I’ve always loved tomatoes, and feel like when they’re in season, not only can you simply not eat too many of them, you can’t eat enough.
My mother, thankfully, feels the same way, which is how we ended up with tomatoes from a friend of hers (the small ones) and from the Denton Farmer’s Market (the large slices underneath) in the first place. Fear of running out of tomatoes. We were both worried, so we stocked up last weekend and put the locally-grown and sold-out-of-the-back-of-a-pickup-truck tomatoes on the windowsill to ripen.
I naturally suggested a Frenchy tomato tart – and the most typical, with crème fraîche and mustard –because I am currently in the midst of reverse homesickness. Yes, I am home home, in Texas, but now I’m missing Paris…and the sweet French cherries…my friend Sandy’s chèvre…the baguettes across the street…trips to G. Detou for giant sacks of noisettes, super-concentrated vanilla, and Michel Cluizel chocolate for baking…and the herb seller at the Belleville market who always gives me extra mint. I’ve read and reread the two French food magazines I bought at the airport in May so many times that I’ve practically memorized the pages.
Of course before I left Paris for Texas, the opposite was true. I must’ve made tacos every night. I’ve always expressed myself through food, and I was so excited to come home that I wanted to taste home before I even got on the plane.
This one’s for you, Paris.
Tomato Tart (Tarte aux Tomates)
Makes one 11-inch/28 cm tart; updated from a previously published post
- 1 prebaked Whole Wheat-Oatmeal Tart crust, recipe follows
- about 4 medium tomatoes (enough to cover the bottom of the tart pan)
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup/237 ml of crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- about 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- a few leaves of fresh basil, roughly torn
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F/180°C.
2. Cut your 4 tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices and set these aside.
3. Whisk together the crème fraîche or sour cream and Dijon mustard and spread this evenly on the bottom of your prebaked tart crust. Arrange the large tomato slices so they’re neatly packed together (there will be shrinkage) and scatter the cherry tomatoes on top, along with the goat cheese crumbles. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top of it all and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Slice into the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the tomatoes have cooked through and gotten a bit wrinkly. Add the fresh basil and serve while it’s still warm or at room temperature.
Whole Wheat-Oatmeal Tart Crust
Makes one 11-inch/28 cm tart crust
- 2 cups/250 grams of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup/50 grams of oatmeal (quick)
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- ¼ cup/60 ml of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ½ cup/120 ml of ice water
1. Line the bottom of an 11-inch/28 cm tart pan with parchment paper (très important — this will keep your crust from sticking to the pan and tearing apart), and preheat the oven to 375°F/180°C.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, and sea salt. Add the oil and honey and mix by hand. Now add your water, little by little (you may not need all of it), and mix just until the dough comes together in a ball.
3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, lay it into the tart pan, and either let about an inch of dough hang over or if you want to be neat, trim the edges by simply rolling your pin over the top. Prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for an hour or pop in the freezer for 30 minutes (my favorite method, because it’s faster), until the dough’s nice and firm.
4. Blind bake your crust. Line the frozen crust with parchment and fill it up with pie weights or dry beans, making sure to push them tightly into the edges, where shrinkage can occur. Put the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, and bake for 10 more minutes, so the bottom cooks through. Let it cool off a bit before you fill it.
Cowgirl Tip: Make savory crackers with your leftover bits of dough. Just spread the pieces out on a cookie sheet – making sure to tear them into pieces approximately the same size so they’ll cook evenly — sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and whatever fresh herbs you’ve got on hand (I like thyme), lightly press or roll into the dough, and bake for 10 minutes, or until the pieces begin to look crispy. This dough is nutty and slightly sweet and these little crackers remind me of Wheat Thins – and just as addictive. You’ve been warned.