Caramelized Endive and Blue Cheese Tart

When I first heard about tarte Tatin, nothing sounded better to me. What first seems like way too many apples packed into a skillet, then caramelized and baked under a blanket of buttery pastry, then turned out and served warm, became one of my favorite desserts.

I’ve had recipes for them in several of my books, but also enjoy the savory version. I’ve seen upside down tarts made with fennel, tomatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables, but an upside-down caramelized tart with Belgian endive always appeals to me the most. The contrast between the slightly bitter, chewy, spears of endive, make the base for a perfect savory tart, especially in the winter. And I don’t think anyone would disagree.


I’ve mentioned before that in France, Belgian endive isn’t considered a luxury ingredient and is widely available, even in supermarkets, where it’s sold by the kilo (2.2 pound) bag. I seem to always have some since it’s so good added to a winter salad, perhaps with pears, pomegranates, and blue cheese, or braised and baked into a savory gratin.

A while back, someone called me out for being pretentious when writing “bleu” cheese, so I’ve been doing my best to call it blue cheese. (Fortunately endive, and endive, are the same words in English and in French, so you don’t have to suffer through me on that one.) However even in English, bleu sounds better, and I think people know what it means without having to translate it. So you can use any kind of blue, or bleu, cheese that you’d like in this tart. The stronger, the better.


The dough is pretty simple to put together. And since you’re not really going to see it, it doesn’t matter if the sides are perfect, or if it buckles and rises in places.

Once baked, under a crackly, crispy disk, most sins are forgiven, even bleu, or blue ones. And who can quibble with a warm, savory tart on a cold winter day? I know I can’t.


While this caramelized endive tart is especially good right out of the oven, it’s also excellent reheated and served the next day for lunch. You could also cut it into smaller wedges and serve it as an appetizer, and if you’re not fond of blue cheese, slightly aged goat cheese would work just as well.

 

Caramelized Endive and Blue Cheese Tart
Print Recipe
6 servings
You could dress this up with some black olives or branches of thyme baked with the endive.I bought puff pastry for this tart because I felt like it. (Actually, I had a gazillion things to do and there are worse problems in the world than using store-bought puff pastry made with all butter.) But if you want to make your own, you're welcome to. If you'd rather use a standard tart dough for this, make the tart dough that goes with this quiche recipe.If you like a lot of cheese, have some extra bits handy to strew over the finished tart, when it's warm from the oven. (The heat of the tart should melt the cheese, but you can coax it along with a butter knife.) Chopped chives or parsley would make a nice garnish.
2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
1 pound (450g) Belgian endive, about 7 spears
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
4 ounces (115g) blue cheese, cubed, plus additional cubes if you wish, for finishing the tart
8 ounces (230g) puff pastry
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180º).
2. Melt the butter in a 9-inch (23cm) cast iron skillet. Cut the Belgian endive spears in half lengthwise. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the melted butter in the pan and lay the endive spears, cut side down, in the bottom of the pan. They may not all seem to fit right now, but really try to crowd them in together, so they're as close as possible.
3. Cook the endive spears over medium-high heat, pressing them down as they cook, but doing your best not to disturb or move them around, so they brown nicely on the underside. Once the cut sides of the endive are well-browned about 4 minutes, sprinkle the endives with the sugar or drizzle with honey, cover the pan and put in the oven to bake until the endive spears are almost cooked through, about 25 minutes, depending on their size.
4. Remove the pan of endive from the oven. Distribute the blue cheese cubes in the spaces between the endives, as well as on top of them.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry to a 12-inch (31cm) circle. Drape the dough over the endives, and tuck the outside edges of the dough between the endives and the inside of the pan.
6. Bake the tart until the crust is deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and overturn a serving platter on top. Holding both the pan and the plate, wearing oven mitts (being careful since some very hot liquid may drip out of the pan when doing this), turn both the plate and pan over to release the tart from the pan. Reunite any endive spears that may have stuck to the pan and bits of cheese. If you'd like, add a few more cubes of blue cheese over the top, while the tart is still warm.

Serving: Serve the tart warm. If you want to make it in advance, it can be rewarmed in a moderate oven, on a baking sheet. It's best the same day it's made.

It's great with a green salad made of winter greens, such as escarole, radicchio, or frisée drizzled with walnut or hazelnut oil and a bit of sea salt. It's also a good lunch along with a simple green salad with a dressing made with sherry vinegar and minced shallots.

