This delicious tart is filled with eggy ricotta, parmesan, oven roasted eggplant and peppers, then topped with cherry tomatoes, cream, and fresh thyme before baking. Serve with a sprinkle of chives or chive flowers.
1 pie crust, homemade or store purchased
½ cup mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, leaves only
1 cup heavy cream
olive oil for oven roasting
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced
2 small baby eggplant, sliced into ¼” rounds
8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup parmesan cheese plus one tablespoon
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup spinach leaves
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh chives, snipped into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place the crust in a 9” deep dish pie pan. Rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. To blind bake the crust – prick all over the crust with a fork. Line the pie crust with parchment or non-stick foil and add pie weights or beans. Add to the oven and blind bake for 12 minutes.
Remove the foil/parchment and the pie weights. Place back in the oven and bake 2-3 minutes more until lightly browned. Combine one egg with 1 tablespoon of water and whisk together. Remove and brush the inside of the crust with the egg wash. Bake 5 minutes to set the egg. Remove and add the mozzarella to the bottom of the crust. Place back in the oven to melt the cheese for 5 minutes. Take the crust out and set aside.
Place the cream in a small saucepan and add half the thyme. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and set aside while you finish the pie.
Place the peppers and eggplant on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 10 minutes, turn over and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove and set aside. Reduce the oven to 375˚F.
Combine the ricotta, remaining 2 eggs, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and whisk together. Add on top of the cheese in the pie pan, then sprinkle the green onions over the ricotta mixture. Lay the spinach leaves over the green onions, then top with the oven-roasted eggplant and peppers. Pour the cream mixture over the top. Place the cherry tomatoes, cut-side down, into the cream and sprinkle the remaining thyme and parmesan cheese over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
Remove and cool 45 minutes to one hour. Top with fresh snipped chives and serve warm. Makes 6-8 servings