09 June 2010

Recipe - French Tomato Tart

Recipe - French Tomato Tart

The other day my parents visited from Northumberland, and as it was a gorgeous sunny Thursday, I plucked up the courage to try one of David Lebovitz's recipes.  It's always a matter of bravery as I am in awe at other people's ability to make seemingly perfect pastry as mine rarely seems to meet the challenge adequately, or perhaps I am just constantly craving for an unachievable better taste. 

This particular pastry was a lot wetter than those I am normally used to, but it came out a wonderful rich and flakey texture that was just perfect.  As always, my available ingredients and equipment did not match the original recipe, but they seemed to work pretty well, so here is my annotated recipe. 

This is great summer food and works in the same flavour bracket as my Summer Vegetable Tart, which is one of my stock in trade recipes; I found it in a newspaper so long ago that I have lost the original clipping and cannot even remember who to thank (so thank you whoever created the original recipe).


For the pastry

210g (7½ oz) Organic plain flour, sieved

½ teaspoon Natural sea salt, sieved with plain flour

125g (4½ oz) Unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes and softened

1 Free range egg, large

2 tablespoons Cold water

For the tomato filling

2 teaspoons Grainy mustard

2 – 3 Large ripe tomatoes, finely sliced

1 Small orange pepper or ½ a yellow sweet pepper

2 tablespoons Olive oil

1 teaspoon Sea salt and pepper or Steenbergs Perfect Salt seasoning

2 tablespoons Fresh thyme and chives, chopped finely

125g (4oz) Goat’s cheese, finely sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC / 390oF.
  2. You can use frozen shortcrust or puff pastry or make your own as we do here in this recipe.  Firstly, you need to sieve together the organic plain flour and the sea salt.  Next put in the softened butter cubes and rub with your fingertips into the organic plain flour until you get to a breadcrumbs' consistency.
  3. In a separate bowl, add together the cold water and the free range egg.  Whisk together lightly and then tip into the plain flour mixture and stir together using a knife.  This pastry is a pretty damp, glutinous mixture.

    Making Pate Brisee

    Rolling Out The Pastry

  4. I then quickly greased two 15cm wide flan dishes, then rolled out the pastry and lined each of the flan dishes, using my fingers to get the pastry into the edges.  I kept a little bit of the pastry over the edges of the flan dish, cutting off the remnants and letting the kids eat those - you could use them to make some extra mini tarts or save them for later.  Spread the mustard evenly over the pastry base and then put this in oven to start the baking process for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, I sliced the tomatoes and goat's cheese thinly and prepared the orange peppers by chopping them into smallish pieces.  I picked some fresh herbs from the garden and chopped these finely.
  6. Remove the part-baked pastry from the oven and then arrange over this the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle over the chopped colourful pepper and fresh herbs, plus the salt and pepper or Steenbergs organic Perfect Salt seasoning.  Drizzle over the olive oil, then arrange the goat's cheese over the top.

    Drizzling Olive Oil Over Tomatoes

  7. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes in the oven.
  8. You can either serve this warm or (as I prefer) cold with new potatoes and salad.

Cooked French Tomato Tart