The High Holidays fall right on the cusp of fall, which means the summer staples are being replaced with cooler-weather vegetables, such as butternut squash. Squash and fennel are two of my favorite vegetables because they get so sweet when you roast them at a high heat.
Puff pastry streamlines this tart so you don’t have to make dough, and it’s elegant enough to serve at a holiday celebration. It looks like you’ve been working all day but actually requires little fuss. Just make sure it’s thawed before you need it and kept refrigerated until the vegetables come out of the oven, otherwise your puff pastry may not get much “puff.”
Butternut Squash and Fennel Tart with Goat Cheese
1 tablespoon honey
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, core removed, and sliced into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and refrigerated
3 ounces goat cheese
1. Place rimmed baking sheet on middle rack of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon honey with 1 teaspoon water. Set aside. In large bowl, combine squash, fennel, oil, sage, sugar and salt. Stir until well mixed.
3. When oven has preheated, carefully remove baking sheet. Transfer squash and fennel mixture to pan and reorganize into one layer. (Do not overcrowd pan; if vegetables don’t fit in one layer, cook them in two batches.) Cook until soft and starting to brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Leave oven on.
4. Remove puff pastry from refrigerator and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Using paring knife, lightly score 1-inch perimeter. (Do not cut all the way through puff pastry.) Use fork to poke 25 holes in sheet, avoiding perimeter.
5. Using pastry brush or spoon, spread honey mixture all over pastry sheet. Shingle squash slices on sheet, avoiding perimeter. Sprinkle fennel over squash slices. Bake until puff pastry is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, season with salt, and sprinkle goat cheese over top. You may also drizzle with extra honey. Serve immediately.