This showcase for the bounty of the summer garden is easy to make because you use purchased puff pastry. If you have time, arrange the squash slices into an eye-catching pattern. For example, if you cut the squashes lengthwise, as I have done here, you can weave them into a lattice. Or, you can thinly cut the squash crosswise and make an overlapping scalloped pattern with the various-size rounds. In both cases, a mandoline is the ideal tool to achieve thin, uniform slices.
Appears with permission from Williams-Sonoma Good Food to Share: Recipes for Entertaining with Family and Friends. Recipes by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan; photographs by Ray Kachatorian. Copyright 2010 by Weldon Owen Inc. and Williams-Sonoma Inc.
|1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese||Sea salt and freshly ground pepper|
|1/4 cup mascarpone cheese||All-purpose flour for dusting|
|1 large egg||1 sheet puff pastry, about 1/2 lb, thawed according to package directions if frozen|
|2 tablespoons heavy cream||1 large zucchini trimmed and very thinly sliced lengthwise|
|1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint||1 large yellow crookneck squash, trimmed and very thinly sliced lengthwise|
|1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme||1 teaspoon olive oil|
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) of the Parmesan, the mascarpone, egg, cream, mint, thyme, and a little salt and pepper and stir until well mixed. Set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) rectangle about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Transfer the pastry to the prepared baking sheet. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a border about 3/4 inch (2 cm) in from the edge all the way around the pastry sheet, piercing only the top few layers. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the pastry inside the border, then arrange the squash slices diagonally across the tart. Brush the squash slices and the pastry edges with the olive oil.
Bake the tart for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) Parmesan. Continue to bake until the cheese is melted and the pastry is golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve warm.
Fresh take: I also like to top this tart with eggplant and feta in place of the zucchini and mascarpone. I salt the eggplant slices, let them stand in a colander for 15 minutes or so, then blot off the released water before using. Because the feta is chunkier, I give it a whirl in a mini food processor with the Parmesan, egg, and cream, then stir in the herbs and seasonings before spreading the mixture on the puff pastry.
Dress it up: I usually serve this tart rustic style -- like I do pizza -- on a well-worn wooden board. But if you want a fancier look, cut out rounds from the baked tart with a fluted-edged pastry cutter and serve them on a cake stand or other attractive serving tray.
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