Sunday, 19 August 2012

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Parmesan Pepper Crust

...aka "Shitload of Tomatoes 2: Acidic Boogaloo."

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Parmesan Pepper Crust

Black pepper Parmesan pastry:

1 1/4 cups flour
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water


Heirloom tomatoes
Goat cheese
Fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
Fresh ground black pepper

In a food processor, blend together flour, butter, shortening, Parmesan, and pepper in pulses until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size lumps.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse again until incorporated.

Gently squeeze a small handful.  If it doesn't hold together without falling apart, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition until incorporated, continuing to test.  Do not overwork dough.

Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap loosely, pressing down through the plastic so that dough forms a disk.  Chill in plastic wrap, until firm, for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Put dough into a tart pan and, using fingers and the bottom of a measuring cup, press dough evenly into place, working up sides to the pan edge.  Use the measuring cup bottom to make a flat surface and get into the edges of the pan to make the thickness even.  Lightly prick tart shell all over with a fork.

Line shell with foil.  Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes.  During this time prepare the tomatoes.  Slice tomatoes thinly, using different kinds for visual variety.  Lay slices on paper towels to soak up the moisture.

Carefully remove foil from the tart shell and bake 10 minutes more.  Remove from oven and fill.

First, layer the basil leaves at the bottom of the shell.  Next, crumble goat cheese on top.  These will help form a layer that will prevent the tomato juice from making the shell soggy.  

Layer the tomatoes evenly over the leaves and cheese (you will probably have room for two layers - do not exceed the height of the shell).  Sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper.


Put back into the oven for 20-25 minutes.  I like to finish off with a few seconds of the broiler to make everything golden and bubbly, but be careful it doesn't brown too much.  Cool on a wire rack, remove the pan and slide onto a plate.

You can see nicely here how the basil and cheese have made a useful barrier between the tomatoes and the crust.

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