Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crazy Carrot Lady

This is the situation I've got going on at home right now:

Way too many carrots.  We get about 10 carrots in each CSA delivery and I can't keep up with them.  Packing them raw in my lunch just doesn't cut it anymore-- I need something more filling.  In comes the Rustic Carrot Tart.  I know, the idea of making a tart filled with carrots seems a little crazy and unappetizing, but it was definitely worth it (and cheese always helps!) 

Rustic Carrot Tart

For the Crust:
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat white flour)
  • 1/2 tsp of organic sugar
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/3 c very warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream (full or non-fat; I used full fat)
For the Filling:
  • 6 or 7 medium carrots, sliced (I ended up using 2 longer carrots and 3 short fat carrots)
  • 1 c orange juice (no pulp)
  • 2 c water (or enough to cover carrots)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of majoram
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesean
First add yeast to 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
If you haven't ever worked with yeast before, the mixture will look like this:

I apologize for the dark picture.  Still using that iPhone as a camera.  

While the yeast sits, combine the flours, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.  I also took this time to cut up the carrots. 

After 10 minutes, the yeast mixture will be frothy:

See the frothiness on top?  This isn't the best example... but take my word for it!

Lightly beat one egg in another small bowl.  Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture and add egg, yeast mix, and sour cream to the center. 

Gently stir the dough mixture until a ball forms.  It will be slightly sticky.

Wash out your mixing bowl, dry, and sprinkle the bottom with a bit of flour.  Put dough ball back into bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place in a warm spot for 45 minutes so that dough may rise.  The best place I have found to keep the dough warm is in an oven that is turned off but with the oven light on for warmth.  Just be careful not to turn your oven on during this time. 

While the dough rises, prepare the filling.  Add carrots, ginger, bay leaves, orange juice, and water to a sauce pan on medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover to simmer for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove bay leaves.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to food processor and puree.  You do not want this mixture to be watery, so try processing the carrots in three batches.  I also did not make a full puree-- just a very finely grated carrot mixture. 

Add carrots to mixing bowl with egg, ricotta, parmesan, cinnamon, nutmeg, and majoram.  Mix together.

When dough is finished rising, transfer to a sheet of parchment paper sprinkled with flour and roll out into about a 10 inch circle.  At this time, you can turn on the oven to preheat at 400 degrees F.

Place filling in center of dough and spread out leaving a 2 inch border of dough. 

Fold edges of dough over the mixture, leaving about a 6 inch window of filling peeking through. 

Transfer tart with parchment paper onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, cover tart with foil to prevent over-cooking of the dough.  Turn heat down to 300 and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Serve with your choice of a steamed, green vegetable on the side.  I didn't do this.  I mean really, how much time do you think a med student actually has?  But the nutritionist in me says eat a balanced meal.    

The crust of this tart is more like pizza crust than a pastry crust since I consider it dinner rather than dessert.  Covering the tart after 30 minutes is a very important step or else the crust will be a little tough to eat. 

Something I want to start adding at the end of every post with a recipe is a list of where my ingredients came from as a way to keep myself in check about being a local buyer and to let readers know where they might find ingredients that are close to the source.  My priorities when buying food are the following:

1) Buy local.
2) If not local, buy organic.
3) If not local or organic, buy the least processed version of the ingredient with the least amount of additives. 

Here's where the ingredients for the Rustic Carrot Tart came from:
     Carrots- Wolf Pine Farm, Alfred, ME
     Eggs- Sparrow Farm, Pittston, ME
     Flours, sugar, nutmeg, orange juice- Trader Joe's, Portland, ME
     Parmesan, ricotta, cinnamon, majoram, bay leaves, yeast- Hannford's, Biddeford, ME

Obviously some ingredients are harder than others to source locally.  Cheeses are hard to find because most local dairy farmers in Maine are primarily milk producers.  I am thrilled when I can find cheese and yogurt at a vendor at the farmer's market in the spring.  Local, organic spices are easy to find at smaller, specialty spice shops or natural health food stores, but they often don't store as long and can be pricey.  I will not cook with/eat eggs if not found locally due to personal views on poultry factories and antibiotic use in mass poultry farming.  Trader Joe's, while not a local food source, often has many organic products for a cheaper price than other grocery stores.  

Hopefully I will get to share more about how I came to make the decisions to buy food the way I do in the near future! 

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