Tablespoons of ice cold water
Whisk the flour and salt together, then cut the butter into the flour mixture using either a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers. It should look like course meal when you’re done; none of the pieces should be larger than a pea.
Pour the water into the mixture and using a fork, gently incorporate the liquid. When you can pick up a handful of dough and it holds together when squeezed, it’s done. If it doesn’t hold together, add more water. Do not overmix.
Dump the course dough into the pan and gently press it into the bottom and against the sides. Smooth the edges with your finger.
If you’re planning to keep the tarts for a while, place them in the refrigerator or freezer, well wrapped, at this point. If you’re going to make them now, You should still chill them for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.
For the filling: (recipe adapted from http://www.cannellevanille.com)
1 medium leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chopped Swiss chard, (remove tough ribs but use the tender ones)
2 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
1 medium Bartlett or Bosc pear, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a pan over medium-high heat, sautee the garlic and leeks in olive oil until fragrant. Then add the swiss chard, wine, a pinch of salt and pepper, cover and let the greens wilt. It should take about 8 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the milk, eggs, coconut milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, half of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.
Take the tart shells out of the refrigerator, poke holes in the bottom, and bake just the shell for about 10 minutes. Press any bubbles down when you take them out of the oven.
In the par-baked shells, make a layer on the bottom with the sauteed greens, then arrange the sliced pears on top of the greens, then pour the milk mixture over everything, stopping when the shells are nearly full. Top with the remaining Gruyère.