Hitting play again
The lists are growing. The calendar is making no sense. The colors need to change. It’s the second start of the same chapter. Time to press the turbo on whatever you have been leaving behind. The end of summer has always meant for me the beginning of a second chance, mostly for procrastinators. It’s like the procrastinators New Year!
After these hot days, the ones where you are lazy thinking time around you just stopped, I retake the list of projects I want to materialize beyond the paper. Most of them are recipes I’ve wanted to cook or new color palettes I want to incorporate to my pictures. But there’s always something new following the final days of summer.
Big, juicy, red tomatoes are the quintessential way to say good-bye to summer. That’s why I wanted to make a delicious, crispy and fruity tomato and mustard tart. A recipe idea I’ve been hoarding since probably two years ago. Not exaggerating.
All the flavors go so well with each other. You have the two type of acidic notes; the sweet one from the tomatoes and the bitter one form the mustars. The herbes de Provence make it fresh (and French) with all the mellow herb notes. And you traditionally wouldn’t think in ginger with this flavors but I’m not traditional, so here it went. It gave this tart and nice bite in your tongue, without making it spicy. The crust is soft and buttery and you just can’t have enough. It’s one of the best dishes I have made. Summer most me very proud of me!
1. Very chilled butter is key in any piecrust. I cut mine in pieces over it’s own paper and placed it in the freezer for five minutes, while you prepare your other ingredients and equipment.
2. When making piecrust, knowing what you are looking for is more important than times. Work your ingredients until you reach the texture the recipe calls for. Times given are just to give you an idea.
3. After taken out of the fridge, I found out the dough behaves much better after some minutes of kneading before stretching it with the rolling pin.
4. When rolling dough do not use a back and forth stroke. Start in the center and stretch outward. After some stretching you may see the dough breaking a bit on the edges because that area is thinner. Only in that spot you can make small back and forth strokes with you rolling pin. When the dough gets back in shape continue stretching it from the center out.
5. If the dough gets any cracks while transferring it to the pie dish just press it with your fingers. If it breaks completely, make a ball again, knead for about 30 seconds and start over with the stretching. It will probably behave better this second time.
6. The amount of garlic in this recipe is very little so I just used the fresh ground garlic jar from the supermarket and it worked perfectly.
7. Some of the steps here are to prevent sogginess in the crust, such as the mustard on the bottom or the shallots in between the tomatoes and the dough. I also absorb some of excess liquid trapped between the tomatoes after taking the tart out of the oven.
Tomato & mustard tart
Total time - 2 hours, including time for chilling the doughActive time - 25 minutes
Equipment - Food processor, 10" tart pan or pie dish, rolling pin
Enough for two regular 10” crusts or a 10” crust plus decorations
Unbleached all purpose flour – 3 cups
Raw sugar – 2 TBSP
Fine sea salt – 2 ½ Tsp
Unsalted butter, chilled and cut in pieces (see notes) – 2 sticks
Full fat organic coconut milk – ⅓ coconut milk
Iced water – 2 to 3 TBSP
Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor already attached to its base. Pulse a couple of times to integrate everything. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter incorporates into the flour and a coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour the coconut milk through the lid hole with the food processor running. Continue pulsing for 30 seconds more, until pea size crumbles start to form. Pour 2 tablespoons of the iced water first to help the blades run smoothly and start forming a dough ball. Pour an extra tablespoon if needed and pulse a bit more just until the dough holds itself. Take out the dough from the food processor bowl and divide it in two halves. Kneed each a bit and flatten out to form a flat disk of 6 to 7 inches approximately. Wrap each disk with plastic paper and place them in the fridge for 1 hour.
Tomato and mustard filling
Beefsteak tomatoes – 6 to 8 tomatoes
Basil mustard (or regular Dijon mustard with some fresh chopped basil) – 3 TBSP
Grainy mustard – ½ TBSP
Ground dried ginger – ¼ Tsp
Herbes de Provence – 1 Tsp
Ground sage – ¼ Tsp
Ground garlic – ¼ Tsp (see notes)
Extra virgin olive oil – 1 TBSP
Asiago Cheese, grated – 1 ½ TBSP, divided
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp + 2 pinches
Unbleached all purpose flour – 2 Tsp
Shallots, diced – ¼ cup
Prepare a dry area or large tray with double paper towels. Slice the tomatoes in ¼” thick slices and placed them on the paper towel. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the pinch of the salt and turn them upside down. Sprinkle the other side with just an extra pinch of salt. Let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a small bowl mix the mustards, herbes de Provence, sage, garlic, oil, half of the Asiago cheese and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Add in the flour and mix once more. Set aside.
To assemble the tart
Preheat oven to 350°.
Take 1 disk of dough out of the fridge and let it soften enough to knead it with your hands (don’t let it come to room temperature completely). Knead a few times and then start to stretch it with your hands into a circle. Place the dough in a clean flat surface (see notes) and using a rolling pin start stretching it from the center outwards forming a circle. Stretch until you have a circle an inch larger that your pie dish. Roll the dough in on your rolling pin and transfer over your tart pan, carefully arranging it on the center. Start pressing gently the dough in the center of the dish until you reach the edge. If you feel air beneath the dough on the edge just pull up the border and let it kind of sink into the dish, helping with your fingers. Gently press the dough on the border toward the fluted pan wall.
With the back of a spoon spread about 1 tablespoon of the mustard mixture on the bottom of the tart dough. Sprinkle with half of the remaining Asiago cheese. Place randomly across the dough half of the shallots slices. Pat dry the top of the tomatoes and place them side by side to create the first layer of the tart. Spread almost entirely the remaining mustard mix, leaving out about a tablespoon. Sprinkle the last Asiago cheese and place the remaining shallots across the tomatoes. Arrange a second layer of the tomatoes, placing the first slice in the center of two tomatoes in the bottom layer. Complete arranging the second layer, centering the slices between two tomatoes at the bottom as much as possible. Gently spread the remaining mustard mixture on top of the tomatoes and, if desired, sprinkle a bit of extra cheese and herbes de Provence.
Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400° and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the edges are golden yellow. Retire from oven. You may absorb any excess liquid you may see through the tomatoes with a paper towel. Let it cool down before cutting and serving. You may refrigerate and reheat in a 350° oven. Enjoy with a fresh salad or a roasted chicken and a crisp white wine!