Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tomato Cheese Tart

I've been promising to publish the recipe for my Tomato Cheese Tart. So since I promised Kathleen yesterday that she'd find it on my blog, I'd better publish it! Anyway, the correct tomatoes won't be around for long.

When I found this recipe, it called for plum tomatoes. If you find some good ones, they can be used in a pinch. But I make this over and over during the brief time I can find dry-farmed tomatoes (usually Early Girl). These are tomatoes that are grown with little water. The result is that they are less watery and more intensely flavored. The Whole Foods stores in Sonoma County get them from a farm in Sebastopol - so they're local. I have also found them at the farmers market.

Both dry-farmed and plum tomatoes are less watery, which is important because baking releases the water - and you don't want a soggy tart! I actually include some yellow tomatoes (the ones I find are an intense yellow color and are small and I use two) for a prettier tart. Of course, using all red tomatoes is just fine.

Tomato Gruyere Tart
Makes 1 11" tart

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
4 Tbs. chilled butter
4-1/2 Tbs. shortening
1/4 c. orange juice (or cold water)

Combine flours and seasonings. Cut in butter and shortening. Stir in liquid until the dough starts to come together. Form into a disk with your hands. Roll out to fit an 11" removable bottom tart pan. The dough breaks easily and you will probably have to patch it - which is fine. It may crack on the bottom during baking - fine again. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Line the pastry with foil and top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake another 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

2 c. grated Gruyere cheese
5 medium red dry-farmed tomatoes - 5 thin slices each, don't use ends
2 medium yellow tomatoes - 5 thin slices each, don't use ends
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Lay the slices of tomato on a triple thickness of paper towels. Sprinkle all over with salt. Allow to stand at least 1/2 hr., preferably 1 hr. This removes some of the moisture. Blot dry with some additional paper towels. Paper towels can be composted.

Spread the cheese in the cooled tart shell. Reserve the three smallest slices of red tomato. Overlap the remaining red slices around the outer edge of the tart. Overlap the yellow slices inside the red ring, overlapping in the opposite direction. Place the three small slices in the middle of the tart. The tart should be covered. Brush on the olive oil. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing. Can also be eaten at room temperature.