Artichoke, Spinach and Leek Tart with Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

About a month ago, as I was going through the freezer, trying to organize the containers of unlabeled soups and broths (bad Brian) and bags of frozen fruit and vegetables, that I came across a box of puff pastry. I took it out and looked at it curiously, "When had we purchased this? " I couldn't remember the last time I'd used puff pastry or phyllo or any kind of frozen crust (probably years) and, seeing that the box was opened, I tossed it. It was later that day, while flipping through Jennifer Farley's lovely cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, that I stumbled on a tart recipe that I just had to make.  Of course, it called for puff pastry. A new box was acquired... and this time it was not neglected. 

I loved Jennifer's idea of caramelizing the leeks and, as is, her recipe works beautifully. In order to provide my own spin, however, I simply sautéed the leeks and opted to include some roasted garlic and a layer of sun-dried tomato spread to the bottom of the tart.  This, paired with a light salad and a glass of wine, made for a fabulous dinner. For those meat-lovers out there, I think some bacon on top wouldn't hurt. Just an idea. But, really, this is a very satisfying vegetarian meal... no bacon required. 


Adapted from The Gourmet Kitchen by Jennifer Farley

8-10 as an appetizer

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and pale green parts only (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 leeks)
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke quarters, drained
1-2 heads roasted garlic (see recipe below)
3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato spread (see recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt
4 to 5 cups fresh spinach leaves
Ground black pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, chilled (but no longer frozen)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt. Sweat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the artichokes to the pan, along with the thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes. 
3. Place the spinach in a Dutch oven or large skillet with a splash of water or olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and allow the spinach to wilt, stirring periodically, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. 
4. Roll out the chilled puff pastry until it is approximately 11 x 15 inches. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato spread over the puff pastry so it is evenly coated, but leave a small border at the edge of the dough. Distribute the leeks, artichokes, spinach, roasted garlic evenly. Top with the cheese.
5. Bake the tart for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden and firm. Periodically check on the tart while it's cooking. If part of the dough around the edge inflates with an air bubble, gently prick with a fork to deflate.
6. Slice and serve. 



Whole head of garlic, skin removed
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. 
2. Using a knife, trim 1/4" off the top of the head of garlic, which will reveal the tips of the cloves.
3. Place heads of garlic (you can do 3-4 at a time), in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil.
4. Drizzle olive oil on top of exposed garlic cloves. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and transfer to oven.
5. Bake for 55 minutes (checking after 40 minutes), or until it turns a golden brown color. 



1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8.5 ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Kosher salt
Olive oil

1. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet set over medium heat. Sauté onion, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, Stir in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add vinegar, basil, thyme, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse until ingredients are well-combined, but not completely blended. If necessary, season with additional salt.

Fig and Black Pepper Scones with Clotted Cream + A Giveaway

I don't know if other people have such strong feelings about scones, but I'm very picky about mine. For years, I've been making them one way and have been happy with the results. The recipe isn't anything particularly complicated: flour, , butter, heavy cream, sugar (you know, the best things on Earth), some baking powder, and salt. The dough is always loaded with whatever I feel compelled to mix in (blueberries or chocolate chips never disappoint). The recipe works... providing a dense, but flakey pastry. I've made it countless times and thought, "Well, I got that one down. Can't imagine a better scone recipe than this."

And then I made Samantha Seneviratne's fig and black pepper scones from her gorgeous book, The New Sugar & Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking. I came late to the party and, for some reason, just recently got around to baking from it. Having heard rave reviews, I had to try something... anything. When I saw these scones, I knew that I had to whip up a batch. They are marvelous scones. To be honest, the best I've ever had. And, with her permission, I'm sharing the recipe with all of you. Per Samantha's suggestion, I served them with a dollop of clotted cream.

In addition, I'm thrilled to announce that I'm giving away a copy of The New Sugar & Spice to one lucky person. Just leave a comment on this post (one entry per person). It's only open to U.S. residents (sorry to my Canadian and international readers). Giveaway closes at 12PM EST on Friday, May 6th. The winner will be contacted via e-mail. 

Mission Fig and Black Pepper Scone

The New Sugar & Spice by Samantha Seneviratne (very mildly adapted)

8 big scones

1/4 cup cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups (10 1/8 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 1/2 ounces dried Mission figs, stemmed and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1. In a small bowl, stir together the cream, buttermilk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is the texture of coarse meal with some larger pea-size pieces. Add the figs and toss to combine.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

3. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a fork just until shaggy dough forms. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it, just 2 or 3 times, to get the mixture to come together. Try not to overwork the dough. Form the dough into a 6-inch circle. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 equal triangles. Spread the triangles out evenly on the prepared sheet. Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

4. Brush the tops of the frozen scones with cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake the scones until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Completely frozen scones may take a few extra minutes. These are best eaten warm.

Serve with clotted cream (see recipe below)

Credit: Reprinted with permission from The New Sugar and Spice, by Samantha Seneviratne, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Quick Clotted Cream

2 cups

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, sifted

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.

2. Hand whisk the sour cream, vanilla extract and confectioner's sugar into the whipped cream until completely blended.