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French Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese Dijon Mustard & Fresh Herbs

French Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese Dijon Mustard & Fresh Herbs

This tart is a perfect way to use the new heirloom and other ripe fresh tomatoes that are arriving at the farmer’s market or your favorite store. The recipe is adapted from one by David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Kate Hill. You can find her recipe for Tarte de Tomatoes Matelot in her book A Culinary Journey in Gascony 

It works well as as a starter, cut into thin slices, or perhaps with a salad for lunch, served with a chilled rosé from Provence. The goat cheese, tomatoes, a bit of Dijon mustard and fresh herbs provide an especially good balance of flavors and textures. But you can substitute any type of cheese that melts well. I frequently use Gruyère, Comté, or Fontina. You can replace the the mustard with pesto or add a layer of caramelized onions under the tomatoes. You can also add a slight drizzle of honey over the tomatoes before baking the tart.

The pastry in the tart is a Pâte Brisée Salée or savory short crust and it produces an extremely rich, buttery and flaky crust.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling

2 or 3 large ripe tomatoes, heirloom if available, sliced, and placed in a colander, with a pinch of salt, for about 15 minutes, to drain

8 oz of fresh goat cheese, sliced into rounds or crumbled

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, thyme or chives

Extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

4 1/2 ounces chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes or rounds

sea salt

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten 2-3 tablespoons of ice water

Method

Add the flour and a pinch of salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to mix the salt with the flour. Add the cold butter and pulse several times until the mixture is crumbly. You do not want the butter to be fully incorporated into the flour. Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water to the egg and then add it to the food processor. Pulse again until the dough just comes together . If it is still dry add the other tablespoon of water and pulse a few times until the dough does hold together. It is important to not overwork the dough.

You can also mix the ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender until they are crumbly and hold together. A good detailed description of both methods, with images, can be found at Recipes from Tom.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form it into a disk. Roll the dough until it is about 1/8” thick and large enough for your tart pan. Place the dough into the pan, trim the edges and dock the bottom of the pastry.

(The dough can rest in the refrigerator in plastic wrap for about an hour or overnight, but it is not necessary. The original recipe calls for placing the tart in the oven without resting and the results have always been outstanding for me. If you do let it rest in the refrigerator, remove the dough about 30 minutes before using.)

Preheat the oven to 425o F.

Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the bottom of the tart and let it sit for a few minutes to dry. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on top of the mustard. Drizzle some olive oil on the tomatoes, sprinkle some of the fresh herbs and freshly ground black pepper. Then add the goat cheese on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle the balance of the fresh herbs.

Bake the tart for about 15 to 20 minutes. At that point the pastry should be a golden,the tomatoes tender and the cheese lightly caramelized on the edges. If the tart is not quite done, continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes. You can also finish caramelizing the cheese under the broiler if necessary.