“Turnip!” the kids shout, and I’m happy to oblige. I reach into the crisper and pull out the round root. Who can predict teen fads?
“Not turnip!” they scream. “Turn up!”
“Not turnip,” I mutter. They want the music louder? “Turn it up?” I ask. The eye-rolls burn.
“Turn up,” they explain: “Good.” Well, I think, turnip is good. Waxy, heavy, bitter. But pretty good. Maybe they are using that other new phrase, the one that means “maximum.”
“Turnt?” I ask, cautiously. They each drop face to palm, fatally embarrassed.
I skulk back to the kitchen, wondering how to make the dirt-dwelling turnip maximally tasty. I peel off the waxy, slice down the heavy, blanch out the bitter. I slather the slices in cream and bake them into a buttery casing.
The turnip tart is beautiful, delicious and satisfying. No doubt the kids have a word for that. I’ll stick with “good.”
Turn Up Tart
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Serves: 6 as a main dish, 8 as a side
1 pound (1 large) turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound (2 large) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup crème fraiche
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Puffy pastry (recipe follows)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cream
1. Simmer: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Slip in turnip and potato slices. When water returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer 1 minute. Drain. Spread slices on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
2. Toss: In a large bowl, mix crème fraiche, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Slide in turnips and potatoes. Mix gently.
3. Roll: On a lightly floured surface, roll out large disk of pastry to a 14-inch circle. Fit into an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Fill tart with turnip mixture. Roll out remaining disk to a 12-inch circle. Cover tart. Press bottom and top overhangs together firmly. Snip overhang to ¼-inch and turn in toward center.
4. Glaze: Set tart on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together egg yolk and cream; brush over tart. Snip a vent into pastry.
5. Bake: Slide baking sheet into a 425-degree oven. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until vegetables turn tender and crust turns golden, about 45 minutes more. Serve warm.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly mix 2 cups flour and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Drop in ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up. Mix on medium-low to fine crumbs. Dump in ½ cup cold water and another ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes. Mix on low just until pastry comes together in a big unsightly blob, like broken crayons mashed into Play-Doh. Shape dough into two disks, one slightly larger than the other. Dust with flour, wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Provenance: Adapted from a recipe for potato tart by David Tanis, via cooking.nytimes.com.