I could take or leave cakes and cookies, and the whole baking process is not only boring but fraught with danger—mess up the order of one step or forget one tiny ingredient and you’re toast, mister. The final product is ruined, everyone will know you’re a failure, and you’ll be forced to serve your falling-apart peach pie at a barbecue where someone else also made a peach pie, a peach pie that looks like it came out of a magazine, and no one will touch your pie so you’ll be forced to divide it up and give it to the neighbors when you get home.
But savory baking is a whole different story. There’s only one component to mess up: the crust. Get the crust down and you’re home free. And you can put anything in it! No one’s going to get all judgy like they would with a regular pie because you’re really cooking, not baking, and all those imperfections are from creativity.
And that is precisely what happened here. A flawless crust with lots of…um…creativity. I had not planned on making a tart until I actually got in the kitchen to cook, so instead of acting like a sensible person and going online to look at some basics of savory tart construction, I just threw stuff together as I went. And that’s exactly what it tasted like. Not inedible, just thoughtless. For that reason I’m not even going to outline a recipe, but rather present a framework that a reasonable person might improve upon.
Sadly, this makes at least 5 servings, so I’ll have plenty of time to think about what I would’ve done differently.
For the crust I used this recipe [link] (using fresh sage in place of the dried herbs) which, as you can see, turned out just fine.
1 cup whole wheat flour: 18 cents
1 cup all-purpose flour: 12 cents
1/4 cup olive oil: 22 cents
Salt: 1 cent
TOTAL: 53 cents
It was the filling where things started to go wrong.
Sweet potato: $1.24
2 T butter: 13 cents
4 onions: $1
1 T olive oil: 5 cents
1 tsp chopped chipotle chile (from the freezer): 10 cents
1/8 of a $2 container of blue cheese: 25 cents
TOTAL: $3.75/5 servings = 75 cents/serving
I started out caramelizing the onions (be sure to cut them pole-to-pole, or else they end up stringy) in 1 T each butter and olive oil, which ended up taking an hour, but ended up fine. I then mashed the sweet potatoes with the remaining butter and chipotle and, for reasons that remain unclear, filled the entire bottom of the pre-baked crust with them. Just slathered them on in an inch-thick layer. I believe I was thinking they’d be flavorful enough on their own to act as a base, but they weren’t.
I then smoothed the caramelized onions over the top, followed by the blue cheese, and baked for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. The texture was dense and uniformly mushy, and while the chipotle worked surprisingly well with the sweet potato, the rest of the flavors were about as exciting as an 18-hour plane ride.
If I had to do it over again I would probably mix them all up together with something earthy, like sautéed chard, reserving about half the caramelized onions for the top. If anyone has their own improvement they’d like to share, please let me know!