An edible geometric sun.
Psst! Some shortcuts just for you...
August 29, 2020
Behold the sun tart. A simple geometric pattern, some outstanding 360 degrees twists, and a light egg-yolk coating turn this dish into an eye-pleasing work of art. Filled with slightly-sweet, slightly-tangy sun-dried tomatoes and a generous layer of ricotta cheese, this tarte assumes the appetizer role with extreme confidence.
The day may come when you decide to make a tarte soleil (translated to “sun tart”) not because you are hungry, not because you need a killer appetizer for a dinner party, but because you want to see something that looks so incredibly beautiful come out of your oven. If made for viewing-only purposes, this tarte should last uncovered on your countertop for several weeks.
For a successful tarte soleil, your geometric skills need to be top notch. The pattern of rays extending from the middle will be beautiful when the pattern of rays extending from the middle is consistent. Remember that. I normally go with 16 rays, but the choice is up to you. However many you choose, be gentle when making the 360 degrees twist, and keep the corkscrew section closer to the middle. Leave the end of each ray wide and flat or the ray will end up a bit spindly and weird.
You may find that the rim of the baking sheet gets in the way when trying to cut the rays. If this worries you, just layer a couple sheets of parchment paper on top of a large cutting board, prepare the tarte on the paper, cut the rays, and then transfer the entire thing to the baking sheet. I say a couple sheets of parchment paper because I often cut through the first paper layer when cutting, which makes the transfer nearly impossible. Having that extra layer of paper should ensure you have a solid base to make the transfer.
The super duper thing about everything is that you can play with several variations on a theme when choosing ingredients. I’ve suggested my favorite combination - ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, basil - but I’ve also enjoyed other combos like goat cheese and bacon, or pesto and parmesan. Just recently I came across a recipe for a churro-like tarte soleil. Mmhmm.
Don’t stress out too much about this one. Have fun with it and it will turn out great. Treat it more like a 3rd grade art project than a cooking project. Remember those glory days? The dough is your playdough, the egg yolk your toxic-free paint, and the sesame seeds your...sprinkles?
(click each step as you go to keep track of your progress)
Finished and want to make it again?
- Prep time: 15min
- Cook time: 35min
- Serving size: 3-4
- 250 g (8 oz) ricotta cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 15 mL (1 Tbsp) olive oil
- 6 g (1/4 cup) fresh basil, finely chopped
- 220 g (8oz) sun-dried tomatoes
- Two 230 g (8 oz) sheets of puff pastry
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 190° C (375° F). Position rack in the middle of the oven.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, salt, olive oil, and basil. Stir until combined.
Use a small food processor or an immersion blender and small bowl to puree the sun-dried tomatoes. You want a paste that will be spread over the cheese mixture.
Roll and cut each pastry sheet into a circle with a 33 cm (13 in) diameter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place one of the pastry circles on the paper.
Spread the cheese mixture onto the pastry round, leaving a 2.5 cm (1 in) gap around the perimeter. Spread the sun-dried tomato paste on top of the cheese mixture.
Use your fingers or a pastry brush to moisten the perimeter of the dough with water. Lay the second pastry sheet on top of the first. Use a fork to seal the perimeter.
Place an 8 cm (3 in) diameter jar lid on the center of the tarte. This is just to mark where the knife will not cut. Now use a knife to cut 16 even rays around the lid; the tarte will look like a sun. Carefully twist each ray a full 360° turn.
Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tsp water. Remove the lid from the center of the tarte, and use a pastry brush to brush all the exposed pastry dough. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the center portion. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry dough is light brown and flaky.
Let the tarte cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
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