That title is kind of a mouthful, but it’s true. I could eat this simple spinach tart everyday for the rest of my life and be happy with my lot. It’s darn tasty, and has all of the food groups represented. What’s not to love?
The tart is a take on a traditional French bistro-style tart that is served cold, often as a appetizer, or paired with a tossed salad to make it a meal. The flaky base is in perfect harmony with the savory, slightly salty filling. I make this tart year ’round because it is a great, quick breakfast or snack. In the summer, I use freshly wilted spinach or swiss chard that I grow in pots on my porch.
For some reason, the deer haven’t discovered my stash of greens growing so close to the house. Now that I’ve publicly spilled my secret, they will no doubt find a new love of salad, and munch my rainbow shard down to nubs. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
The point of my deer ramblings? I used frozen spinach because fresh spinach doesn’t like to grow on my front porch in the winter. Something about the freezing temperatures keeps it from thriving. However, if you live in a more tropical climate, go ahead and wilt 2 pounds (yes, pounds) of fresh spinach or chard in place of the frozen stuff.
Spinach tart is really quite simple. You’ll need: a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, one-half recipe of No Excuses Pie Dough, (or your favorite,) frozen spinach, lemon zest, kosher salt & black pepper, a few eggs, and freshly grated Asiago cheese.
Line the tart pan with well greased parchment paper. Roll out the pie dough, transfer it to the tart pan, and trim the edges. For more detailed instructions of this process, click here. Pop the tart into the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
Heh, heh! Pop the tart. Pop Tart. I crack myself up.
Zest the lemon, and set it aside.
Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl. Not only is it easier for me to do this one handed so that I can photograph the process, but cracking an egg with one hand is very impressive to the elementary-aged boys that are usually helping me in the kitchen.
Season the eggs with a pinch of kosher salt and a little black pepper, to taste. I say a to taste, because I like to adjust the salt & pepper based on how particularly salty the batch of cheese I am using is…let your taste buds be your guide! As a general rule, I always start with 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Dump in the shredded Asiago cheese. Please grate your own. Thank you. Parmigiana Reggiano or Fontina cheeses are also lovely in this tart.
Add the very well drained and squeezed spinach with the zest. Stir the filling mixture until everything is well distributed.
Spoon the filling into the pastry lined tart pan, smoothing the top as you go.
Notice how thin the filling layer is…it has just enough egg to hold it all together. That’s the way it is supposed to be. This tart is very unlike a thick & fluffy quiche. And it is divine.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is set, and golden brown. Allow the tart to cool completely in the tart pan set on a wire rack.
Once cool, remove the tart from the pan, and coax it onto a serving plate with a large spatula or cake lifter.
Serve the Spinach Tart at room temperature, either alone, with a few rashers of thick-cut pepper bacon, or a large salad.
Leftover spinach tart can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
Confession: I’ve often come in from a run and eaten a slice of Spinach Tart straight from the ‘fridge, and washed it down with Gatorade. I’m classy like that.
Savory Spinach Tart (Tarte Aux Epinards)
1/2 Recipe No Excuses Pie Dough (see recipe below,) or enough pastry to line a 10” tart pan
3 large eggs
1C. freshly grated Asiago (or parmesan, or fontina) cheese
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed & well drained
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
Pinch(es) of kosher salt, to taste
Pinch(es) of freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Special equipment: a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
Prepare pie dough as directed (see below.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- To prep the tart pan: Remove the bottom of the tart pan, and trace the shape onto a piece of parchment paper with a pencil. Cut out the parchment circle. Reassemble the tart pan. Spray the bottom of the pan, and line it with the parchment circle. Spray the parchment.
- Roll out 1 disk of No Excuses Pie Dough, and line the prepared 10-inch tart pan. Trim any overhang of dough. Dock the pastry by pricking the bottom repeatedly. Place the pastry lined tart pan in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
- For the Filling:
- Drain the thawed spinach in a colander, and then use clean hands to squeeze out any excess water.
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk the cheese into the eggs.
- Stir in the spinach, and the lemon zest into the egg mixture until combined. Season with kosher salt and pepper, to taste. (I usually start with ¼ to ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper.)
- Spoon the filling into the tart pastry, leveling the top with the spoon.
- Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until filling is firm.
- Cool the tart in the pan set on a wire rack.
- Serve at room temperature.
- Store leftover tart tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.
Notes:This recipe is for a French style spinach tart: the filling is thin and compact, not thick and fluffy like a quiche, and should be served at room temperature. The tart can be eaten alone, with a side of bacon for breakfast, as a snack, or as a side dish with roasted or grilled meats.
No Excuses Pie Dough
Enough for a generous 9-inch Double Crust Pie, a 10-inch double crust pie or two 10-inch tarts
1 ½ C. all-purpose flour
¾ C. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
4 Tbs. iced water
Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and freeze for at least one hour.
- Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times (1 second pulses) to mix.
- Add the frozen butter cubes to the food processor bowl, and toss with a fork to coat. Continue pulsing to work the butter into the flour mixture, until the butter is the size of small peas. (‘About 8-12 pulses, depending on the size of the motor on the food processor.)
- While the food processor is running on high, slowly add the iced water through the feed tube, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together, and a stiff dough forms. (This process usually takes 15-20 seconds total in my ‘80’s era food processor.)
- Dump dough onto a clean, floured surface. Divide dough in half. Lightly shape each half into a ball, and then pat the ball into a ½ inch tall disk. Wrap the disks snugly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
- Once dough has chilled, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and use in your favorite pie recipe. OR keep the dough disks tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, and then place them in a freezer bag. Dough can be frozen for up to a month. Just let dough thaw overnight on the refrigerator before rolling out.