Friday, August 28, 2015

Tomato and Dijon Tart with Parmesan and Basil Crust

I think everyone agrees that this season's harvest is exceptional.  Summer produce is ripe at alarming rate and the sheer number of yields can be overwhelming.  What to do with hundreds of zucchinis, tomatoes, green beans?  Will there an end to cucumbers and peppers?  I like to tell people that for every garden, one can only have 1 zucchini plant!  But, really, seeing those wonderful produce is heartening and eating is naturally more enjoyable with the freshest local fruits and vegetables.

Here's a recipe to help you use the over abundant tomatoes.  It's a tart that with an addition of basil leaves and Parmesan emanates aromatic, sweet and cheesy.  The combo works well with tomatoes and savory custard filling.

Tomato and Dijon Tart with Parmesan and Basil Crust

Serves 6-8

For the dough:
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
10 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

For the filling:
3-4 ripe, medium tomatoes, all of similar size and shape, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2/3 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup creme fraiche
2 large eggs
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To make the dough:  Process the flour, Parmesan, butter, basil leaves, and salt together in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine green bread crumbs.  Add the egg and 1 tablespoon cold water, and bring the mixture together to form a soft dough.  Add a little extra water if needed.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to a large circle about 1/8-inch thick and use to line the tart pan, making sure it overlaps the sides.  Trim all but 1/2-inch of the overhanging dough.  Prick the bottom with a fork, line with parchment paper, and fill with baking beans.  Place it on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until the dough is lightly cooked.  Remove the beans and paper, and bake for another 5 minutes to crisp.  Trim off any ragged edges while still warm.  Reduce the heat to 350F.

For the filling:  Place the tomatoes in an overlapping circle around the edge of the tart.  Fill the center with a smaller circle of tomato slices.  Scatter the chopped parsley over the tomatoes.  Whisk together the half-and-half, creme fraiche, eggs, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Place the tart back on a baking sheet and carefully pour the cream mixture over the tomatoes.  Scatter the grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden on top and the filling has just set.  Set the tart aside to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating warm or cold.  This is best eaten the day it is made.

Source:  adapted from Pies: Sweet and Savory by Caroline Bretherton

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