Saturday, August 14, 2010

Things that Go Well Together

You know when you cook something that is so delectable that you're already plotting to make it again?  That was the feeling I had Thursday night when I tried out David Lebovitz's French Tomato Tart.  I'd been wanting to try a savory tomato tart that was simple enough to fully highlight the delicious tomatoes of the season and this seemed perfect.

We demolished the majority of this tart so quickly that it is actually a little scary.  I originally wanted to tweak the recipe more, but was intrigued by the Dijon mustard layer and ended up staying fairly true to the recipe.  The ingredients all went so well together; but you're also able to taste each individual flavor without the melange overwhelming them.

I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's back up a little.

It was time for another pie dough recipe, this time the classic Pate Brisee (french for short pastry).  Sorry, people.  I cannot figure out how to make the accent aigu and accent grave on blogger or my mac, so we will remain accent-less.  Anyways, I've made this before and it is a solid recipe.  Remarkably similar to Chez Pim's pie dough in ingredients, but lacked the puffiness and layers because you don't fold it over and over.  I'm always amazed at how the technique of cooking and baking can change a recipe so drastically.

I used my new tart pan, to lay the crust down, and cut off the extra (more on what this resourceful midwife does with extra pie crust at the end of this post).  Then I laid down some Maille Old Style Dijon Mustard that has whole mustard seeds - mmmm!

Our dock cherry tomatoes are thriving and if we let 1-2 days go by without plucking the ripe ones off their vines, we have 20-30!  The taste and juiciness is phenomenal - home grown is where it's at.  In planning this tomato tart, I wasn't sure we'd have enough cherry tomatoes to fill the tart, so I bought some farm stand tomatoes to supplement.  I did end up using most of 1 farm stand stand-in, but the rest of the cute cherry tomatoes (and they are cute - I'll show you!) were ours.

Partner in Crime would, I'm sure, like me to let you know that these tomatoes and the rest of the garden are his labor of love.  He has the green thumb and I have the hands covered in flour.  It's a good relationship.

I added the olive oil, fresh herbs (I chose chives, thyme, and rosemary) and goat cheese and got the tart to work in the oven.

While the tart was baking, I diced and sauteed some fresh radishes that I picked up on a whim.  I did this simply in butter with salt and pepper until they were slightly browned and tender.  I find the texture and subtle flavor of a sauteed radish satisfying, but this view is not shared by all, I know.  I may experiment with roasted radishes next.  Or maybe sauteed with garlic and/or white wine.

Dinner was fabulous.  I think the tart was slightly overwhelmed by the magnitude of juiciness in the tomatoes which resulted in non-picturesque pieces.  This, however, did not harm the taste, or oddly the integrity of the crust.  It was more the filling that wouldn't stay together - I guess that's the problem with using cherry tomatoes.  The dough that I used, was slightly different that the dough on the French Tomato Tart recipe.

I followed Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee without sugar, since this is one I've used before.  I made 1/2 the recipe since it makes either one double crust or 2 single 9-10 inch crusts.  With the left over dough, I created an impromptu Banana Chocolate Tart, which was actually the perfect size for 2 people to split after gorging on French Tomato Tart and watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

Being someone who is a banana bread fiend, I never want to be caught unprepared for banana bread.  So I try to keep a supply of frozen ripe bananas.  And being me, I almost always have a few bars of dark chocolate for baking emergencies (you have those too, right?).  The two are great together, actually maybe better together than alone.

Tomatoes, goat cheese and Dijon mustard may now all be grouped together in my mind as well, thanks to this Thursday evening. 

Pie doughs coming soon on Buns in the Oven - experimentation with whole grains, more yogurt, and less butter!

Impromptu Banana Chocolate Tart

Leftover pie dough (you could sub frozen puff pastry here)
Frozen ripe or fresh ripe bananas
2 oz dark good quality dark chocolate (I had 60%)

Serves 1-2

Preheat oven to 400F

Roll out pie dough to a thin round.
Cut banana into small chunks and place in center or round.  Place chocolate, cut into chunks on top of banana.  Fold up edges of dough so that they roughly meet in the center and pinch edges together. *
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown.  I started the tart out in the center of the oven but moved to the top shelf for the last 10 minutes.  Serve warm and enjoy the hot melted chocolate!

*This can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until you are almost ready for dessert.  Then bake and eat.


  1. Yummy! This one made me drool. The tomato tart sounds amazing as anything with tomatoes and cheese should. I'm going to try the banana-chocolate tart in my rice cooker.

  2. yummy looking! I especially love the goat cheese

  3. Thanks! This was really worth it and I'm saving up tomatoes to make an all cherry tomato one soon.

  4. I also want to state that I made an edit to the fresh herbs I used. I don't know why I said Marjoram - I used Thyme, along with Chives and Rosemary.

  5. Ooh- believe it or not I just made a tomato tart in my rice cooker! I kept it simple. Some mozzarella and cheddar on the bottom, topped with tomato slices and covered with salt, pepper, fresh basil and olive oil. Yummy.

  6. Wow that rice cooker is really handy! I wasn't sure what your tomato and cheese availability was over there. Your version sounds great!

  7. A classic French tomato tarte. Nice! I just made one of these last week, but with Cantal instead of goat cheese.

  8. That tomato tart is beautiful -- I've been planning on one all summer long but the summer, my gracious, where HAS it gone?

  9. Alanna - thanks, I was really happy with how nice it turned out. I will be sad to see summer gone and all the wonderful tomatoes and other summer favorites out of season.

    Amy - I don't think I've tasted Cantal. Is it a soft cheese? I haven't found a cheese yet that I don't like and I'm sure the tart was great!