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Recipe Sleuth: Tabard Inn’s Crab Tart

This quiche-like dish is simple to make, and it highlights some of summer’s best produce: corn, basil, and peppers.

Tabard Inn’s crab tart has an impressive record: In a restaurant with a rotating menu, the dish has never come off in more than 25 years. Its lengthy stay is thanks to a generation of indecisive diners; the dish was chosen, says restaurant manager Neidra Holmstrom, to “cater to those that wanted a little breakfast or brunch during our lunch hours.” Here’s how to make it at home.

Have a restaurant recipe you’d like sniffed out? E-mail recipesleuth@washingtonian.com.

Tabard Inn’s Crab Tart

Makes one eight-inch pie

Prepare the pie crust:

½ pound cold butter, diced
2½ cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup ice water

Combine the butter, flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, running the machine until the mixture lumps together in small crumbs. Gradually add the ice water until the dough is nearly combined; be careful not to overmix. Remove the dough and knead it until it has fully combined. Form it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.

Grease a quiche pan. Scatter flour over a large surface and roll the dough to an 1⁄8-inch thickness. Place the dough into the pan and freeze for at least 1 more hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pan from the freezer, place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough, and fill it with pie weights (dry beans work, too). Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes. Let it cool and remove the parchment and pie weights.

Fill the pie:


1 pound jumbo-lump crabmeat
1 red pepper, finely diced
2 leeks, washed, diced, and sautéed over low heat in 1 tablespoon butter until softened
2 ears of corn, stripped, shucked, and sautéed over low heat in 1 tablespoon butter until softened
¼ cup chopped basil
1 cup grated Fontina cheese
2 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons pepper

Lower the oven to 300 degrees.

Layer the crab, peppers, leeks, corn, and basil in the prebaked crust. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.

In a bowl, whisk the cream, eggs, salt, and pepper until combined. Gradually pour the mixture over the filling, making sure the cheese is fully covered with the egg base. Bake the tart for 45 minutes or until set. Cool for at least 2 hours, then serve.

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