Caramelized Endive and Blue Cheese Tart: A great French recipe for lunch or dinner


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34 comments

  • Jennifer Barnett
    January 12, 2018 7:23pm

    I make a version without cheese, but with walnuts and everyone loves it! Cheese bleu AND walnuts should be pretty good too. Reply

  • GFY
    January 12, 2018 8:26pm

    I’ve been thinking about you for the last 10 minutes because I fell into a delightful youtube hole called, Alice in Paris. It’s a series of 2 minute videos, so it’s all too easy to binge the entire season and I highly recommend it! I literally just watched the episode below and came to your site to see if you’ve reviewed the featured shop, to see that you’ve done a savory tarte, which is kinda perfect. Enjoy!

    Alice in Paris: A “Sweet” Pastry Prank
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h6Wt_YSkU0 Reply

    • Cybele
      January 12, 2018 8:54pm

      OMG! Thanks for sharing the link! Alice’s videos are hilarious! Reply

    • LWood
      January 13, 2018 2:21pm

      Thank you for sharing your YouTube hole! A perfect remedy for cabin fever on a cold day in Michigan. I also think that the endive look scrumptious and beautifully carmelized. I’m wishing that we could get bags full without breaking the bank. Reply

  • Jan
    January 12, 2018 8:45pm

    The photo: yours doesn’t look appetising at all whereas mine does. I used a bit of lemon juice Reply

    • jilly
      January 12, 2018 9:55pm

      gee, no need to be rude. could you maybe rephrase that a little more graciously? I actually thought it looked very savory and delicious. Reply

    • Ali
      January 12, 2018 10:37pm

      Jan, you must be the one who made the comment regarding bleu/blue. Reply

    • Gigi
      January 13, 2018 3:46am

      No, tell us what you really think about David’s photograph Jan -you sound like an expert! Reply

  • January 12, 2018 9:00pm

    David, we so love you… Your photos are always so beautiful. It’s funny, whenever I’m pinning, I can ALWAYS tell by the photo alone that it’s one of yours. You have your stamp, and we all recognize it! xo Reply

  • phyllis
    January 12, 2018 9:01pm

    Wonderful tart of my fave ingreds. I do a winter salad with endive, radicchio, parmigiano slivers and olives. All slightly dressed. Bleu 2. All variations good. Reply

  • Pam
    January 12, 2018 9:01pm

    I’m on it! Sounds yummy! Reply

  • Linn
    January 12, 2018 9:24pm

    now, every time I see the word bleu, I’ll think of you Reply

  • AJPeabody
    January 12, 2018 9:32pm

    Cool knife! Is there a story? Reply

  • Kathy Klinginsmith
    January 12, 2018 11:13pm

    Bleu cheese – perfect, and not pretentious at all. Reply

  • jabrams42@gmail.com
    January 12, 2018 11:33pm

    I live in Marin County and just finished L’Appart. Loved it, as I do all your books. We are doing a 9 month remodel of our home and I ordered copies of your book for our architect, contractor and 2 interior designers. I thought our team would appreciate your story and of course with hopes we will have a smoother project, despite the crazy county requirements. Cheers Reply

  • January 13, 2018 12:21am

    I went to an endive growing Barn last year in Sacramento. The owner who just sold the place gave us a great tour . It’s hard to find good endives here in Santa Cruz. I love your tart and hope to make it soon. Reply

    • January 13, 2018 1:39pm
      David Lebovitz

      Americans don’t eat Belgian endive as much as Europeans, even though radicchio is a pretty common staple in most U.S. supermarkets. (Salads on airplanes, and even at fast-food restaurants, always seem to have it in them! I remember the days when people thought it was red cabbage…we’ve come so far.) But you can find it at well-stocked supermarkets and I see it at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, too. The way it’s grown is pretty impressive. Sometimes in Europe you’ll see growers selling it with the roots attached. Reply

  • Nicolette
    January 13, 2018 12:28am

    David, what a treat to see this post. You combined my favorites; endive & bleu cheese! By the way, we are expecting a second full moon at the end of this month and a super one at that, so that makes it a BIG BLEU LUNE!!!!!! Thanks always for sending us all the perfect antidote for the winter bleus! Reply

  • Laurie
    January 13, 2018 12:58am

    I am so making this for the full bleu moon!
    Peace. Reply

  • Domenica
    January 13, 2018 4:33am

    David this tart looks beautiful! Can’t wait to make this! Reply

  • Mrs B
    January 13, 2018 7:25am

    Oh my goodness, I have just this minute finished your book David. How on earth did you get through it? I totally admire your restraint with He Who Shall Not Be Named. What a piece of work. I’m going to Google pics of your kitchen now that I fully appreciate how hard you worked to get it. (And then read this post – I just wanted to shake your hand. Immediately!) x Reply

