Friday, August 26, 2011

Fresh Corn and Basil Tart

Isn't fresh corn on the cob just one of the best things in life? When you bite into those sweet yellow kernels, dripping with butter, you just can't help smiling. Well, here's another idea for enjoying summer corn, fresh from the field: a delicious Corn and Basil Tart.


The cornmeal in the crust gives it an interesting crunchy texture and adds to the corn-y flavor of the dish. Prebaking it guarantees you won't have a soggy middle. The quiche-like filling is yummy with just the corn and basil, but be sure to try some of the variations that I've suggested in the recipe notes. Adding other ingredients just makes it all the more tasty!

Fresh Corn and Basil Tart


Crust ingredients:
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 T. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 egg
2/3 c. cornmeal
2/3 c. flour

Filling ingredients:
2 eggs
1 c. half-and-half or light cream
1-1/2 c. fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
¾ c. cheddar cheese
½ c. coarsely snipped fresh basil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Optional:
Chopped tomato and basil

Directions:
1. Make the cornmeal crust: In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and ½ tsp. salt. Beat until combined. Beat in 1 egg until combined. Add in cornmeal and flour. Mix until ingredients form moist clumps or a ball.
2. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Pat the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Line the pastry with a double thickness of foil and bake 10 minutes; remove foil. Bake 5-6 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and half-and-half. Stir in the corn, cheese, basil, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Add any additional optional ingredients. (See recipe notes, below.)
4. Pour into prebaked pastry shell. Bake 35-40 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove sides of pan to serve.
5. Sprinkle with tomato and additional basil.

Recipe Notes:
- There are so many delicious variations to this recipe.  Optional ingredients might include green chiles (1/4-1/3 cup), black olives (1 small can), zucchini, pimento, or chopped artichokes (1/2 cup). My favorite is to add black olives and green chiles to the basic recipe. A topping of salsa is a nice complement to the southwestern flavors.
-  Frozen corn may be used in place of fresh.
- When pressing the dough into the tart pan, it’s helpful to use a small glass as a rolling pin. Using the side of the glass, roll the crust smooth on the bottom. Holding the glass upright, gently press dough to the sides of the pan for a uniform edge.
- To make the crust gluten-free, I recommend using Jules' gluten-free flour, along with the cornmeal, which is naturally gluten-free.


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