Makes one 12-inch tart
This is an easy crust for novices because it's made in the food processor. Shortening does not melt as readily as butter and makes for a more forgiving dough; here, a combination of the two is used.
To save time, premade pie dough can be used, but the flavor won't be the same; reduce the baking time to 20 minutes.
For the most attractive result, select a sweet potato whose diameter is fairly uniform so the slices are similar in size.
If desired, top or pair the tart with tender spring arugula tossed in a light vinaigrette.
Make ahead: Dough needs to rest in the refrigerator 30 minutes. The rolled-out tart dough needs to be refrigerated 30 minutes. The tart can be made several hours in advance and kept at room temperature; reheat in a 350-degree oven 5 to 7 minutes.
From Georgia cookbook author and cooking instructor Virginia Willis.
For the crust
1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
One 14-to-16-ounce sweet potato
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
Grated zest of 1 orange
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cane, sorghum or maple syrup
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
For the crust: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor, then add the vegetable shortening and butter. Process for 8 to 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time as you pulse, using just enough so the dough holds together without being sticky or crumbly; you might not use all of it. Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a disk 4 to 6 inches in diameter; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until the dough is firm and evenly moist, about 30 minutes.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Flour clean a work surface and a rolling pin. Place dough disk in center of floured surface. Starting in center of dough, roll to, but not over, upper edge of the dough. Return to center and roll to, but not over, edge closest to you. Lift dough, giving it a quarter-turn, and lay it on work surface. Continue rolling, repeat quarter-turns, until you have a round 12 inches wide. Place on the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the filling: Peel sweet potato and use a mandoline or very sharp knife to cut it into thin slices, 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with oil, then add orange zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Be conservative with salt; blue cheese will be salty.) Toss to coat evenly, don't break slices.
If starting with cold syrup, heat it in the microwave on low just to room temperature, about 10 seconds. Brush all of the syrup on the chilled round of dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Scatter the blue cheese evenly over the syrup.
Starting at the outer edge, layer sweet potato slices over cheese, overlapping them in tight concentric circles and keeping in mind they'll shrink during baking. Bake until crust is golden brown and the sweet potatoes are slightly curled and tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
Place baking sheet on wire rack to cool at least 5 minutes before transferring the tart to a platter. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving: 180 calories, 3 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar.