1 cup – flour
1/2 teaspoon – salt
4 tablespoons – cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons – vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons – water
2 cups – lightly packed spinach ripped or cut into small pieces
1 – large leek finely chopped
3 pieces – deli ham sliced into small bite-sized
1/2 – red pepper chopped
1 – Tablespoon olive oil or butter
1/2 teaspoon – salt
1 teaspoon – minced fresh thyme
3 – large eggs
1 cup – cream or milk
1/2 cup – Compte, Fontina, Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese
Pinch of black pepper
Optional: Substitute 1cooked mushrooms for ham and red pepper
1. Mix flour and salt together. Add the butter and shortening and blend until the dough has a texture like corn meal. Mix water into dough and shape into a ball. Cover the ball with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. After dough has chilled place it on a floured flat surface and roll it into a circle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Place it in a tart pan. If time permits, cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes (but it’s not a problem to miss this step). Remove shell from freezer. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 5 minutes, until edges begin to turn light brown.
3. Change oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
4. Anything can go in this tart. Stick with the basic part of the recipe—salt, eggs, cream, and cheese—and then add what you like. Here is a suggested recipe to get you started.
5. In a large pan, add olive oil or butter and sauté leeks and red pepper. Add salt and thyme. Add ham and stir for 2 minutes. Add spinach and stir until leaves wilt. Drain any extra juice from the mixture. In a separate bowl beat eggs and add cream and cheese. Add sautéed vegetables to egg mixture and pepper if desired. Pour mixture into tart shell. Place tart in oven to bake for 40 minutes or until top is firm and golden brown. Cool. Cut a slice for your lunchbox. Eat it cold or reheat at lunchtime.