"The parsnip is perhaps the most humble vegetable there is. Though perception changes over the centuries, the parsnip has never really had its heyday. We're hoping recipes like this one give the lowly ingredient the renaissance it deserves. Parsnips are more versatile than potatoes, I might argue. They can easily slide into savory dishes, as well as desserts and cocktails. This tart can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's wonderful alone for a simple meal and is also great with a salad or steak." —Jamie
Chef Tip: The pastry dough can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to one day, or frozen for up to one month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. You can also prep the puree and parsnips a day or so ahead of time, then assemble and bake the tart when you are ready.
For the Pate Brisee (Pastry Dough):
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water
For the Parsnip Puree:
½ pound parsnips
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the Parsnips:
1 large parsnip, cut into thin rounds (use a mandoline, if you have one)
Melted butter, for brushing
For the dough, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow and steady stream through the feed tube.
Pulse until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Form into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
For the puree, in a medium saucepan, bring the parsnips, garlic, cream, milk and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the parsnips are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes, then season with salt. Puree in a blender until smooth and reserve in a container for assembly.
For the parsnips, blanch the rounds in salted water until just barely tender. Remove and shock in a salted ice bath, then drain and reserve for assembly. To assemble the tart, preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack on the second lowest shelf.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch round. Drape over an 8- or 9-inch pie tin or a tart mold, tucking the edges into the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake (pie weights optional) until the crust looks dry, about 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Chill the crust and set the oven to 400°F.
Spread a few spoonfuls of the parsnip puree across the top of the tart shell in a thin, even layer. Shingle the blanched parsnips, starting with the smallest pieces at the center and working your way toward the outer edge with the largest pieces. Brush with a little melted butter and season with salt.
Bake until the top of the tart begins to brown slightly, about 15 minutes. Let the tart cool for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a large plate. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.