Fennel is in season here in Austin, and I’ve been eating a lot of it. I had a few bulbs in the fridge over the weekend, and the baking whim struck. So I made a tart.
First, I made the filling. I sliced and sauteed the fennel bulbs, and added some frozen artichokes, flavoring the mixture with white wine and lemon zest. A little bit of fresh goat cheese gave the tart a creamy and tangy flavor. When combined, the crisp dough and chunky fennel were a little crumbly, but the result was delicious. The fennel was mellowed by the sauteing and sweetened with the artichoke, and the whole thing was perked up with the lemon zest and wine.
I used David Lebovitz’s French Tart Dough as the base. It’s kind of a wacky dough. To make it, you basically mix up all the ingredients except the flour, then bake them until the butter starts to brown. They you quickly mix in the flour and press the dough into a pan before baking. The result is a crisp, flaky crust with a delicious brown-butter flavor.
After the dough had cooled enough to touch, I pressed it into the tart pan with my hands, then pushed the dough onto the sides of the pan and pricked the bottom with a fork.
I baked the dough, and it came out pretty cracked. But not to worry! David Lebovitz advised reserving a little bit of uncooked dough to patch any cracks that form during baking, and patch I did.
The dough was still quite warm, so the cracks filled really easily. I think the heat of the cooked dough and the pan even cooked the raw dough, because there wasn’t any raw taste at all. It patched beautifully, and none of my filling leaked out.
Fennel Artichoke Tart
1 recipe tart dough
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
2 bulbs fennel, sliced into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup artichoke quarters, roughly chopped (I used frozen)
2 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Zest of half a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
1/3 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and saute until just beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the artichokes, and continue sauteing until cooked through, another few minutes. Add the wine and stir. Stir in the butter, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Set aside and cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the goat cheese in the bottom of the cooked tart shell. Pour in the filling and top with the Parmesan. Bake until heated through and the Parmesan begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving.