The sunny colors and starburst pattern make it hard to believe this is the winter version of this tart. It’s from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. She discovered this tart at her friends’ bed-and-breakfast outside Dijon which is fitting because the tart is flavored with that region’s mustard. There’s Dijon as well as grainy mustard, or moutard a l’ancienne, in the custard, and they bring a brightness that’s unexpected but lovely. The original version of the tart was topped with either slices of big tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes. I’ll have to wait a few months to try it that way, but I can imagine how good that will be too. When tomatoes aren’t in season, the tart can be topped as it is here with julienned pieces of carrots and leeks. I served this for Sunday brunch, but it would also be great for lunch or dinner with a little salad on the side.
The recipe in the book is written for a nine to nine and a half inch tart, but my round tart pan is eleven inches. I need more tart pans. To work with what I have, I did some quick math to scale up the ingredient quantities. To fit an eleven inch pan instead of a nine inch pan, all quantities need to be multiplied by one and a half. First, the tart shell was blind-baked and cooled. Meanwhile, the carrots and leeks were prepped. They were cut into skinny sticks and then steamed for a few minutes. Depending on how skinny you cut your vegetables, you’ll need to adjust the steaming time. Mine were pretty slim and became tender in the steamer in no time. A rosemary sprig was added while they steamed. Then, the vegetables were drained and patted dry. The custard was made with eggs, cream, Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, and salt and pepper. Dorie cautions you to taste before adding much salt since the mustards bring salt as well. And, you should taste for the mustard to be sure the flavor is strong enough and add more as needed. The custard was poured into the tart shell, and the carrots and leeks were arranged on top. A fresh sprig of rosemary was set on top before the tart went into the oven for about 30 minutes.
The custard takes some of the edge off the sharpness of the mustards, but their savoriness is unmistakable. It really worked to wake up the other flavors. And, those thin pieces of carrot and leek were tender enough after steaming to easily cut through them with a fork for each bite. It was perfect in its simplicity, and I’m glad there are two versions so I can make this year-round.