Today, a recipe because, well, it's been a while since I've done a food post, and this one just won't be the same once summer is over and in-season tomatoes are a distant memory. This also reminds me that I need to tell you about my patio "garden"; I'll try to do that soon.
I love quiches, but I also like the idea of a savory tart that doesn’t use 6-8 eggs and a cup of heavy cream on top of an ultra-buttery pastry. So, a couple of recent recipes have gone right to the top of my “to cook soon” list. The first skips the pastry but includes eggs; it uses thinly sliced potatoes as the crust. I’ve had a few issues with getting the baking time right on this (it took about 30 minutes more than the recipe said last time I made it) and with the potatoes burning on the edges, but once I get it right, I’ll try to remember to share my version with you.
The second has the pastry, but skips the eggs (ok, the pastry itself does include 1 egg and the filling does have a lot of cheese in it, but whatever, it’s healthy I’m sure…) It’s adapted from David Lebovitz, one of many food blogs I enjoy reading regularly.
A few notes on the recipe:
The original recipe called for 250 g (8 oz) goat’s cheese. Let’s just say I have no concept of what that looks like so when I went to the store and realized how much it is, I decided that I really didn’t need all that much. I also chose to use wholegrain mustard (I’m just not a huge Dijon girl) and chives as my herb. I think thyme would be lovely as well, and suspect basil would be good but might not stand up to the heat of the oven for that long, so would be best sprinkled on at the end. I also bet you could play around with the cheese – it seems brie might work well, but I would say stick with something soft (i.e., not cheddar).
Plus, the bonus here is that I used a 9 inch tart pan and had quite a lot of leftover pastry, so I got to make a fruit “galette” (blackberry lime) for dessert (more on that later).
French Tomato and Goat’s Cheese Tart
One 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) tart
Adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from A Culinary Journey in Gascony
One unbaked tart dough (see recipe, below)
Dijon or whole-grain mustard, about 2 tablespoons (hubby found this a bit “mustardy” so maybe dial it back a bit if you’re wary)
2-3 large ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (less than the 2 tablespoons in the original recipe)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, thyme or tarragon (as noted above, I used chives, and probably added more like 3 tablespoons)
180 g (about 6 ounces) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into1/4-inch rounds (I used one with a rind; I’m pretty sure one without would work fine)
210 g (1 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
125 g (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and then chilled again to firm up
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using regular table salt, I might use less)
1 large egg
1-3 tablespoons cold water
Dough: Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
Mix the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it's not coming together easily, add a second tablespoon of water. And a third if necessary.
Note: My pastry dough seemed really wet already even before adding the egg and water, probably because even though I chilled the butter, I used my fingers to mix it in, and it was pretty warm here the day I made this. So, I added the egg and just 1 tablespoon water to start, and even that was probably too much liquid. Basically, just remember that you can always add water, but you can’t take it away.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan (I used a 9-inch fluted tart ring with a removable bottom (US amazon.com link here)) but 10 inches is fine as well, and I see no reason why you couldn’t just use a pie plate or make it free-form - see below). Run the rolling pin over the dough to neatly shear away the edges (may not work so well with a glass pie plate!). Make a few indentations in the pastry bottom with your fingertips.
If you wish to make a free-form tart, roll the dough out to about 14-inches across, then transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; no need to make indentations with your fingers. Assemble the tart, leaving a 2-inch border, which you'll then fold up to enclose the tart.
At this point, I chilled the rolled out dough in the tart pan for a few hours because I needed to make the dough ahead to save time in the evening.
Tart: Preheat the oven to 185 degrees C (365 degrees F; I’m sure 375 would be ok, or higher as in the original recipe). I lowered the temperature because I’m suspicious that the temperature of my oven isn’t as it says it is (as in, it’s too hot), and things always cook really fast in there and/or end up burning on top before they’re done through. I should really investigate that.
Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough and let it sit a few minutes to dry out.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs.
(If baking a free-form tart, gather the edges when you're done, to envelope the filling.)
Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn't brown as much as you'd like it, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it's just right. I had to turn my oven down a bit to 175 degrees C about 20 minutes in as the cheese was getting pretty brown.
Let cool for a few minutes before cutting. Also good at room temperature; I wasn’t a huge fan of it cold so just warmed it up for a couple of seconds in the microwave.