This recipe for French Tomato + Goat Cheese Tart is one of my favorite ways to eat beautiful summer heirloom tomatoes. So flavorful and satisfying!
It's official: I no longer have a kitchen.
I know, man. It's a lot to wrap my head around.
Last week, I woke up dreaming about this beautiful French tomato tart that I had made a few years ago. You guys dream about food, too, don't you?
It had a crispy, buttery crust, tangy Dijon mustard, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and big rounds of creamy goat cheese - that to the unknowing eye looked a little more like seared scallops than cheese (oops, sorry Chaser).
I've been harvesting an insane bounty of tomatoes out of my garden lately, and I knew this would be the PERFECT way to use them up. I hopped out of bed and started making a mental list of all the ingredients I'd need. Flour, check... butter, check... tomatoes, check... Yep, got it all.
I pulled out the flour and was ready to start the crust, when Chaser walked in and asked me what I was doing. "Remember that awesome tomato and goat cheese tart I made a few years ago?" I said.
"Sure... You're making that now?"
I looked at him, excited, "Yeah!!"
He scratched his head, puzzled, and said… “Uhhhh…. ok. Well, do you need to use the oven?” And I said, “Uhhh….. yeah?”
"Cole, we're ripping out the kitchen today. We're not going to have an oven... Like, for a while. You do realize that... Right?”
Ok, sure. Perhaps I hadn't really thought this whole "new kitchen" thing through. Of course, I'm really excited about replacing my old dingy kitchen. But I guess I hadn't really considered the fact that I'll be without one during the whole renovation process. A few days is one thing. That's totally doable. But weeks... possibly months? This is a big deal.
Luckily, Chaser allowed me to follow through with my plan and make the tart anyway. He waited until after it was finished to start demoing the kitchen. He's a good guy like that. But deep down, I'm pretty sure he just wanted to eat it too.
The tart starts with a simple Pâte Brisée, or an all-butter pastry crust. It sounds fancy, but it's really just a humble little dough. Pastry crust can be one of those things that makes people want to claw their eyes out. But don't do that, you guys. Seriously, it's only pie.
If you've struggled to make pastry crust in the past, give it another go. Don't get discouraged if it hasn't always turned out perfect. It takes some practice to master, which is exactly why you should get back in the saddle and try again.
Now, this isn't my grandma's pie crust (we'll get to that another time), it's a classic French dough that can be adapted to many recipes. But if you wanted to sub in your favorite crust recipe (I'm lookin' at you, Grandma), I bet it would work out just fine. Just be sure to omit any sugar in the recipe, as this here is a savory pie.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making this dough, or any short pastry crust for that matter. You want to be sure the dough is cold at all times. This is especially important if it's warm or humid in the house. Placing bowls and ingredients in the freezer for a few minutes can make all the difference in the world.
You really want the dough to be cold when it goes into the oven, so I like to place the whole rolled out crust into the freezer prior to assembling the tart. This will help make the crust extra flaky, and keep it from shrinking while it bakes.
I like to mix the dough by hand, but many prefer to do it in a food processor. You do whatever makes you comfortable. The food processor works faster, which is a plus in and of itself, but it also helps keep the ingredients from getting too warm. However, because it works so fast, it can make over-mixing happen a lot easier. You want the dough to just come together. The more you mix, the tougher it will become.
The only other important element to this tart is to use really good, ripe, in-season, NEVER REFRIGERATED tomatoes. Don't try pulling this recipe out in the dead of winter when the tomatoes are blah at best. It will be a major disappointment, and then you'll be all mad that you wasted the time and effort.
Make this tart right now.
After all, You do have a fully functional kitchen, don't you?