Pizza is often used as the default versatile crust for whatever you want to put on top of it. And why not? It’s a crowd-pleasing, delicious favorite and takes to a wide variety of cheese, meat and vegetables.
But let’s not forget about the savory tart. It can serve the same purpose as a pizza, but with a slightly dressier, almost always buttery crust.
Like pizza, tarts give you the opportunity to choose between convenience and a 100-percent homemade sense of accomplishment. Store-bought pie crusts or puff pastry work very well, although pie crusts are not necessarily going to be as rich or flavorful as one you’d make yourself. Regardless of which route you go, it’s important to take care with your crust. Try to keep ingredients for butter-based crusts cool for the best texture. Chilling the crust before baking will also help it retain its shape during baking and make it flaky. With puff pastry, work quickly and cover any pieces you’re not working with to prevent them from drying out and cracking.
Savory tarts are especially ideal for weekends, when you have more time to put them together and when you’re in search of an impressive brunch dish. Here are some recipes from our archives to consider:
Spring Onion and Ham Tart, above. Our team could not stop eating this tart, which you can also call a quiche if you’re so inclined. Using a store-bought pie shell makes this a cinch, or if you’re thinking ahead, you can make your own and stash it in the freezer until you’re ready to make the tart. Because it can be refrigerated or frozen after it’s baked, this centerpiece is perfect for company.
Cheese and Onion Tart. A mere five ingredients go into this stunning vegetarian number from Food editor Joe Yonan, based on a recipe by Rukmini Iyer. It works as either an appetizer or a main course, and if you prefer the tart to be vegan, you can use a butter-free puff pastry and vegan cheese.
Simple and Savory Sweet Potato Tart. Who doesn’t love a little starch on starch action? Here, sweet and crispy-edged sweet potatoes play against salty, pungent blue cheese. If you want an additional foil for the potatoes, throw on some lightly dressed arugula.
Caramelized Garlic and Butternut Squash Tart With Almond Crust. It’s more of a project, but no one’s going to argue with the effort you put in once they see this showstopping, gluten-free masterpiece. Or feel free to crib the crust and pack it with your filling of choice.
Onion Mushroom Tarte Tatin. Onions for the win again. And this dish is just another reason to love store-bought puff pastry dough. Tarte Tatin looks and sounds fancy, but the concept is fairly simple. You bake the dish upside down, with the pastry on top, and then flip it to take it out. But don’t let the inversion deter you. If anything sticks or gets jumbled, just put the pieces back in place and enjoy.
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