BY ALISON LADMAN
---- — These simple, yet elegant individual tarts are at once surprisingly sweet and satisfyingly savory. It's thanks to the wonderful interplay between the naturally sweet carrots and lemon juice, and the herby thyme and sage.
The tarts also are a wonderfully refreshing way to serve carrots, which too often end up just steamed and buttered. And because these tarts are delicious warm or at room temperature, they are an easy do-ahead item. If you'd like to save a little time, you could use purchased pastry dough.
Lemon-Herb Carrot Tarts
For the crust:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 T. water
½ c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up
For the filling:
1½ lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped
2 T. butter
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
2 t. chopped fresh sage
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
Heat the oven to 350. Coat 8 individual tart pans with baking spray.
To make the crust, in a food processor combine the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse to mix, then add the egg and water and pulse until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse just until a dough comes together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut circles from the dough sized to fit your tart pans. Press the circles into each pan, trimming the edges as needed. Place the tart pans on a baking sheet and set in the freezer while you make the filling.
To prepare the filling, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and boil until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the carrots, then transfer to the food processor. Add the butter and process until smooth.
Allow the carrots to cool slightly, then stir in the thyme, sage and lemon zest and juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then mix in the egg yolks. Spoon the carrot mixture into the prepared tart shells and bake, leaving the tarts on the baking sheet for ease, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden and the filling is set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 140 calories from fat (47 percent of total calories); 16 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 115 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 6 g protein; 320 mg sodium.