Tomato and Pancetta Brunch Tart
The perfectly scalloped crust, the rich, creamy custard, the fresh vegetables and herbs — a brunch tart always brings a sense of elegance to the table. This one is full of roasted veggies and pancetta, so it also feels rustic and inviting, perfect for the winter months.
We start with our recipe for flaky pie crust. It’s delightfully unfussy: a few pulses in the food processor, and you’ll have a dough that bakes up all light and buttery. Plus, it makes enough for two crusts, so you can freeze the second one for future brunch endeavors (or use it to make something of a sweeter inclination).
The filling is a mixture of bright cherry tomatoes, meaty cremini mushrooms, sweet yellow onion, salty pancetta, and floral thyme, all of which roast in the oven until they’re just beginning to caramelize. It gives the custard some layers of complexity: rich umami, a bit of sweetness, and a delicate char. And, like any good egg custard, this one uses a combination of cream and cheese; but rather than using a hard, nutty cheese like Parmesan, we went with feta and ricotta. They make the custard extra thick and creamy, and give it a salty-sweet tang — the perfect foil for all the earthy, roasted additions.
This tart would be lovely with mixed greens tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette — plus a glass of dry riesling, which plays well with any manner of salty pork, or a bright Beaujolais to counter the umami-rich mushrooms. And yes, we say “brunch tart” in the title, but it’s certainly savory enough to grace the dinner table too. We’d even cut it into thin slivers and break it out as an appetizer before a special meal, and then warm up the leftovers in the toaster oven for a quick yet satisfying weekday breakfast.
Servings: 6 to 8
1 disc all-butter pie crust (link to recipe)
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 oz pancetta, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch plus ¼ tsp kosher salt, divided
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 large Gelson’s eggs
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup crumbled feta
¼ cup whole milk ricotta
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pie dough to ¼” thick. Transfer the dough to a 10” tart pan with a removable bottom. Tuck the dough into the edges of the pan, pressing gently to adhere. Pinch off the overhanging dough by running your rolling pin over the pan.
Dock the base of the dough with a fork, making holes about 2” apart. Line the dough with parchment paper, fill the pan with pie weights, and place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
Transfer the tart pan to the oven and parbake until the edges of the crust set, about 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights and continue to bake until the base sets, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Combine the onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, pancetta, and thyme leaves on a sheet pan. Toss with the olive oil and 1 pinch each of salt and pepper. Bake until the vegetables are beginning to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375°. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter ⅔ of the vegetable mixture over the crust.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, feta, ricotta, ¼ tsp salt, and 1 additional pinch of pepper until combined. Pour the custard into the crust and scatter the remaining vegetables on top.
Bake the tart on the rimmed baking sheet until the custard sets, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then serve. The tart can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.