  • Caroline J
    January 13, 2018 12:00pm

    Maybe a difference between British and American English, but in British English “chicory” means French “endive”. And in British English “endive” means French “chicoree”. Very confusing, I know. Reply

    • January 13, 2018 1:28pm
      David Lebovitz

      Chicory is a type of wild plant. Cultivated chicory, or chicorée in French, and many countries tend to have their own terms to describe them. At my market in Paris, one farmer sometimes has what looks like radicchio, which in France, they call trevise. But they call it chicorée, which it is, although less-specific. Gardeners often use the Latin name for plants/species, which would make things easier in some ways, but in others, it would be very complicated! Reply

  • January 13, 2018 1:26pm

    Wow, David. Savoury tatins are one of my absolute favourite things and I’ve bookmarked this one to add to my “to make” list. Stunning photo (as always – who are these people critiquing you skills?) and also, bleu/blue, it’s all the same… Sheesh! Reply

  • January 13, 2018 2:51pm

    Commenting from Cobourg,Ontario…
    (North, across the lake from Rochester N.Y.)
    Also just finished L’Appart, loved every minute, and now will hunt down all of your other books!
    Love Belgian endive, usually braised but will try this lovely recipe with the bleu, probably Yorkshire Stilton leftover from Christmas!
    Peggy Reply

  • January 13, 2018 2:51pm

    Love that knife. Bet it has an interesting past. Reply

  • Tati
    January 13, 2018 3:02pm

    i love your blog and books for 2 reasons. The recipes are perfection, they always come out exactly right and secondly – they are totally lacking in pretense, funny, honest, warm, sometimes self effacing (even while promoting your work). Looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you! . Reply

  • Monsieur Bleu Suede Shoes
    January 13, 2018 4:39pm

    Here in Belgium we are only allowed bleu cheese, as blue cheese is sold solely to pretentious foreigners.
    Life is hard in Belgium. Reply

  • leigh
    January 13, 2018 4:51pm

    David, keep right on with ‘bleu’ with our blessings. Hard to imagine someone reading the blog of a Paris-dwelling expat and getting into a huff when he uses a French word. Love your books, recipes and blogs – thank you for all. Keep up the good work and pay the fragile egos no mind. Reply

  • Monsieur Bleu Suede Shoes
    January 13, 2018 4:52pm

    Belgian endive, or witlof as it is called in Flemish and Dutch, is such a vastly versatile vegetable. Raw witlof sliced in “coins” and then split apart, a granny smith in cubes, raisins and/or slices of tangarine, mayonaisse (just to thinly cover all, very thinly), mix it all up – lovely salad.
    But the most wonderful way is as follows:
    slice witlof lengthwise, smear butter in frying pan with your fingers, put witlof with sliced side down in pan (best to cover pan completely with witlof, do NOT layer), fill with water so that they are barely covered; salt and sugar (about 1-2 teaspoons), cubes of butter on top; leave pan uncovered, bring to boil; once at boiling turn to simmer – pan remains uncovered throughout to let water evaporate; will take easily 30 minutes, often longer; when water has evaporated the witlof will start caramelizing, so keep an eye on it as at that point the pan starts heating up more and the witlof will burn; caramelization takes only very few minutes.
    Enjoy, you will ever feel bleu after tasting this! Reply

  • gabriel
    January 14, 2018 9:38am

    Hi David,

    DO you think I can replace the puff pastry with Tart Dough like the one you used for Tarte au citron (https://www.davidlebovitz.com/french-tart-dough-a-la-francaise/)?

    thx
    /gabriel Reply

    • January 14, 2018 3:21pm
      David Lebovitz

      Since that dough is rather soft, and get pressed into a pan by hand, rather than rolled, I’m not sure how you’d do it (pressing the dough by hand over the cooked endive). You could perhaps cool it down and roll it out, but I would stick with a sturdier tart dough for this tart than that one. If you do try it, let me know how it works out. Reply

  • Taina
    January 14, 2018 10:30am

    Pulling this up to make for family lunch this morning here in Switzerland. Two heads of endive = 542g. I think some rapid tweaking of the recipe is going to be required! Reply

  • January 15, 2018 4:23am

    Loved this recipe! I made it with goat cheese and it was delicious. It was also easy to make with the store-bought phyllo dough. I hope to see more savory tart recipes from you, David. Thank you! Reply

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