SMiLes by Meg

Nutmeg Tart

Another rainy weekend, another baking adventure. Since I’m still thoroughly enjoying funemployment, I spent the weekend in Duxbury with my parents. I love being able to hop on a train and be with my family in about an hour, and nothing beats running to the beach and back, even if its pouring rain while you do it. Plus, I’m very into the series of books I’m reading right now (The Wheel of Time – no spoilers, please!), and my favorite place to read is the wood paneled room in their home, snuggled up on the recliner with a big fluffy blanket.

And, of course, I got to bake! My mom has a cookbook called The Farmhouse Kitchen, which I love to look through whenever I remember it’s around. It’s all recipes from things you could make if you had a vegetable garden (which she does) or an actual farm. Sometimes, it makes me want to just have a farm and raise all my own food. But then I remember I went to law school, and should probably give that whole law thing a shot, first.

On Saturday, my mom made tomato sauce from her garden, which we were going to serve with meatballs and some fresh pasta, so I wanted to make a light, fresh, summery dessert to go with it. I settled on this nutmeg tart – it’s a custard base, which means you could serve it cold, and it calls for fresh ground nutmeg, which I liked because my name is Meg.

You can find whole nutmeg in the spice aisle, and it’s not outrageously priced. Half of one seed was actually all I needed for this recipe, so I’ll be looking for other uses of fresh nutmeg in the future. To use it, just cut it in half and grind it on a microplane. To make the tart, start by making the dough. Whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Put into a food processor and add the butter. I used a Vitamix, which I had been told would work just as well. It did not, but I was able to make due. Process until coarse sand texture. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cold water. Pour into food processor and process until dough forms a ball. That doesn’t happen readily in a Vitamix, so I ended up turning it out onto my baking center and kneading it for a bit. Then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. When chilled, place on floured surface and roll out thin. Again, due to the Vitamix fiasco, I ended up going the press-into-the-pan method, since the dough wasn’t cooperating, but if you used a food processor you should be able to just roll it and flip it into the tart pan, pressing in to secure. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. I convinced my mom she needed a tart pan this weekend, so this was the inaugural use. I also convinced her she needed pie weights, because it seemed like a good idea.

Cover the dough with aluminum foil and put pie weights on top. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Remove tin foil and pie weights, and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce heat to 300°F. Those cracks will come back to bite me later.

Next, make the filling. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean, and sugar over medium heat until bubbles just begin to form. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and egg yolks briefly. Slowly pour hot cream into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk in 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl with a spout. Pour into pie crust and place in oven for 45 minutes, until just set and still jiggles in the center. I recommend a baking sheet under the tart pan, especially if your crust is cracked – it will leak. Sprinkle with remaining nutmeg. Allow to sit on a wire rack to cool completely.   Pop out of tart pan when cooled. Serve chilled or at room temperature. We decided it might go well with some berries or unsweetened whipped cream, too. Even my dad, who looked at it with serious distrust, was able to choke down a piece. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Nutmeg Tart

Ingredients:

Pie Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 teaspoons cold water

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, and powdered sugar for the pie dough.
  2. Place dry ingredients in a food processor and add butter. Process until the texture of coarse sand.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cold water. Add to food processor and process until dough comes together into a ball.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. When dough is chilled, roll out on a floured surface very thin. Turn into tart pan and press into sides and ridges. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Cover dough with aluminum foil and pie weights. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove aluminum foil and weights. Return to oven for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  9. To make the filling, combine heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until bubbles just start to form.
  10. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  11. In a large bowl, beat together eggs and egg yolks.
  12. Discard vanilla bean. Pour cream mixture slowly into eggs, beating continuously, until combined. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.
  13. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl with a spout. Pour into pie crust.
  14. Bake at 300°F for 45 minutes, until filling is just set, and still jiggles in the center.
  15. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Dust remaining nutmeg on top.

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