Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. Generally, on Cinco de Mayo, we go out to one of two of our favorite Mexican restaurants. I grew up going to Casa Vega. It truly is, in my opinion, the best, authentic restaurant in Los Angeles. The enchilada sauce is perfection, the crispy tacos with shredded beef cannot be beat, and the margaritas kick your butt. More importantly, it holds a whole lot of nostalgia for me. Another favorite is Lucy’s Cafe El Adobe . There is really nothing better than their bar-b-q beef tacos!
This year we are eating home. I have planned a festive meal to share with my family and I am making some of our favorites. Along with our favorites, I wanted to make something new. What I really wanted to make was chile rellenos. I don’t even order chili rellenos in a restaurant, but I had an anchoring to make these. I looked through my Diana Kennedy Cookbook, a book I have had for over 30 years. I have made several of her recipes, but she did not really have a chile relleno recipe. Sooooo, I turned to the trusty Internet. I searched Saveur, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Epicurious. Epicurious was the winner. I found this recipe for a tart and I immediately knew that I wanted to make this dish.
The original recipe was from 1996. In 1996 food trends were very different. Vegan, Gluten-Free, Organic, nor Grass Fed were words that were not part of our vernacular. And although I would love to, without guilt, make this tart with close to 2 pounds of various cheeses, I just couldn’t do it. I made a few changes and even with these changes, this tart was rich, decadent, and very tasty!
Chile Relleno Tart
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (6 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2-3 tablespoons ice water
3 large Pasilla chiles
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 large, organic eggs
3/4 cup, organic 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese room temperature
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated organic, white cheddar
• combine 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 3/4 cup cornmeal and 1 teaspoon salt in processor.
• add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
• blend in water by tablespoonfuls until mixture forms moist clumps. gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour. (can be prepared 1 day ahead). let dough soften slightly at room temperature before using.
• preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.
• press dough onto bottom and up sides of prepared pan; trim to fit, reserving scraps.
• cover dough with heavy duty foil and press into the creases. pour in pie weights. place pan on heavy baking sheet.
• bake until crust is set and edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes. remove foil and bake 7 more minutes. if crust cracks, gently press small bits of reserved dough into cracks. transfer pan to rack and cool.
• char chiles under broiler until blackened on all sides. place in a paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. peel, seed and chop chiles
• preheat oven to 375°F. sprinkle Gruyère and mozzarella over bottom of crust. layer the chilies over cheese. combine eggs, half + half, goat cheese, butter, salt and pepper in processor; blend well. pour into crust. sprinkle with white cheddar.
• bake tart until filling is golden brown and set, about 25-32 minutes. transfer to rack and cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com