Butternut squash, prosciutto and blue cheese tart

The first squash arrived at the market a couple weeks ago, but we don't feel like making soups yet. Many North American types of squash have made their way into Breton markets these past years: butternut, acorn and others, including a whole bunch of French varieties. But, the weather is still too warm and summery for these fall staples. So enter this tart, the perfect transition between indian summer an the first chilly autumn days. As suggested by my cheesemonger, the fantastic Sebastien Balé, as a good pairing with butternut squash, I used a creamy Fourme d'Ambert, a blue cheese made with raw cow's milk from the Auvergne region, which happens to be one of France's oldest cheeses, dating back to Roman times. It's the mildest of all blue cheeses, creamy and nutty with just a hint of bluecheese bite, plus melts perfectly when cooked. 

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I layered the tart with very thinly sliced Jambon de Bayonne : a dry cured ham from the Basque region of France, very similar to Parma ham, or Serrano. Paired with the sweet squash and blue cheese it brings some nice meatiness to the tart, if you are a vegatarian you can leave it out. Sage goes really well with all kinds of squashes and pumpkins, so I sprinkled some dried sage on top before popping it into the oven. Serve with an arugula salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, and you have a great entrée. It reheats very easily, so you can make it ahead. Marc said it's even better the next day.

Butternut squash, prosciutto and blue cheese tart

Serves 2 as an entrée, 4 as an appetizer

For the short crust dough:

  • 125g/4oz all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 55g/2oz butter, cubed
  • 30-45ml/2-3 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Using a food processor, put the flour, butter and salt in the food processor and pulse until the fat is rubbed into the flourThe texture will look like coarse breadcrumbs.

  2. With the motor running, gradually add the water through the funnel until the dough comes together. Only add enough water to bind it and then stop.

  3. Put the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 10-15 minutes before using.



For the filling:

  • 50g/2 oz blue cheese ( less if it's very strong)
  • 450g/1lb butternut squash, 
  • 6 slices of Jambon de Bayonne or other prosciutto

Instructions

  1. Peel the butternut squash, half it lengthwise to have half-moon slices.
  2. Slice it very thinly. I use a mandoline
  3. Roll your dough evenly on a non-stick baking shit
  4. Crumble the blue cheese and spread evenly on the dough
  5. Add a layer of butternut squash
  6. Add the hamm
  7. Finish with another layer of butternut
  8. Add a dash salt and pepper, and a few crumbled sage leaves
  9. Wrap the dough around the edges your filling, shaping a round tart
  10. Sprinkle some olive oil
  11. Bake at 340F (170C) for 50 minutes to 1 hour