Sunday, August 26, 2012
Heirloom Tomato Tart
There is something about a really great savory tart. Perhaps it is the flaky crust or the luscious filling inside? Last weekend, I made a tomato tart to celebrate the heirloom tomato season. I am particularly drawn to the baby heirloom tomatoes which I pick up at my local Trader Joe’s.
The vibrant colors and tiny size make then irresistible. When I first saw this recipe, it called for regular sized heirloom tomatoes and thought the miniature version would be simply ideal. I switched out the goat cheese for blue cheese and omitted the onions. In addition, I had my own pesto recipe that I have been using for years and utilized it.
The quintessential portion of a distinguished tart is the crust. You are looking for the flaky, golden brown color and buoyancy to come from the precise crumble of the chilled butter. With the first bite of tart, the crust should simply melt in your mouth with the filling being secondary to the tart experience.
With the baking of the tomatoes, the sweetness emerges and the flavor profile just pops in your mouth. The salty, richness of the blue cheese along with the fresh thyme adds a burst of savory flavor. This tart was simply amazing.
We have really great friends coming to town on Wednesday to have dinner at our house and stay the night. I am the process of finalizing my menu for this special evening. This tomato tart will be the starter to our dinner. I think my friends will be in tomato heaven - can't wait until they arrive!
Heirloom Tomato Tart
Adapted from White on Rice Couple
(Recipe from David Lebovitz)
1 1/2 cups flour
4 1/2 ounces butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Make the dough by mixing 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 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of ice water.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and goes up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.
Basil Pesto Sauce
2 C. Fresh basil leaves, packed tightly
½ C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/3 C. Pine nuts, toasted
½ C. Olive oil
3 Garlic cloves, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
Use a food processor to make this sauce. Simply add the basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic cloves. Pulse for 10 seconds and then slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture while food processor is on. Continue to pulse until the mixture is smooth. Taste and then season with salt and pepper. Place into an airtight container immediately so the bright green color remains. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Tomato Tart Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ C. Baby Heirloom Tomatoes (cut in half)
¼ to ½ C. Pesto (see recipe)
1 T fresh Thyme Leaves
½ C. Blue Cheese (crumbled)
Sea Salt & fresh cracked Black Pepper
Preheat Oven to 400º F.
Make tart dough and roll out into a 9" or 10" tart pan. I used a rectangle tart pan. Trim excess dough.
Press the bottom of the tart with your fingers to "dock" it, making indentions in the bottom. Spread the ¼ to ½ cup of pesto over the bottom of the crust.
Layer tomatoes cut side up, then sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese and add the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until cheese and edges of tomatoes are starting to char, and crust is golden brown.