Rustic Brussels Sprouts Tart


If you enjoy deeply caramelized Brussels sprouts, you’ll love this unique fall tart. Made with a whole wheat pie crust flecked with flax meal, this wholesome tart combines feta cheese, pine nuts and pan-roasted sprouts tossed in tangy lemon-mustard dressing.

The Brussel sprouts are blanched briefly in salted boiling water and then roasted over high heat until nearly charred—a technique that brings out their natural sugars and tames their inherent bitter character.

I prefer to prepare the pastry dough and filling a day or two in advance. When you consider the dough must be chilled before baking, and the crust is pre-baked, it makes good sense to parse the task into manageable chunks.

Rustic Brussels Sprouts Tart

Makes on 9" Tart

Brussels Sprouts Filling

■ 1 1/2 lbs  Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced, tough ends trimmed and discarded, about 8 cups sliced
■ 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
■ Kosher salt
■ 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
■ 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
■ 2 anchovies, rinsed and finely chopped, or 1 tsp anchovy paste
■ 1 tsp hot sauce, such as sriracha
■ 3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
■ 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
■ 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
■ 2 ounces of crumbled feta cheese, about 1/3 cup heaping
■ 2 Tbsp pine nuts

Whole Wheat Dough

■ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
■ 1 cup whole wheat flour
■ 1/4 cup flax meal
■ 1 tsp kosher salt
■ 1 cup (250 ml) unsalted butter, firm, cut into 1/2” cubes
■ 1 whole egg
■ 1 Tbsp white vinegar
■ 1 cup ice water
■ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Special Equipment

■ You’ll need a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom and pie weights (beans or rice work, too).

Whole Wheat Dough

Place the flours, flax meal and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly with some larger pieces along with the (mostly) finer particles.

In a spouted measuring cup, combine the egg, vinegar and enough ice water to equal 1 cup; mix with a fork. Gradually pour about half the liquid into the flour mixture and mix with a fork, adding only enough additional water to make the dough cling together in an untidy mass. You won’t use all the water; you’ll have anywhere from ¼ to ½ cup left over.

When the dough becomes too difficult to mix with a fork, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and shape into two disks, about 1” thick, being mindful not to overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. You’ll only need one disk of pastry for this recipe. (The extra pastry can be stored in the fridge for two days or in the freezer for up to six weeks.)

Transfer one disk of the chilled dough to a sheet of parchment dusted with flour. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top and roll the dough from the centre toward the pastry’s edge in all directions to about ⅛” thick.

Transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing against the fluted edges of the pan. Trim the pastry, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Remove the dough from the fridge, discard the plastic wrap, and using a fork, prick the dough in several places (to prevent it from buckling and rising unevenly). Cover with tinfoil and add pie weights (or beans or rice.)

Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once to promote even browning. Carefully remove the pastry from the oven, discard the foil, remove the pie weights and sprinkle the pastry evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, and continue to bake until the Parmesan is golden, about 12 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Brussels Sprouts Filling

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a roaring boil (it should taste salty, like seawater -- about 2 Tbsp per 12 cups water.).

Tip the sliced Brussels sprouts into the boiling water. Bring to a boil again and blanch for two minutes. Remove the sprouts with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Without delay, pour cold tap water over sprouts until cool. Transfer to a clean tea towel. Roll the towel jelly-roll fashion, and squeeze dry to remove any excess moisture from the Brussels sprouts. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large (13 inch) skillet until shimmering but not smoking. Working in batches, place about one third of the blanched Brussels sprouts into the hot skillet and add a pinch of salt, about 1/4 tsp, to each batch.  Cook until the vegetables have charred around the edges, shaking the pan, to prevent burning, about six minutes per batch. (If using a smaller skillet, you may need to cook an additional batch, but use no more than 3/4 tsp kosher salt in total.)  Transfer the sprouts to a medium bowl to cool.

In a small bowl or cup, mix together the lemon juice, mustard, anchovies and hot sauce. Pour the mixture over the cooked Brussels sprouts and mix to combine. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl or 2-cup measuring jug, combine the eggs, cream, yogurt and 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Mix well to combine.

Line the cooled baked pastry with the cooled Brussels sprouts mixture. Pour the egg-cream mixture over the sprouts. Sprinkle evenly with feta and pine nuts.

Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until the centre is nearly firm, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Place foil over the tart as necessary to prevent burning.

Cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes, before serving.

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