How To Make An Heirloom Tomato And Goat Cheese Tart
I wait all year for beautiful, ripe summer tomatoes. And when they finally show up, I can't get enough of them. They're great in salads, especially Caprese; they're wonderful paired with feta and watermelon; they make flavorful soups and sauces; and, if you really want to showcase their beauty and range of colors, they make the most stunning tarts.
I love making tarts and tartlets, whether savory or sweet. They always look so neat and perfect, making them especially visually appealing. This tart is no exception.
Some tomato tarts get a custardy filling, but I see no reason to drown the tomatoes in other ingredients that take away from them. This tart layers the tomatoes over crumbled goat cheese and dresses them lightly with fleur de sel, basil, thyme, and extra-virgin olive oil.
The recipe I used comes from Rustic Italian by Domenica Marchetti. I followed it almost exactly as written, except that the recipe is for a 9-inch tart, and I made an 11-inch tart, so I made a batch and a half of the tart dough. (I also ran out of all-purpose flour while making the dough so I swapped in a little whole-wheat flour.) Because I didn't make significant changes, this isn't a recipe so much as a guide to making a tomato tart.
How To Make A Tomato Tart
Make and chill your favorite savory tart dough (make enough for whatever size tart pan you want to use). Let it sit out for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling it out so it becomes malleable (and preheat your oven at this time -- this recipe calls for 425 degrees). Roll the dough out on a lightly floured counter (if you're using a circular tart pan, you want your dough round about 2 inches bigger than the pan, so a roughly 13-inch circle for an 11-inch tart pan). Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and then gently roll it around your rolling pin and unroll it over your tart pan. Ease the dough into the corners of the pan. Then take your rolling pin and roll it along the top of the pan to cut away the excess dough. (This is how you get really nice edges.)
Pull away the excess dough. You should be left with a neatly lined tart pan. Press a piece of parchment into the tart pan and fill it with rice, dried beans, or pie weights. Bake the tart for about 10 minutes and then remove the parchment and rice, beans, or pie weights, and continue to bake the tart until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes more. Set it aside to cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
If desired, reroll any excess dough and use it to make individual tart shells following the same process.
Slice a few different-colored heirloom tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Chiffonade-cut some basil, and have some thyme sprigs, fleur de sel, and extra-virgin olive oil at the ready.
Crumble goat cheese all over the bottom of the tart shell. (I used about 6 ounces for an 11-inch tart.)
Layer the tomato slices over the goat cheese.
Season the tomatoes with fleur de sel. Scatter the basil on top, and then slide your fingers down the thyme sprigs to distribute the leaves over the tomatoes. Lightly drizzle the olive oil over the whole tart.
Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the tart. (This recipe calls for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees.) Be sure to turn the tart halfway through baking so it bakes evenly. You want the crust to look golden and the tomatoes to shrivel around the edges.
Let the tart cool for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove the sides from the pan. Slide the tart onto a cutting board or serving platter, cut it into wedges, and serve it warm or at room temperature.
I think this tomato tart is incredibly easy to prepare -- the tart dough is the hardest part and that merely requires a bit of pulsing in the food processor and some chilling time along with rolling out and fitting the dough in the pan. The tart makes an eye-catching appetizer perfect for serving along with a cheese board and can be an impressive first course or side dish too.
What's your favorite way to use summer tomatoes?
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