Celebrate fall with squash

Make a rustic savory tart with butternut squash and rye crust for dinner

butternut squash

Easier than a pie, a rustic tart is essentially a round of pastry dough topped with a sweet savory filling.

True North Kitchen

A good savory tart recipe is a lovely thing to have in your baking repertoire. Easier than a pie, a rustic tart (also known as a galette) is essentially a thin round of pastry dough topped with a sweet or savory filling and folded in on itself around the edges to encase the filling. It is a simple, delicious, and charming way to showcase whatever fruits or vegetables are in season.

Butternut squash is my favorite fall vegetable, and it is the star of the show in this rustic tart recipe. Cubes of roasted butternut squash, sweet, caramelized onions, and a combination of Gruyere and Parmesan cheese are piled high on top of a rye pastry dough and baked until golden brown. This impressive tart makes a stunning lunch or light supper main course. Serve a simple salad alongside and you’ve got a deliciously simple autumn meal.

Butternut squash

The rustic tarts are both impressive and tasty.

I know pastry dough can be intimidating, but really, the process of making it at home is quite easy once you understand a few of the fundamentals:

Use cold butter and ice water. If there was ever a word that was synonymous with good pastry or pie dough, that word is cold. Your ingredients, particularly the butter and the water, should be as cold as possible before beginning.

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a food processor until the mixture is like wet sand with some larger, pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. This should only take about 8-10 pulses. It’s important not to overwork the dough here, as those larger pieces of butter will create pockets once the dough is baked, resulting in a flakier texture in the final product.

Don’t skimp on the chilling times. The rest periods built into the recipe are important for the dough to chill before the next step. Don’t be tempted to shorten or skip this time in the refrigerator, as it will ensure a deliciously flaky tart and an easy dough to work with along the way.

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a favorite fall vegetable.

Roll the dough on a piece of parchment paper. This will make it much easier to transfer to a baking sheet when you are ready to do so.

The dough should be firm but pliable when you roll it out. If the dough starts to get too warm and soft as you are rolling, it will become excessively sticky and difficult to work with. If this happens, simply pop it back in the refrigerator until it is cool enough to work with again.

That’s all there is to it! And, thankfully, this tart is supposed to be rustic. That is part of its charm. So, if you are new to baking with pastry dough or the process intimidates you, this recipe is an easy (and forgiving) place to start.

All photos by Kristi Bissell

Rustikk gresskarterte med rugskorpe

Rustic Butternut Squash Tart with Rye Crust

By Kristi Bissell

Serves 4-6

For the crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup dark rye flour

½ tsp. fine sea salt

10 tbsps. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch squares

6 tbsps. ice water

For the filling:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch cubes

2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound yellow onions, sliced thin

1 tsp. minced fresh thyme

2 tsps. Dijon mustard

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

To assemble and serve:

1 large egg, beaten

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Make the crust: Combine flours and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and process to combine. Scatter butter cubes over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand with a few pea-sized pieces of butter here and there, about 10 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and sprinkle the ice water over the top. Mix with a fork or your fingers until no dry spots remain and the dough holds together when squeezed.

Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Gather into a ball and press into a disk, about 5 inches in diameter. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling.

Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the squash cubes on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Toss with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions: Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions are golden brown and melty, about 20 minutes. (If the bottom of the pot is getting too dark while the onions cook, add a splash of water, scrape up the brown bits and keep cooking.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Transfer the chilled dough round to a piece of parchment paper. Dust the top of the dough round with flour to prevent sticking. Using a rolling pin, roll into a 12-inch circle. Trim the edges with a pizza wheel if desired. Transfer to an inverted baking sheet, leaving parchment paper in place. Place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to firm up slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the cooled squash, caramelized onions, and thyme in a large bowl. Remove the dough round from the refrigerator and place the dough round and parchment inside the rimmed baking sheet. Brush the mustard over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1½-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle Gruyere cheese in an even layer over the mustard.

Arrange the squash and onion filling over the top in an even layer, continuing to leave a 1½-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Fold the border of the dough inward over the squash mixture so that it covers the filling by about 1 inch, overlapping the dough every couple of inches. Gently press dough so that it adheres. Brush the border with beaten egg.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Sprinkle with parsley. Cut into wedges and serve.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 22, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.