Tonight's dinner was a choice between using up blue cheese or goat cheese...guess which won? This tart is full of flavour, the sweetness and juiciness of the tomatoes, the tang of the cheese and lemon zest, and the pinenuts add a nice crunch.
As there was no pastry in the freezer I got that under way first. The recipe that works best for all types of pies, tarts and quiches is the shortcrust pastry from David Wood's Food Book. The recipe makes enough for 3 crusts.
I prefer to make pastry in the stand mixer using the paddle attachment, as opposed to in the food processor. It is too easy to overwork the dough in the food processor. The mixer takes a bit longer, but you end up with a nicer result.
Place 3 1/3 cups of flour and 9 ounces of cold butter, cut into small pieces, into the bowl of the stand mixer. If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly, with a few small pieces of butter (the size of peas) scattered throughout.
In a small bowl whisk together 2 egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of ice cold water.
With the mixer running on low, add the egg mixture. If the dough is still too dry - not starting to clump together - add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time, until the dough starts to form clumps. It is very important that you do not overmix the dough, turning it off in between additions and on only long enough to mix in the water. When the dough reaches the desired consistency, tip it out onto the counter and very gently press it into a rough ball.
The dough just starting to form clumps in the mixer .
A rough ball of dough, ready for dividing.
Divide the dough into 3 equal sized pieces, approximately 10 1/2 ounces each.
Gently press each ball of dough into a disc and wrap well with plastic wrap.
Place the dough for the tart into the fridge for 2 hours to rest before rolling it out.
Place the remaining 2 pieces of dough into freezer bags and keep in the freezer for another time.
To roll the dough out, allow the chilled dough to warm up for 30 minutes, before placing it onto a lightly floured board and rolling it out to approximately 1/8" thick, and slightly larger than a 9" tart shell. To stop the dough from sticking to the board, turn it a quarter turn every few rolls. Use flour sparingly, on the board and the top of the dough, just to avoid sticking. Too much flour will make the dough toughen up.
Gently lift the dough and line the tart shell.
Place in the freezer to chill while the oven pre-heats to 425F.
Using a piece of foil and some rice or dried beans as weights, bake the shell for 15 minutes. The foil helps stop the pastry sides from falling, as well as stops the bottom from puffing up too much.
Gently remove the foil. Turn the oven down to 350F. Place the shell back into the oven to allow the bottom to dry out. This should take about 5 - 7 minutes.
The edges of the crust will be lightly golden, and the bottom dry. If it bubbles up slightly, prick the bubble to allow the steam to escape.
For the filling, start by heating 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan, and adding 2 cups of grape tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes start to colour, then add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for another minute or so, the tomatoes will just start to burst. Turn off the heat and add 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
In a bowl combine:
6 ounces of soft goat cheese
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of chopped chives
Spread this mixture onto the bottom of the tart shell.
Place the cooked tomatoes on top of the goat cheese filling and bake at 350F until the goat cheese is set, approximately 25 minutes.
After 20 minutes, sprinkle a few pinenuts over the tart so that they will toast during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove the tart from the oven and scatter roughly chopped fresh basil over the top. Scrumptious!!!
With a fresh green salad and some asparagus, a perfect patio dinner for a hot summer evening.
Some side notes: I did not realise how short of cheese I was when I set out to make this...I only had 2 ounces. A trip to the store was not appealing, so I decided to try using plain Greek non fat yoghurt for the remaining 4 ounces of cheese. Almost as thick and the same tangy flavour...it worked perfectly! It actually cut the richness of the cheese a bit, and more than likely the cost.
Try different herbs, or even the baby heirloom tomatoes that seem to be everywhere right now, the different colours will really brighten up the visual appeal.
As for the pastry, having a round or two in the freezer is a huge bonus when you have leftover chicken and decide to make chicken pot pie...