To Make a Tart: Laurencia Style

Instead of listing the mile-long list of excuses for why I haven't posted in sooo long, I'm just gonna jump right back in with a yummy recipe! Enjoy!

This dish is a great way to use up an abundance of spring and summer greens. I thinned out a bunch of beet greens from my garden recently and wanted to make something with them before they wasted away, forgotten in my produce drawer... It came out delicious and passed the husband taste test! He’s not a fan of the medieval flavor palette, so this is a good recipe for those who prefer more modern flavors.

My inspiration recipe is from Le Ménagier de Paris (Eileen Power trans.) c. 1393:

To Make a Tart (Tourte), take four handfuls of beets, two handfuls of parsley, , a handful of chervil, a sprig of fennel and two handfuls of spinach, and pick them over and wash them in cold water, then cut them up very small; then bray with two sorts of cheese, to wit a hard and a medium, and then add eggs thereto, yolks and whites, and bray them in with the cheese; then put the herbs into the mortar and bray all together and also put therein some fine powder. Or instead of this have ready brayed in the mortar two heads of ginger and on to this bray your cheese, eggs and herbs and then cast old cheese scraped or grated on to the herbs and take it to the oven and then have your tart made and eat it hot.

I used the ingredient ratios and types of cheese from this Spinach Tart adaptation by Daniel Myers from Medieval Cookery.

I made a few changes to both recipes. I didn’t have access to chervil, but since it is a relative of parsley, I decided to use both flat and curly parsley. My husband dislikes fennel so I skipped that, and we have a friend with a cinnamon allergy, so no cinnamon in this batch as I wanted to see what it would taste like without. This tart has a distinct parsley flavor, but I didn’t find it overpowering. Many American foods only use parsley as an accent instead of a main flavor, so I think that is why it stood out to me.

Here’s what I came up with:

4 handfuls of beet greens

2 handfuls of parsley

2 handfuls of spinach

6 eggs

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon of spices; I used a combination of ginger, cloves, black pepper, and a dash of white sugar

Pie crust for a 9” pie pan

Whisk the eggs until smooth. Chop the greens small (I removed the stems of the beet greens and parsley). Add the greens, cheese, and spices to the eggs and mix well. Pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350° F until set, about 45 minutes – 1 hour. Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil after 30 minutes if they are browning too quickly.

 Assemble the ingredients

Assemble the ingredients

 Chop the greens up small (after removing the stems if desired) 

Chop the greens up small (after removing the stems if desired) 

 Mix in remaining ingredients and pour into pie shell

Mix in remaining ingredients and pour into pie shell

 Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes - 1 hour

Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes - 1 hour

 Enjoy! It holds together very well and makes for easy finger food

Enjoy! It holds together very well and makes for easy finger food

Sources:

Eileen Power, trans., The Goodman of Paris: A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by a Citizen of Paris, c. 1393, (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) 2006.

Myers, Daniel. "Spinach Tart." Medieval Cookery. Accessed July 08, 2018. http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/spinach.html.