Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rustic Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Who doesn't love the combination of tomatoes, basil and cheese?  Generally I pair tomatoes with fresh mozzarella rather than goat cheese, but goat cheese gives this tart a nice tangy richness that would have been lacking if I had used mozzarella instead.  With the goat cheese I couldn't resist a touch of lemon zest to mix up the flavors a bit.  I also thought about using a little fresh thyme mixed in with the goat cheese and lemon zest, but I realized that we were out.  Oh well.  It was lovely with the basil.  Perhaps if I try the tart again using puff pastry or different vegetables (I have been considering making a variation on this recipe with zucchini or summer squash for a little while now) I will use thyme instead of basil.

Alex's only complaint about dinner was that the part of the crust covered by the tomato and goat cheese mixture was not as flaky as he would like (translation - it was a little soggy).  Unfortunately with this kind of tart I didn't think I could blind bake the crust for a few minutes before topping it with goat cheese and tomatoes and folding the edges up.  I'm not really sure how to fix that issue, but for me it wasn't a problem.  The folded up portions of crust were more than flaky and buttery enough for me.  I don't think that a homemade pie crust would have been any flakier than the store bought one, but it might.  I will have to experiment with a homemade crust next time to make sure.  If I had more time tonight I would have whipped up a crust in my food processor, but by the time we started on dinner it was already past 7pm and I didn't want to make the crust, and then let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before I could move on to rolling the crust out and starting the tart. I'm also not sure that the puff pastry under the goat cheese would have crisped up during baking, but I think that I could at least dock it (poke the dough full of holes so it doesn't rise too much) in the center, and then bake it for 5-10 minutes before adding the goat cheese mixture.  Since I wouldn't fold up the edges with the puff pastry, but would instead allow the pastry to puff up and form a crust by not docking the outsides, it should work...  Since we are just starting to head into tomato season now I should have plenty of chances to experiment!

Recipe after the jump!

Rustic Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

5 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp evoo
1 refrigerated pie crust (the kind that comes flat, but rolled up in a box)
10 Campari tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned

Preheat oven to 400° F. 

In a mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, creme fraiche, lemon zest, s&p, and evoo.  The mixture will be thick and just barely spreadable. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Unroll or unfold pie crust on the a clean, surface that has been sprinkled with flour. With a rolling pin, roll crust to a 13-in. round. Transfer the crust to the prepared baking sheet (I find that the easiest way to do this is often to drape the crust over your rolling pin and then unroll it onto the baking sheet).  

Gently spread the goat cheese mixture over the prepared pie crust to within 2 inches of the edge. Arrange the tomato wedges over the cheese mixture. Fold the edge of the crust over filling.  Brush crust lightly with prepared egg wash. Sprinkle tomatoes with s&p, and then drizzle with evoo.

Bake the tart until pastry is golden, about 35-40 minutes. Slide tart, still on parchment/silpat, onto a cutting board. Allow to cool 10 minutes before topping with basil.  Slice into portions and serve.

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