Why did we spend $8 for 2 pints of multi-color heirloom cherry tomatoes at Headhouse Farmers Market in Philly? Because we didn’t grow our own this year. Also, I really wanted to make this tomato tart and, if you’re reading this, then you probably do too.
Tomato tarts are a classic dish in France and really very simple to make. The Dijon mustard makes this tart decidedly French, especially since the Dijon we used was bought on tap at the Maille store in Paris just a few months ago – but more about Paul’s mustard obsession on another post.
There are so many ways to add variety to tomato tarts by adding different herbs and of course, cheese, but this isn’t a pizza so be careful not to overwhelm the tomatoes – this is their chance to shine. When tomatoes are in season, you’ll have no trouble finding these flavorful fruit at your local farm stands – unless you live nowhere near a farm, in which case use whatever tomatoes you can get your hands on.
If you do have access to locally grown heirloom tomatoes, be sure to make the tart crust from scratch to really do the tomatoes flaky and buttery justice. An easy french-inspired tart recipe is below, along with a basic pâté brisée (crust) recipe.
Heirloom Tomato Tart – Recipe
- 6 medium heirloom tomatoes
- 20 or so heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon hungarian hot paprika
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 home made Pâte Brisée tart crust rolled out and pressed into a tart pan (recipe below – or just substitute one thawed, frozen pie crust and one glass of rosé to numb the guilt.)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix the sour cream and dijon mustard together and spread evenly onto the bottom of the tart crust. Cut the 6 medium tomatoes into thin rounds and even distribute around the tart base, overlapping circular patterns on top of the sour cream and mustard layer. Sprinkle salt, pepper, sugar and paprika over tomatoes an bake the tart for 20 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and add the cherry tomatoes and thyme leaves on top, then bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown, and the tomatoes just begin to caramelize. Watch the crust so that it doesn’t become over browned – if necessary mold a ring of aluminum foil around the edge of the pan to shield the crust while letting the tomatoes finish baking. Serve warm right from the oven, or at room temperature.
Pâte Brisée (Tart Crust) – Recipe (from scratch, by hand, yes you can)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 4 oz. unsalted chilled butter (1/2 a stick, cut into cubes, and then chilled again)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ice water (4 or 5 tablespoons)
Combine flour and salt in a bowl, and then add the chilled cubes of butter. The colder the butter, the better! Using your hands, pinch the butter in to the flour until the mixture feels crumbly. Leaving some small lumps of butter is just fine, and will help make the crust flakier. Stir 2 tablespoons of ice water into the beaten egg, and add this egg mixture into the middle of the dry ingredients. Stir together with your hands until a the dough is formed. If all the flour has not worked it’s way into the dough, sprinkle in a little ice water until it all combines. Form a ball with the dough and roll out on a floured surface until large enough for your pan. Using your rolling pin to help transfer the dough to the pan by rolling it up onto the pin a little, and then rolling it back down onto the pan. Press the sides in gently, trim excess dough, and tidy up the edges. Use a fork to poke a few holes into, or dock, the bottom of the pastry so it doesn’t bubble up during baking.