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leftover mayhem

Throughout this holiday weekend, every time I walked by my fridge, I’d wince, thinking about the leftovers that were begging to be put to use. Sure, I could easily do a turkey soup, which turned out really good and warmed my little bones up during these past couple of cold days. But the ham was calling out to me. “Eat me before I go bad!” it shouted. I’m a fickler when it comes to leftovers, meaning I only eat them once in while. Holiday leftovers tend to go untouched since I prefer to stomach those dishes only once a year. You really can’t eat turkey more than once a year, especially when the turkey dish is over-the-top.

Well, my food-wasting guilt got the better of me and I decided upon this rich and filling ham and egg tart. It comes from Nick Malgieri’s new book The Modern Baker which I’m sad to say I got about 2 months ago and have yet to crack it open. Talk about buyers remorse! It seemed like a good purchase as I was a fan of Malgieri’s previous baking book, Perfect Cakes. But this one falls flat. While I loved Abigail Dodge Johnson’s Weekend Baker, this take on modern baking doesn’t reasonate as well with me. It feels like the recipes were thrown together haphhazardly, and not quality tested. Lisa noted her troubled results here and after looking at some of the Amazon reviews, it seems her sentiments are universally felt. I need a little more face time with this book in order to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down but let’s just say I wish I would’ve gotten a different book with this money.

Anyways, back to the tart. I used Malgieri’s No-Roll Flaky Dough for the crust and this is where the disappointment starts. Rich and buttery, you’d think it would be a homerun! But after it is baked with the egg filling, it just gets soggy and  crumbles away. Where is that promised flakiness?! I was a little mad about that because the crust should be firm yet flaky with this kind of tart. But at least it only took me 5 minutes to assemble the crust. If it had taken longer, I’d be even more disappointed. So if you have a go-to flaky dough you love, use it here. I will still post this recipe but consider my warning: it ain’t the stuff dreams are made off.

What I liked the best about this tart is that the ham dominates the dish. I went without ham for 1 year and am now making up for lost time. You should really use only the best kind of ham here because it’s flavor shines through.  Instead of using heavy whipping cream, I used whole milk and actually prefer it that way. After a rich Thanksgiving, I need a little wiggle room and the tart is rich without the heavy cream.

For a little added kick, I threw in 3 ounces of organic feta cheese. I’m not a cheese gal, but if I could live off one cheese for the rest of my life, it would be feta. Maybe I should find me a Greek man who understands my love for feta as well. We’d live off fish, feta, and olives, and have pretty little greek/asian babies… Sorry, I digress. I bet this tart would be good with smoked Gouda or Gruyere too. Have a little cheese fun.

 

One tip: taste the filling AS YOU SEASON IT! My tart turned out a little too salty, which is ok for me since I crave sodium like crack, but my mom thought it was too much. If you are going to use feta cheese, or another salty cheese, remember the salt factor. Same thing goes for the ham. Salty ham + salty cheese= salty tart. 

 The tart itself was just what I was craving for. Soft pillows of egg and nibbles of ham with a scattering of cheese… Fresh out of the oven, it made for a perfect breakfast and will work as an office lunch multiple times this week. While this tart is good right out of the oven, I particularily love it the next day after the flavors and filling have set up.

Ham and Egg Tart
Origin: The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri
Yield: makes one 10 or 11-inch tart, about 8 generous servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
● 6 ounces best quality thinly sliced boiled ham, cut into 1/4-inch shred
● 2/3 cup milk
● 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
● salt
● pepper
● freshly grated nutmeg
● 4 large eggs
● 1 10 or 11-inch tart crust, unbaked, made from No-Roll Flaky Dough (recipe below)

Directions:
Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat oven to 375℉.
Put the ham in a bowl and toss through it with your fingertips to separate the shreds. Arrange them over the prepared crust.
Whisk together the mlk, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Taste for seasoning- the filling should be slightly overseasoned before the eggs are added. Whisk in the eggs 2 at a time, then pour into the crust.
Bake the tart until the crust is baked through, well colored on the bottom, and the filling is set and puffed about 30 minutes. Cool the tart for a few minutes on a rack before unmolding.
Loosely cover the cooled tart with plastic wrap if you are going to serve it at room temperature. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and reheat them briefly before serving.

No Roll Flaky Dough
Origin: The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri
Yield: makes dough for the crust of a 10 or 11-inch tart
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
● 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1 tsp salt
● 1 tsp baking powder
● 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
● 2 tbsp cold water

Directions:
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the butter and pulse until the ingredients are coming together but some small pieces of butter remain visible, 8 to 10 pulses.
Add the water and pulse a couple of times. At this point the dough will look like separate clumps of dough, somewhat like a crumb topping.
Invert the processor bowl over a tart pan to turn out the dough. Carefully remove the blade and transfer any dough to the pan.
Use a fork to distribute the dough in the pan. Make an even layer of teh crumbly mixture, then go back and push some away from teh center outward 1/2 inch around the inside of the pan about twice as tall to cover the side of the pan.
Using the floured fingertips, being to press gently on the crumbly mixture so it adheres together as a coherent dough. Use your thumbs, held perpendicular to the pan, to press the dough against the side of the pan. Make sure the dough on the side of the pan is even in thickness- if it is thinner at the top where the heat is strongest, the edges will burn while it’s baking.
Finally, using your thumb inside the pan and your forefinger on the rim, press in and down at the same time to make the top edge of the crust straight and even.

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November 30, 2008 - 5:29 pm

Fuji Mama - It’s too bad it was such a dissapointment, because it looks SO yummy!

December 1, 2008 - 11:26 am

Maria - I am in love with The Modern Baker, but I haven’t tried this one!

December 6, 2008 - 7:09 pm

Shannalee - Man, I’m glad to have read this post. I was wanting to ask for Modern Baker for Christmas… now maybe I’ll go with Weekend Baker instead!

May 28, 2009 - 3:00 pm

mental health day « Slow Like Honey - [...] after it let me down with a cookie recipe that will never grace this blog’s pages, but my Ham & Egg Tart turned out tasty so I decided to give the book another try. Thank god I did because you [...]

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