Tamale Tart with Roasted Garlic Custard and Crab Meat
The tamale is reborn as a tart with a garlic custard filling. The wrapper becomes the tart shell, and the tart is steamed, just like a tamale. Chef Pyles offers the option of making one large tart, or individual tarts.
- Pepper Purees
- Red Bell Pepper - 3
- Ancho Peppers - 6
- Roasted Garlic Custard
- Olive Oil - 2 teaspoons
- Garlic Cloves - 4 large, peeled
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-1/2 cups
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Salt to taste (about 3/4 teaspoon)
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Tart Shell
- Masa harina - 2 cups
- Yellow Cornmeal - 1/4 cup
- Salt - 2 teaspoons
- Cayenne - 1/4 teaspoon
- Cumin - 2 teaspoons
- Shortening - 6 tablespoons
- Red Bell Pepper Puree (above) - 6 tablespoons, roasted
- Ancho Chili Puree (above) - 6 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Onion - 1 small, diced
- Red Tomatoes - 1, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Yellow Tomato - 1, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Lump Crabmeat - 10 ounces, picked over
- Serrano Chilies - 2, peeled, seeded, and minced
- Lime Juice - 2 teaspoons
- Mixed Cilantro and Basil - 2 tablespoons, mixed
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro - 4 large sprigs
- Pico de Gallo sauce - 3/4 cup
To prepare the purees: Preheat the oven to 550 F, or its highest setting. Split the red peppers and remove the seeds. Cut a slit near the top of each ancho pepper to keep it from exploding. Spread the peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until they are completely blistered, removing the peppers with tongs as they are done. Put the blistered peppers in a paper bag, close it, and let cool. Pull off the skin and remove the seeds. Puree the red peppers and ancho peppers separately in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
To prepare the roasted garlic custard tarts: Prepare the custard and set aside while you prepare the tart shells, then fill and bake.
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Heat the olive oil in a small roasting pan and toss in the garlic. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it is reduced to 1 cup and 2 tablespoons. Place the cream in a blender with the roasted garlic cloves and puree completely (about 1 minute).
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until foamy and light in color. Drizzle in the garlic-cream mixture while stirring. Season with salt and white pepper. Set the tart filling aside.
Combine the masa harina, cornmeal, salt, cayenne, and cumin and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whip the shortening with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the shortening and continue to whip until well blended and smooth. Beat in the red pepper and ancho chili purees. Form into a ball and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removeable bottom, or eight 3-inch tart tins with removeable bottoms. Press to evenly cover the bottom and sides, forming a tart shell.
Fill the shell or shells 3/4 of the way with the garlic-cream mixture, leaving room for the topping. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a bamboo steamer set over boiling water and steam for 25 to 30 minutes. Or, arrange a steamer, using a large covered baking pan with a rack set in the bottom. Place the tarts on the rack and fill up to the rack with boiling water. Place over medium heat. Cover and steam for 25 to 30 minutes.
When the tart (or individual tarts) is cooked, heat the olive oil in a saute pan until it starts to smoke. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook 30 seconds, then add the crab meat, serranos, and lime juice. Cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and basil; season to taste with salt.
To serve: Slip the tart or individual tarts from the pan. Cut the tart and place a wedge on each serving plate. Or, place an individual tart on each serving plate. Mound the crabmeat mixture on top of each slice or tart. Garnish with cilantro leaves.