Squash Apple Cheddar Tart

January 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm 11 comments

Tart Preparation

When I was living in Belfast, I giggled a little at some of the culinary cultural differences that popped up regularly when I visited the Tesco for groceries or went out for a bite – take away or sit in – with classmates or coworkers.  I worked in a small café that made “toasties” (think homemade grilled cheese meets Hot Pocket) filled with what I considered to be outrageous filling combos.  I wish I could remember some of the more shocking flavor marriages, but the one that’s stuck with me the most is cheese and apples.

Slice of Tart with Fork

The Brits seem to really like putting apples and cheese together.  Perhaps I was still a bit of a backwoods babe with not a lot of diverse food experiences under my belt or maybe every American feels the same at first, but I really thought putting these two things together was weird.  Then I had dinner one night at a friend’s (who just happened to be the daughter of a real live duke; yes, I was enamored as she was exactly everything a duke’s daughter should be) where we nibbled on a block of high-quality sharp cheddar and apple slices while we sipped a fantastic French white.  It was one of those “a-ha!” moments, one that chisels your spiritual silhouette just a little more and leads you down new roads.

Squash Apple Cheddar Tart

I’m still not overly fond of most cheeses with apples, but any time I hear cheddar + apple, my stomach growls just a little in anticipation.  Can’t explain it.  Just does.  So, naturally I had spied this recipe for Squash Apple Cheddar Tart in the Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden book way back when I bought it and it was the first page to be dog-eared.  But I made myself wait for the heart of winter to indulge, figuring it would give me something to look forward to during the doldrums of cold-weather eating.

Sauteed onions on squash

I smacked my lips in anticipation and wasn’t the least bit disappointed (aside from my own stupidity in allowing it to get just a bit overdone).  The squash has a silken texture with subtle flavor against the smoky onions and the tart apples.  And of course the cheddar was the tiara on top.  I had a slice right out of the oven and enjoyed it for sure.  But I liked best the slices I had out of the fridge the next day for lunch.  It was just the change of pace I was looking forward to and an excellent dish for showcasing winter produce: cheese, squash, apples and onions are all easily sourced locally, even in January. 

Mosaic

Squash Apple Cheddar Tart
Adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden

1 medium winter squash (butternut works well)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 C. thinly sliced onions
1 t. dried thyme
1 T. vegetable oil
1 C. thinly sliced apples (unpeeled)
2 t. all-purpose flour
1 C. grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 T. bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ready to bake pie crust (9 inch)

Prepare the squash by cutting it in half, scooping the seeds out and peeling it with a vegetable peeler.  Cut the squash into half inch cubes and place in a microwave safe bowl with a tablespoon of water.  Steam in the microwave for about 6 minutes or until soft.  Use a potato masher or fork to mash until relatively smooth (some clumps are okay).  Mix in a little salt and pepper and freshly ground nutmeg if desired.   Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Gently sauté the onions and thyme in the oil for about 15 minutes or until they are soft and golden.  Meanwhile, toss the apple slices with the flour.  In a separate bowl, toss together the cheese and bread crumbs. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9 inch tart pan with nonstick spray and line it with the rolled pie crust.  Prick the bottom with a fork in several spots.  Pre-bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and layer the ingredients into the shell as follows: the squash, the sautéed onions, the apple slices and the cheese mixture. 

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake for another 20 minutes until the crust is golden and the top is bubbly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes a nice lunch with a mixed greens salad.

(serve 6-8 )

Squash Apple Cheddar Tart

Entry filed under: Recipes. Tags: .

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. A. Woz  |  January 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Whoa! is this where we get the saying “as american as cheddar cheese and apple pie” but then someone put them together? hmmm

    Reply
  • 2. Lo!  |  January 12, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I have to admit, I didn’t get the cheese/apple combo either — until I lived with one of my best friends in college. SHE loved apples/cheese… as well as all sorts of other fruits/cheese. Turned me onto the combo, and it’s been fantastic ever since.

    Reply
  • 3. gintoino  |  January 13, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Apple and cheese is very common around here too, also banana and cheese. A very good desertyou would find in most good restaurants is “queijo da serra e doce de abóbora” (half cured sheep cheese and squash jam) Delicious!.
    I still have some nutmeg squashesfrom my garden, so I will use one of them to try this recipe.

    Reply
  • 4. Squash apple cheddar tart « The secret life of a librarian  |  January 29, 2009 at 11:51 am

    […] I’m not quite sure what to think about this tart.  It sounds delicious, right?  I found it here last week, and immediately bookmarked it.  I love all of those flavors, and haven’t made […]

    Reply
  • 5. Lauren  |  February 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Boy am I a sucker for a savory tart. And then you put apples and cheddar together? I’m sold! Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I bookmarked it immediately and this tart jumped to the top of my recipe pile! You can see mine here. So delicious!

    Reply
  • 6. Chadwick  |  March 10, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Wow. straightfromthefarm.net is amazing.

    Reply
  • […] Squash Apple Cheddar Tart: The squash has a silken texture with subtle flavor against the smoky onions and the tart apples. And of course the cheddar was the tiara on top. I had a slice right out of the oven and enjoyed it for sure. But I liked best the slices I had out of the fridge the next day for lunch. It was just the change of pace I was looking forward to and an excellent dish for showcasing winter produce: cheese, squash, apples and onions are all easily sourced locally, even in January. Found at Straight From The Farm. […]

    Reply
  • 8. thekalechronicles  |  October 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

    This looks wonderful and I have all of the ingredients on hand, including the pie crust. I’ll make it this week. If I like it, may I feature it on my blog, “The Kale Chronicles,” which is about seasonal eating? With credit where credit is due, of course.

    Reply
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