Gérard’s Mustard Tart {FFwD}

One of the reasons I established the Modern Baker Challenge was that I wanted to develop my skills as a pastry chef. You see, although I’ve been cooking and baking for most of my life, I’ve never quite mastered the art of pastry dough. In fact, I usually buy frozen pie crusts whenever I am baking a pie, quiche, or tart. Wanting to overcome my fear of pastry dough, I decided to bake my way through Nick Malgieri‘s The Modern Baker, which is filled with pies, tarts, and the like.

So, although I took on the challenge of cooking my way through Around My French Table mainly to develop skills in French cooking, I was appreciative of the fact that it would also force me to make tart dough for a number of recipes, including Gérard’s Mustard Tart.

This week’s recipe is really two recipes: the mustard tart, on page 154, and tart dough, on page 498. The tart dough takes a bit of time to make, as the initial dough has to chill for at least three hours, and once it’s panned, it has to chill another hour before it is blind baked. I made the dough a few days before baking the tart and rolled it out (with decent, if not perfect, results) just before making the mustard tart.

As I read the instructions, I realized my tart pan was 11 inches, instead of the 9-inch pan called for in the recipe. I tried to roll the dough out enough to fit my pan and came pretty close.

While the crust was pre-baking, I began chopping carrots and leeks for the tart. The vegetables were cut into matchsticks and steamed with a sprig of rosemary. I don’t have a vegetable steamer, but I have found that my colander set into the top of a stock pot works well. I wrap foil around the top of the colander to cover the holes that don’t fit down into the pot. This method has always worked well for me; so well that I’ve never felt the need to buy a steamer.

The vegetables smelled intoxicating. The rosemary became very fragrant as soon as the colander hit the steamer, and I could smell the sweet scent of the leeks within a minute or so.

While the vegetables were steaming, I mixed up the custard, which consisted of eggs, heavy cream, Dijon mustard, Maille moutarde à l’ancienne (hooray for World Market!), salt, and pepper. After tasting the custard to adjust the salt, pepper, and mustards, I poured the custard into the cooled tart shell, then topped it with the vegetables.

A little sprinkle of salt and pepper on the top, and it was ready to bake. I baked the tart at 425°F for about 30 minutes, until the custard was set and the crust and vegetables nicely browned. I allowed the tart to cool for a few minutes, then removed it from the pan.

I was pleased with the way the tart looked when it came out of the pan. It held together well, and compared favorably to the picture in the book. But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So, how did it taste? As I Tweeted immediately after taking my first bite, “I think I died and went to Paris!” The bite of the mustard paired perfectly with the sweetness of the steamed carrots and leeks.

This is an excellent recipe that I will definitely add to my repertoire. It would make an impressive appetizer, but would stand up equally well as a main dish. Either way, I would bring it to the table whole, as it is just beautiful, and cut it with a chef’s knife before serving.

See what the other Dorians are up to here.

Bon appetit!

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16 Comments

  1. Sara said,

    November 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    It looks perfect. No, I am not joining any more challenges (I have had 3 breads left on the BBA Challenge for MONTHS now) but I may have to try this recipe.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Hey, if you’re that close to finishing the BBA Challenge, you should be looking for your next adventure!

  2. Kayte said,

    October 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Looks absolutely perfectly wonderful.

  3. mike said,

    October 9, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Well THAT’S just a replica of the book photo! Marvelous! I love your prep photos – isn’t the dough just terrific? It’s truly a beautiful tart – you should be proud!

    • gaaarp said,

      October 9, 2010 at 11:12 am

      Thanks, Mike! I was really happy with the results. There’s still room for improvement in the dough-making department for me, but this dough made me feel like I could become a true pastry chef.

  4. October 9, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Looks great, well done stepping out of yor comfort zone too!

    – K

    • gaaarp said,

      October 9, 2010 at 11:13 am

      Thanks. I do like to challenge myself in the cooking/baking departments. I’ve done so much artisan bread lately that I decided to move in a few other directions — French food, pastries, etc.

  5. Anne Marie said,

    October 9, 2010 at 6:41 am

    I’m signed up for Modern Baker because I am not a big cake fan, temperamental little things.

    I have a vegetarian cookbook, Fields of Green, that has some of the most delicious tarts in it.

    So, does your mustard say Made in Canada??

    • gaaarp said,

      October 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

      Mais, non. My moutarde a l’ancienne is from France, bien sur!

      I’m pretty good with cakes; it’s pies and tarts that have always been a challenge for me. They’re the reason I decided to do the Modern Baker Challenge.

      • Anne Marie said,

        October 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

        Still cracks me up that my french mustard, complete with french flag, was made in Canada.

  6. Becky O. said,

    October 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    It does look just like the picture! So nice. I made the tomato version and really enjoyed it. Such a wonderful mustard flavor.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm

      I should have used tomatoes while they are still in season. But the carrots and leeks were sooooo good!

  7. Marthe said,

    October 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    This looks gorgeous!!! I cheated and used storebought tart dough… And accidentally overbaked my tart 😦 Now it just needs to cool down enough for me to have a nibble 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      October 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

      I’m sure it still tasted great! This was such a good recipe. If you look at Dorie’s blog post, the tart that Gerard made is really dark.

  8. Renee said,

    October 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Looks just like the picture! Thanks for the tip on the mustard. I looked at two markets and had to give up.

  9. Tia said,

    October 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    it looks delicious, great job! Tia @ Buttercreambarbie


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