Tart Reform


Pies get a lot of love around the holidays, and rightly so. But as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to a quick and easy dish that’s heavy on the “wow” factor, a good tart can’t be beat. Plus, because it doesn’t have a pasty topping like pie, you can eat twice as much. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)

The Ember Day tart is based on a medieval recipe for a fast-day meatless tart of cheese, onions and parsley. It’s quite rich—and I promise you won’t feel as if you’re fasting after you’ve had a slice! Don’t skimp on the saffron; that’s what makes this dish truly special.

For the leek and potato tart, I took inspiration from the British dish of creamed leeks and added a touch of tarragon. Potatoes and leeks are a classic combination, and they work beautifully here on the crunchy, buttery puff pastry crust.

The Afghan-style pumpkin tartlet with yogurt dressing is my homage to the kaddo borwani at The Helmand. The sweet pumpkin and the tangy, garlicky yogurt play well together—and it’s a fun pumpkin presentation that you don’t normally see at the typical Western holiday table.

Finally, the sweet and spicy pear torte isn’t technically a tart at all, as it’s more cake-y and made with nut flour, but why split hairs? After all, a pear tart by any other name would taste as sweet.

Ember Day Tart

Sweet & Spicy Pear Torte

Creamed Leek & Fingerling Potato Tart

Afghan-style Garlicky Pumpkin Tartlets

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