This recipe was adapted from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Flavor of California: Fresh Vegetarian Cuisine from the Golden State, by Marlena Spieler. Don’t be shocked by the amount of garlic — the garlic cloves will soften and become very sweet and mellow. Serve individual tarts on a bed of lightly dressed greens. It makes an impressive first course or light lunch entrée.
Pastry for lining 6-8 individual tart pans, par-baked*
30 large garlic cloves, peeled, and dried ends removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable (or chicken broth if not vegetarian)
1 tablespoon of fresh sage, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
Freshly ground white pepper and salt to taste
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whipping cream
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat and add the flour, stirring and cooking the roux until lightly golden. Add the vegetable or chicken stock slowly, whisking constantly until the sauce starts to thicken. Reduce heat and add the garlic cloves and cook until the garlic is tender and the sauce is reduced by nearly half (about 10 minutes). Add the sage or thyme and white pepper. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs with cream, Parmesan cheese, and chopped garlic. Whisk egg mixture in the cooked garlic sauce until well combined. Pour the custard into the tart shells. Bake until the custard has set, about 15-20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool.
Tarts are best served at room temperature.
Makes 6-8 small tarts, depending on tart pan size.
* Line small tart pans (such as white ceramic dishes that hold about 1/2 cup of filling) with a homemade Pâte Brisée pastry or store-bought piecrust and bake until very lightly browned in a hot oven.