For years I never was much of a tomato fan. With the exception of cooked tomatoes, I usually took a pass. But now with all the new (actually old) heirloom varieties available, my opinion has changed. What once seemed sour and mealy is now varied and interesting. Now in late summer, I cannot grow tired of them. But after countless pastas and Caprese Salads, I seek out other uses. One of my favorite summer lunches is a Burgundian-style French tomato tart.
This tart uses a 9″ (23cm) tart shell from the Perfect Tart Shell developed based on my research. This shell is a great improvement, it is easy to make, tasty, and flaky. It is a variation of a mustard tart presented by Dorie Greenspan, which in itself is a variation of a typical Burgundian dish. From my research, it seems that most French preparations are fairly spartan with practically only mustard and tomatoes in the shell. I like the addition of the créme Fraiche(or plain creme, if you don’t have crème Fraiche handy) and egg that Ms. Greenspan suggests for more substance.
Notes on Ingredients
Choice of Tomato
This recipe will accommodate any tomato of any size or type. However, it is an excellent opportunity to show off heirloom tomatoes. In the accompanying photos, I used both colorful orange and red varieties.
By the way, let’s be frank about something. Tomatoes come in odd sizes and they vary from top to bottom. If you use the whole tomato, it is going to show differences in sizes, as mine does. So it is not picture-perfect? So what. It is natural and tasty.
Notes on Technique
Baking the Crust
If you follow the Perfect Tart Dough process, the shell is pretty foolproof. You do need to pay attention to the crust in the pre-baking and not overcook it. I recommend first baking with parchment paper and pie weights followed by a few minutes of baking blind (without weights). Since the shell will be baked more with the filling, it should be light brown when removed from the oven after the pre-bake.
11" Tart Shell
- 360g (3 cups) flour
- 25g (scant 2 tablespoons) sugar
- 7g (1 tablespoon) salt
- 170g (6 ounces or 12 Tablespoons) butter chilled and cut into about ½ inch (1 cm) cubes
- 1 large egg
- 65g (ample 1/4 cup) crème fraiche
- 30ml (1 ounce) water
- 1 large (or 2 medium) tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp Grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, (may be labeled Ancient or Country Style)
- 6 tbsp crème fraiche or heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- 2 rosemary sprigs
To make the dough
- If using a mixer, chill the bowl, and paddle in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together.
- Assemble the mixer and bowl, and add dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, slowly add the cubes of butter. Mix for two or three minutes. The butter should be well cut into the dough. After all the pieces of butter are added, increase the speed slightly. Slivers of butter should remain visible. If some bigger chunks remain, work the bigger pieces of butter into the flour between your fingers.
- Beat the egg in with the creme fraiche and mix into the dough with the mixer still on low. The dough should start binding together. Add water if needed to improve texture.
- Turn out the dough onto a cutting board (or work surface). Using your hands, quickly work the dough together into one ball.
- Roll the dough into a disc. Cover with wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. If you are not planning to use it immediately wrap it well and it will freeze well for at least two months.
To partially bake the shell
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375°F.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface or between two pieces of wax paper. The disc shape should start you on the way. Work quickly to keep the dough cold while rolling not stretching. If working on a floured surface turn the dough with a quarter turn frequently to keep it from sticking.
- Place the dough inside the tart pan. Carefully push into corners without stretching. Trim excess dough from the edges and save it for another use. Prick the surface of the dough slightly with a fork to prevent air bubbles. Prick all areas of the crust. Cover the dough with foil or parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until crust edges are lightly browned. Remove the paper or foil and weights from the tart shell and bake blind for about 5 more minutes to get a light brown crust. (These times assume there will be approximately 30 minutes more baking after the tart is filled. Adjust as needed.)
- After pre-baking the tart shell, raise the temperature to 425°F.
- Chop the rosemary leaves. Preserve one tender tip of the rosemary to place in the center of the tart before baking.
- Whisk together the eggs, crème Fraiche, and mustard. At this point, you will need to judge the strength of your mustard -- adding more or less depending on the taste. Add salt and pepper as desired.
- Slice the tomatoes into about 1 cm (1/3 to 1/2 inch) slices.
- Pour the egg/cream mixture into the pre-baked tart, gently spreading over the complete tart. Be careful not to overfill given that the tomato slices are to be added.
- Arrange the tomato slices on top of the egg/cream mixture. Arrange the slices close together with an eye to the aesthetics of the final product, but do not overlap. Salt the tops of the tomatoes. Top with a small tender sprig of rosemary.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the tart is puffed and lightly browned. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 533Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 278mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g
Calculated Nutrition is estimated.