Tomato, Goats Cheese and Mustard Tart
I’m not sure what is responsible for my tart-baking obsession of late, sweet or savoury, I just can’t get enough of them. I’ve tried to break the habit, bookmarking and post-it-ing dishes at a rate of knots, but when it comes to getting in the kitchen, it’s the tarts that call to me.
I think part of the problem dates back to the days of Junior Cert Home Economics. In the search for nutritiously balanced exam fare (for someone with a calcium deficiency) I cooked quiche. Specifically, Salmon and Broccoli Quiche. Not just once mind, or even twice. Indeed I’d say I cooked Salmon and Broccoli quiche at least once a week for the better part of three months. Suggestions from The Mammy that I might try some different fillings were knocked out of hand. She didn’t understand home economics I told her. To this, she snorted, regretting, I am sure, her decision to mock me mercilessly for my choice of subject.
So for three months I cooked this little quiche to death. Armed only with my ingredients list and timing plans, I tested smoked salmon (expensive) and tinned salmon (kind of gross, but with more calcium) and various proportions of the two. I found my golden ratio, and then I cooked some more quiche. By the time it came to my exam, even I was stick of that eggy, cheesy mess. The perfect quiche was plated, presented, and quite possibly chucked in the bin. I had cooked my last quiche.
But perhaps in my eagerness to escape from the clutching grasp of the quiche, I overlooked it’s culinary cousin, the tart. Tart is like quiche, only better. You still get the tasty pastry base, the pretty, fluted edges and a wide variety of gorgeous fillings. But they’re lighter, less stodgy and definitely nicer looking. Plus you can have sweet tarts too. I challenge you to find a sweet quiche. But I think the tart and I might have to take a break now, if only because I have found a tart so perfect I would cook it every week.
Yet the fate of the quiche recipe warns me to beware: having cooked it by heart a thousand (exaggeration here is minimal) times, I now have zero recollection of what was involved. In my memory, it tasted better than any other quiche before or since, but I can no longer verify that fact. I no longer eat quiche, because nothing can match up to this distant and quite possibly entirely unrealistic memory.
So I am stepping away from the tarts, or at least from this absolutely delicious tomato, goats cheese and mustard tart. For as long as I can resist.
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.
For one 11″ tart dish (there was enough dough left over to make two individual-sized tarts as well). Half a tart served three for brunch, with green salad and asparagus on the side.
210g plain flour
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons cold water
Dijon mustard. I used Tarragon Dijon Mustard though you could also use wholegrain mustard or even pesto for a different flavour.
4 ripe vine tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (thyme, chives or tarragon) – if not using flavoured mustard
200g goats cheese, cut into rounds.
1. To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the butter. Use a pastry blender (or your hands) to mix until the mixture has a breadcrumb-like consistency.
2. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, then make a well in the middle of the flour mix and stir in the egg until the dough comes together. If the mixture is to dry, add cold water, a tablespoon at a time.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and roll, using only enough flour to ensure it doesn’t stick. When the dough it the right size for the pan (large enough to cover the base and go up the sides) roll it onto your rolling pin to easily transfer it to the tart dish.
4. Gently fit the dough to the dish, then run your rolling pin across the top of the dish to ensure a clean edge.
5. Preheat the oven to 210°C.
6. Spread a layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart and leave to one side to dry while you prepare the tomatoes, slicing them into rounds.
7. Arrange the tomatoes over the mustard in an even, single layer, then drizzle with olive oil. Top with the goats cheese rounds and the fresh herbs, if using.
8. Cook the tart in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the oven down to 170°C once the cheese has browned (for me this was after 15 minutes).