Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart

I finally made David Lebovitz’s “French Tomato Tart” over the weekend, a recipe I have been eyeing for quite a while. The tart features a rustic crust slathered with Dijon mustard, layered with juicy slices of ripe tomatoes, a dribble of olive oil, then topped with rounds of goat cheese and a scattering of fresh herbs. But the grand finale, mes amis, is what comes just prior to sliding the tart into the oven: a generous drizzling of honey, which in our kitchen happened to be some freshly-harvested honey from a neighbor’s family farm.  

Let’s just say it’s a good thing I made two tarts. When my mother stopped by the next morning and requested a slice, I was embarrassed to admit there was only one piece left and it had been spoken for.

I made a few minor changes to the recipe. I added an extra layer of tomatoes because I couldn’t bear to waste any of the gorgeous heirlooms from Snow’s Bend Farm, one of my favorite stands at our local farmer’s market. The varieties included Ozark Pink, German Johnson, Green Zebra and Sungold cherry tomatoes, and their hues of pink, red, green and orange made the tart really pop.  

Heirloom Tomato Tart

In addition to the goat cheese, I shredded some smoked cheddar goat cheese over the tomato layers. Both goat cheeses were from Bulger Creek Farm and purchased at the farmer’s market. If you want to add a second cheese like I did, shredded gruyère or parmesan would work. Lebovitz recommends using a combination of herbs such as thyme, chives, chervil or tarragon. I had some fresh basil sitting on the counter and was feeling unmotivated to drag an already disgruntled baby down the back steps and into the garden to clip anything else, so basil it was. No complaints here. 

 

Heirloom Tomato Tart

The recipe below will make a standard 9- or 10-inch tart with possibly some dough leftover. I used a tart pan with a removable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons ice water

For the Tart:
Dijon mustard
3 large ripe tomatoes or 5 medium tomatoes, preferably heirloom
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or combination of herbs)
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, sliced into rounds
4 tablespoons gruyère or parmesan, shredded
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Slice the tomatoes 1/4-inch thick and remove the seeds. Place the tomatoes on a paper-towel-lined tray, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Make the dough: Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of ice water and add to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough starts to come together. Add an extra tablespoon of ice water if the dough is too dry. Shape the dough into a ball.

Tear off a large piece of wax paper or parchment paper and add a little bit of flour to it. Transfer the dough ball to the floured parchment paper. With your hands, press the dough ball slightly flat into a disc to make it easier to roll out.  Sprinkle additional flour on top of dough. Tear off a second piece of wax/parchment paper and place on top of dough. With your dough sandwiched between two layers of parchment paper, roll it out large enough to fit into your tart pan. Transfer to pan, pressing the dough on the bottom of the pan and up along the sides, making sure not to pull the dough, which can cause the crust to shrink. Trim any excess dough.

Note: I always, and I mean always, roll dough between pieces of parchment paper with a bit of flour (or powdered sugar, depending on the dough). This helps to prevent the dough from sticking and me from hyperventilating.

Spread an even layer of mustard on the bottom of the tart dough. Pat the tomatoes dry with a paper towel and place half of them (or a few more or less depending on space) on top of the mustard in a single layer. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of basil and 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese over tomatoes, add a little salt and pepper, then drizzle 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil on top. Add a second layer of tomatoes, a little salt and pepper, and drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Arrange the goat cheese rounds on top of the tomatoes, sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese and basil. Drizzle two tablespoons (or more!) of honey on top.

Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes, checking at the half-way point to make sure the crust doesn’t brown too quickly and also to dab away (with a paper towel) any excess water from the tomatoes. If the tart is browning too quickly, cover the crust with foil. Finish the tart under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the goat cheese, but watch closely to make sure the tart doesn’t burn. I slightly scorched the crust on one of my tarts during this step because I wandered out of the kitchen for a few minutes. Be ye not so careless.

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Adapted from David Lebovitz’s “French Tomato Tart,” which he adapted from A Culinary Journey in Gascony

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