makes 6-8 appetizer portions
For the crust:
7 tablespoons butter, chilled, plus a little extra at room temperature for greasing tart pan
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk mixed with 3 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the filling:
1½ cups heavy cream
½ cup peeled and diced parsnip (cut in ¼” dice, about 3 ounces altogether)
½ cup peeled and diced celery root (cut in ¼” dice, about 3 ounces altogether)
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ lb slab bacon, rind removed, cut into 1″ x ¼” x ¼” lardons
½ cup chopped shallots
2 large whole eggs, plus 2 additional egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1¼ cups Gruyère cheese
4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly grated nutmeg
1. Make the crust. Cut the butter into small pieces, and place in a bowl. Add the shortening, cover well and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and combine. Moving quickly, cut the butter/shortening mixture into the flour with a pastry cutter, or with your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolk-ice water mixture and work the dough until it just holds together. Do not overwork. (Note: If doing in a food processor, place the flour and salt into the work bowl. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Add the yolk and ice water through the feeder and continue to pulse until the dough looks like it’s coming together). Form the dough roughly into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes. This can be done up to 3 days in advance.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
4. Butter a 9½” tart pan, preferably one with a false bottom.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a circle; the circle should be ⅛” thick, and at least 2″ larger in diameter than the pan.
6. Carefully lay the dough circle in the pan, centering it. Sprinkle the overhang with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fold the overhang back into the pan, to make a rustic edge. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
7. Remove crust from freezer. Line with the bottom with wax paper, or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool.
8. Meanwhile, make the filling. Boil the cream in a saucepan until lightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
9. In a medium saucepan, cook the parsnip and celery root together in boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
10. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside. Pour out excess oil from skillet, leaving approximately 1 tablespoon. Cook the shallots in the same pan until soft and lightly browned, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste while cooking, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
11. Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place the pie crust on a baking sheet.
12. In a bowl, lightly whisk together the cooled cream, the eggs and egg yolks. Add the reserved parsnip and celery root, the parsley, half of the Gruyère cheese, 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir to combine.
13. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano over the bottom of the crust. Add the bacon, the shallots, then the remaining ⅝ cup of Gruyère cheese. Pour in the cream, egg and vegetable mixture; it should just about reach the top of the pastry, maybe 1/16″ below the top. Don’t let it come any higher than than that. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano across the top.
14. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden, slightly puffed and set. Do not overcook. Check to see if it’s done after about 20 minutes and continue to check every five minutes after that; a knife in the center should just come out clean once it’s done. You do not want the custard to get rubbery. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature.