Sunday, February 1, 2015

Jerusalem Artichoke Tart with Truffle Cream

It looks like the season for Jerusalem artichokes, which are among my favorite winter vegetables, has started. I saw them in several places, so last week I got a pound of them for the first time this year.

I had a vague idea of but not a concrete recipe for what I would do with them. I wanted to make a tart, something that always works and that I like very much. I imagined that a tart similar to a sweet apple tart, French style but with Jerusalem artichokes could taste great.

I made a pie crust but this time I rolled it out very thin, to the size of a large pizza dish. First, I baked it until set, then I placed a layer of paper-thin artichoke slices. Those familiar with Jerusalem artichokes know that they have a nice earthy and slightly sweet taste. So to contrast their sweetness I added a tbsp of truffle purée to the cream.

These days, truffle purée, or a more affordable truffle-porcini purée, is available in cans or jars in many stores. For example, in our area, Balducci carries it. And although some consider truffles the most overrated gourmet food, I often use truffle aroma to make a bland dish more interesting.

At the end, I covered the tart with grated cheese. I used Gruyère as it has a stronger flavor than most other cheeses and also melts nicely. I think the whole concept worked. The tart came out very well: very thin and slightly crispy from thanks to the artichokes and very aromatic thanks to the truffles.

Jerusalem Artichoke Tart with Truffle Cream
(Serves six)

For the crust
2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour,
10 tbsp cold unsalted butter,
1/3 cup vegetable shortening,
3 tbsp sour cream,
3 tbsp ice water,
1 tsp salt.

For the topping
1 lb Jerusalem artichokes peeled,
1 cup table cream,
2 eggs,
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese,
1 tbsp truffle purée,
salt and pepper.

1. The dough can be made in a food processor or by hand. Place flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter (cut into pieces) and shortening and blend with flour until coarse crumbles form.
2. Stir together water and sour cream and add to the flour and make quickly a dough.
3. Place a dough on a working surface dusted with flour and roll into a large rectangle. Fold the rectangle three ways, like a letter page.

4. Roll again the dough into a rectangle and fold again. Repeat it one more time, then wrap it in plastic foil and chill the dough for at least one hour or even over night.
5. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out the dough to the size of a large pizza tin, (about 15 inches). Transfer the dough to the tin, pierce with fork and bake for about 20 minutes, until firm but not gold.
6. To make a top slice peeled artichokes on a mandolin slicer and spread them on the pre-baked crust.

7. Mix cream, eggs, truffle purée, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour gently and evenly over the artichokes. Cover with grated cheese.

8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is set and cheese becomes gold. Serve warm with green salad of your choice.

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