In my humble opinion, no other fresh, ripe vegetable shouts summertime like a tomato (even though technically it’s fruit!). In New England, it seems as though we wait and wait for them. The season is always too short.
Tomato and mozzarella salad, fresh sauce, tomato sandwiches and the like are consumed in our house with reckless abandon until the season is over. If you love tomatoes too, here is a delicious recipe that just might become part of your seasonal tomato recipe repertoire.
Don’t let the fact that a pie/tart crust needs to be made for this recipe deter you from making it. Home-made crust is so much better than a store-bought crust. It is easy to make. At the bottom of the recipe under "recipe notes" I have tips to ensure your success. Once you get the hang of it, making a crust and rolling it out should take you 10-15 mins (less chill time for the dough).
French Tomato and Dijon Tart
4 ½ ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into smaller cubes
1 1/2 Cups Pastry or All-Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg - beaten
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water
- Dijon Mustard
2-3 larger sized fresh tomatoes- sliced (if you can find red and yellow all the better as both colors make a beautiful presentation. But not necessary)
3 tablespoons of O’Live Little’s Black Pepper Extra Virgin Olive Oil or any O'Live A Little's Traditional Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh tarragon (or parsley, thyme, chives, or a combo). Just an aside… if you can find tarragon, it is just delish on this tart. The other herbs are more typical and maybe not as interesting
6-8 oz of fresh goat cheese sliced into ½ rounds
1 ½ tablespoons of honey (optional, but highly recommended)
Pastry Crust Ingredients
For The Tart Filling
TO MAKE THE TART DOUGH: Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl large enough to use a hand pastry blender to work the flour and butter together. Add the butter (that has already been cut into 1” pieces.)
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg and 2 tablespoons of water. Using a fork mix all the ingredients until the dough holds together. If it is not coming together easily, add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time (see “a” in recipe notes below).
Gather the dough into a ball. Place a piece of plastic wrap on your work area and put the dough in the middle of it. With your hands, press the dough down and flatten into a 3-4” round. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of dough and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into an approx. 8” circle. Gather up the excess plastic wrap around the dough round. Put round into fridge to chill for at least an hour or until you are ready to use it. (you could freeze it at this point if desired).
TO ASSEMBLE THE TART:
Set oven to 425 degrees. If using a 10” or 12” tart pan or ring, spray a bit of non-stick spray on pan/ring and place on parchment lined sheet pan. Or you can make this tart “free-form”.
Working quickly, roll out dough wide enough to cover bottom and sides of tart pan or ring. Line the pan/ring with the dough by picking up the rolled out sheet and placing and then forming onto pan/ring. If making a free form tart, roll out dough to 14” and then transfer to a parchment or silpat line sheet pan.
Spread a thin even layer of Dijon mustard onto bottom.
If doing free-form, leave a 2” boarder around the edge free of Dijon and all other ingredients.
Arrange sliced tomatoes in single layer over the Dijon and drizzle the olive oil.Sprinkle with herbs, arrange goat cheese rounds on top and drizzle with honey.Sprinkle with salt.
For the free-form method, fold up the extra 2” of dough along the border on top of the tomatoes. If desired, you can brush the 2” top edge with a bit of eggwash
Place tart in oven, bake for 10 minutes and then turn oven up to 475 degrees and bake for approx. 20 more minutes. The high heat helps dry out the tart, as the tomatoes are very moist and can make the tart soggy. So, blasting the tart with high heat helps dry it out. Keep an eye on the tart to ensure the goat cheese does not burn or get to brown. It’s ready when much of the initially moisture you will see is gone and the cheese is a bit brown. If you are concerned that the goat cheese will burn, you could put the cheese on top of the tart after the first 10 minutes of baking.
When done, allow the tart to cool a bit, remove from tart pan/ring if using and then slice and enjoy! Serve with a crisp green salad and either a chilled Chablis or Cote Du Rhone.
Pie/Tart Dough Tips
a. When I was in culinary school, the chef who was teaching Classical French Pastry said, “you need to starve your pie/tart crust of water”. Because the goal is a flaky crust, this tip, in my opinion is the single most important part of making a good pie/tart crust. Use very little ice-cold water. You will most likely need to use your hands to bring the crust together by squeezing the entire mixture together with your hands once all the ingredients have been added and initially blended. Start with the least amount of water the recipe calls for (or less) and mix and then try to squeeze it all together. If it is still too crumbly to come and stay together add a bit more water, then try again. Work quickly and remember your hands are warm and will warm up the dough, so do not over work it.
b. Cold is the word when making pie/tart dough. Cold butter, cold eggs and ice-cold water
c. Use a hand pastry blender. It’s an inexpensive item and makes short work of blending the butter into the flour.
d. Blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a course cornmeal
e. Make sure the dough is cold before rolling out
f. Use a liberal amount of flour underneath and on top of the dough when rolling out. And keep moving the crust around the countertop so it doesn’t stick. Brush off any excess flour before using
g. It is just as easy to make a double or triple recipe of this dough. Make it, divide it equally, partially roll out each piece, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Then you will have some already for the next tart or pie.
h. And, just for a bit more info, what you are going for when the crust is baking is the small butter pieces melt and create steam, which lifts the water starved flour mixture. This is what creates a flaky crust.