Zucchini & Cream Tart with Hazelnut-Thyme Crust

How often is it that the crust is the star of the tart?

It is in this one. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Hazelnuts and Thyme make a delicious savory and crispy crust ~ a delightful pairing.

The recipe is roughly based on one by Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini. It can, of course, be made into any shape tart you desire.
Clothilde made her's in a 10-inch round tart pan, I chose a rectangle.

Finding herself with leftover Hazelnut-Thyme cracker dough, and with guests arriving, she fashioned the excess into a tart crust and then proceeded to fill it with a mild. pleasing filling allowing the unusual crust to shine. Absolutely brilliant!

I'm pleased that it is another recipe that fits into the "Cooking with Local Ingredients", as everything is from the state of Oregon, and most within 100 miles of my home.

It is utterly delicious ~ and I only made a few changes from Clothilde's original recipe. I would definitely make this one again, and again.

Zucchini Tart on a Hazelnut-Thyme Crust
4 servings
Hazelnut-thyme crust:
5 ounces hazelnuts (skin-on for the good, deep color)
5 ounces all-purpose flour
1 egg
4 ounces butter, diced
2 tsp dried thyme (I used 1 tablespoon fresh)
ice water (2 to 6 tablespoons)

For the rectangular tart pan with removable bottom~
2 medium large zucchini
Note: If you are using a 10" round pan, you will need more zucchini (depending upon their size), up to 4 or 5 medium size
1 egg
4 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
fleur de sel
freshly ground black pepper

When you are ready to bake; preheat oven to 360-degrees (F)

For the dough:
Chop the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely chopped, but not to the point of being 'flour'.
Add in the thyme and butter, and mix until combined. Add in the egg, pulse until mixed. Add the flour in 2 batches, pulsing each time until just incorporated. Next add ice water a tablespoon at a time, pulsing until dough just begins to mass. (You may need only 2 tablespoons, up to 6), don't add too much, or over process or your crust will be tough.
Dump out onto a sheet of plastic film; gather into a ball and compress to a flat disc if making a round tart (or rectangular shape, to make rolling to the desired shape easier.)

You may wrap securely with plastic film and allow to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours at this point, or proceed. The dough can also be frozen, then thawed in the fridge before using.

I didn't allow a resting time, and simply rolled out between two sheets of waxed (or parchment) paper. Fit into a non-stick tart pan (or one that has been sprayed with cookingoil.) with removable bottom. This is a very forgiving dough ~ don't worry if it cracks or breaks while putting it in the tart pan, just patch and pinch securely as needed, it will bake up with no problem.

Prick sides and bottom of dough with a fork, at this point I placed in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
When ready to bake~ lay a piece of oiled foil (oil side down) on dough and fill with pie weights (I use dried beans). Bake in a 360-degree (F) oven.
Clothilde suggested 10 minutes. My crust was thicker, and I had chilled it in the freezer to firm up, so I baked for 20 minutes with the beans in place, then removed them and baked an additional 10 minutes. It was perfect at that point.
Do watch yours and keep checking; you don't want to over bake it, nor underbake it. Keeping in mind it is only going to bake an additional 15 minutes or so after the filling is in place. I detest an underbaked bottom crust, so I bake until nearly done during the initial baking.

For the filling:
Rinse the zucchini, and cut in sticks (one medium zucchini should yield about 16 sticks). Steam the zucchini sticks for about 12 minutes (as Clothilde does, I use bamboo steaming baskets), and let drain thoroughly.

In a small mixing-bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, and cream until smooth: no lumps. Remove crust from oven, transfer onto a cooling rack, and spread the cream cheese mixture onto the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Arrange the zucchini sticks on top, Put into the oven to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling looks set.

Clothilde suggests to serve with a simple young spinach salad, which is exactly what I did (with a Greek-influence), it worked out very well.


  1. This recipes sounds so good, Mary! I love hazelnuts and thyme is one of my all-time favorite herbs. What a delightful idea. Thank you!

  2. Wow! I never would have even known that a tart like this existed! It looks simply beautiful! Thanks for posting something so unique!

  3. Mari, how do you make zucchini look so pretty, and delicious?!

  4. Hi Susan, Emily & MSol, thank you so much. If you have a chance, I hope you'll try that recipe I think you'll like it. The cream cheese filling with just one egg is a nice, creamy change from the usual eggie quiche-type custard.

  5. I will try it! I once made a Martha one..w/ thin mandolined zucchini strips woven on not much zuc. taste.I love Zuc.and this would be better:)

  6. Man... I wish I had friends who made things like this for dinner! Its so different from what I ever make it would be fun to try.


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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