Written by Tom Brooks, Director of Food & Beverage, The Essex Resort & Spa

A few weeks ago, The Tennis Channel visited The Essex to interview our Vermont Tennis Vacations team for an upcoming episode of one of their programs. They, of course, were very interested in enjoying a meal that included as many local Vermont products as possible, and my immediate thought was to create a tart—perfect for almost any meal since it is so versatile.

A well put-together tart can be featured as the first course of a great dinner, as a luncheon entrée, a snack in the middle of the afternoon, or, of course, as a dessert.

So, thinking of how I could fit Vermont into a tart, here’s what I came up with—a Duck Confit tart with sweet Potato, Bayley Hazen Bleu, and a maple syrup glaze. The flavor profile is really great, and the dish is relatively easy to put together. Enjoy!

Duck Confit Tart
4 large very thinly-sliced sweet potatoes
½ lb. Bayley Hazen Bleu Cheese
1 lb. duck confit (or any left-over dark, fowl meat)
1 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
4 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Pate Brisée
1 cup flour
3oz. (¾ stick) butter
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
4 tbsp. ice water
½ tsp. salt

Cut the butter, vegetable shortening and salt together until it forms small pebbles. Use enough water to be able to gather the dough into a loose ball. Place the dough on a table and fraisage– (smear it together with the heel of your hand). Scrape the dough up and kneed gently into a firm ball and let rest in the refrigerator for half an hour. Roll out the pastry and lay it into a 9” tart pan and prick with a fork. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, weighed down with beans, rice, or very clean pebbles, and pre-bake in a 425 oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the paper and weight, and then layer the shell with sweet potatoes, blue cheese, duck, and thyme. Drizzle maple syrup on each layer of potatoes, and then brush maple syrup on the top and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.