Warning: Spoilers everywhere!
Welcome to Sunspear!
Season 5, Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
To be honest, the hospitality skills of the Dornish welcoming committee could use a little improvement. But the famous Water Gardens of House Martell might be worth the risk - did you see those fountains? The inlaid tilework? The lush garden labyrinths? The scenes in Dorne are some of the most beautiful backdrops in the world of Game of Thrones, even if some of the action leaves something to be desired. Those snakes down south are bit hissy but the Dornish have an impeccable sense of style, beauty and architecture. (We lustily include the delicious Oberyn Martell among the finest examples of Dornish beauty and architecture - I mean, those cheekbones, right?) So join us as we take a tour down to Sunspear with a beautiful Tarte Soleil - as spicy and gorgeous as those Martells and Sands in Dorne.
The tarte soleil, also known as a 'sunburst tart', is a ubiquitous and beautifully French pastry - a sweet or savory filling spread between sheets of puff pastry cut and twisted with the finished tart resembling the spiraling rays of a golden brown sun. But as impressive as this looks at the end, it's deceptively easy to assemble and a perfect offering for potlucks parties and brunches of all sorts. With a package of good frozen puff pastry, a spreadable filling and a rather straightforward assembly, this all comes together more easily and quickly than you would imagine.
All manner of tarte soleil can be found from the savory - like this version filled with olives, sundried tomatoes and herbs from Smitten Kitchen, to sweet - including this chocolate and sesame version from Martha Stewart. But because we are talking about Sunspear, a land of desert sand and fiery tempers, our version turns toward bright flavors of Spain, the location that stands in for Dorne. (Those gorgeous scenes of the Water Gardens are shot at the Alcázar of Seville, an actual royal palace and a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands at the center of Seville, Spain.)
So here is our homage to House Martell, whose sigil is a red sun pierced with a yellow spear on an orange field: A bright sun-shaped tart with a fiery red filling of paprika-spiked chorizo, sweet piquillo peppers and a hint of orange zest. Garnished with some grated manchego cheese, toasted almonds, fresh herbs, or even a lovely goat cheese dip if it suits you, this beautiful pastry is sure to make an impression at any gathering, eliciting many 'oohs' and 'aahs' from your guests. And as we all know, if there's one thing a Martell is good at, it's looking beautiful and tempting at a party. Or, as Oberyn Martell once said, "The gods made this...and it delights me." We heartily agree. Enjoy!
Tarte Soleil w/ Chorizo, Piquillo Peppers, & Orange
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Make the filling: Blend ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped and spreadable. Mixture will be thick. You can thin it with more olive oil if needed, but no need to make this thin like a sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Assemble the tart:
(If your packaged puffed pastry does not already come in a 12-inch circle)
Roll first puffed pastry sheet flat on a large piece of parchment paper or reusable baking mat into a 12-inch circle; use a 12-inch round plate or bowl to mark the size for a clean cut. Repeat with second dough, setting one aside in the fridge until needed.
Place first round on a parchment- or nonstick mat-lined baking sheet. Spread with filling to all but 1-inch from edge. Dab edges with water and place second round on top. Set a small glass upside down in the middle. Being careful not to cut through parchment paper or baking mat, cut away from glass (i.e. not through center) in quarters, or at the 3-, 6-, 9- and 12 o’clock marks. Cut through each quarter again, making 8 strips, and again, making 16 strips, and one last time so that you have 32 “rays” of pastry emanating from the center. If at any point in the cutting the pastry feels annoyingly soft and hard to cut, just pop the tray in the freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes to firm it back up.
Remove glass. Place finger near center of each ray (where it is most likely to break off prematurely) and gently twist each strand a few times. Beat egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; brush it over pastry.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown all over.
Remove tart from oven, let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with grated cheese, fresh herbs or toasted almonds. Tear off rays of sun, and enjoy!