Crab Tamale Tart

  • Serves

    serves 8-10


This savory dish is the invention of Dallas chef Stephan Pyles. These step-by-step instructions illustrate how to steam the tart.


For the Garlic Custard and Crab Salad

  • 2 heads garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 14 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 12 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 14 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 14 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 14 poblano chile, halved, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 10 oz. fresh lump crabmeat, picked and cleaned
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

For the Tart Shell

  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 14 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 14 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable shortening


Step 1

Make the garlic custard: Heat oven to 350°. Place garlic in foil, drizzle with 2 tbsp. oil, and wrap tight; bake until soft, 35–40 minutes. Squeeze roasted garlic into a bowl. In a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat, simmer cream, stirring, until reduced to about 1 cup, 25–30 minutes. Vigorously whisk reserved garlic into cream; let cool slightly. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks. Whisk in cream mixture, salt, and pepper. Cover custard with plastic wrap; let cool.

Step 2

Make the tart shell: Bring a 2-qt. saucepan of water to a boil. Add bell peppers; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain peppers; transfer to a food processor; purée until smooth. Reserve 3⁄4 cup pepper purée. Meanwhile, soften the ancho chiles. Transfer chiles to a food processor with 1⁄2 cup soaking water. Purée until smooth; strain through a sieve. Reserve 6 tbsp. chile purée.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, combine masa harina, cornmeal, cumin, salt, and cayenne; set aside. In a large bowl, beat shortening, using a handheld mixer, until fluffy. Sprinkle in dry ingredients and mix until pea-size crumbs form. Add reserved pepper and chile purees and mix (dough will be very sticky). Form dough into a flat disk; transfer to a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough evenly over bottom and up sides of pan to a 1⁄4" thickness. Pour in custard; cover with plastic wrap.

Step 4

Place a bamboo steamer inside a wide-bottomed pot; pour in 1" water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low, and transfer tart to steamer. Cover and steam until custard is just set, about 25 minutes. Using kitchen towels, lift out tart. Remove plastic wrap and tart ring and transfer tart to a platter.

Step 5

Make crab topping: Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12" skillet over high heat. Add onions; cook until soft, 4–5 minutes. Add peppers, chiles, crab, and lime; cook until just hot. Stir in cilantro and season with salt. Spoon crab mixture over tart.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.