Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Tart

I embarrass my dining companions.

All year round I pull tomatoes off of sandwiches and burgers. Sure, I'll eat tomatoes in sauce, in Joanne Chang's tomato chutney, or tomato soup. But I will absolutely NOT eat a raw tomato, unless it is August or September and it came from a garden or the farmer's market.

I eat tomatoes two months out of the year, and I could subsist entirely on them for that time....perfect, ripe and amazingly colorful and diverse, they make me hate those mealy orbs that the grocery store sells the rest of the year.

Saturday mornings in summer, when I visit the farmer's market, I buy about 10 dollars worth of 'maters and then dream up something to do with them. It can be as simple as a BLT with extra T, just plain with salt....or this creation.

Yes, I realize I've already gotten my money's worth from this tart pan.

The recipe is inspired from this recipe on Epicurious, and the pastry is loosely based on it as well. I say loosely based because I didn't have any shortening so I just increased the amount of butter.

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Black Pepper & Parmesan Crust
Adapted from Epicurious

1 1/4 cups AP Flour
1 stick cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons ice water

Using a food processor combine the flour, butter, Parmesan, butter and salt. Pulsing until the mixture resembles a course meal. There may be some larger chunks of butter. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of water into mixture and pulse until incorporated. Grab some pastry and gently squeeze to see if it sticks together. If its too dry add more water, a tablespoon at a time.

Turn dough out onto work surface and knead with the heel of your hand a couple times until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk and chill for at least an hour.

After the dough has firmed in the fridge, roll it out so it is large enough to fit into a 9-inch tart pan. Use the rolling pin to make the dough flush with the top of the tart pan. Prick all over with a fork. Line with buttered aluminum foil and fill with beans or rice. Blind bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until golden. Cool.

The fun part (in my opinion) is filling the tart shell. I sliced fresh mozzarella and lined the bottom of the tart. I then spread a thin layer of basil pesto (not too much- the pesto can overpower the delicate flavors). I then sliced up my tomatoes and used paper towels to dry them off a bit - I didn't want the wet tomatoes to soggy up the crust. Arrange in a pretty pattern, season with a little salt and pepper, and voila, the perfect light meal or side dish!

Are there any flavors of summer that you avoid the rest of the year? or am I just a weirdo with this tomato thing?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brown Butter Raspberry Tart

Rafe and I caught the tail-end of the U-pick raspberry season one weekend....and scoured the raspberry bushes for a few pints of sweet fruit. Leaving Rose's Berry Farm with scratches all over our arms, we finally came to terms with the high price of raspberries. They are tough to harvest and well worth the price!

Although we both love eating these fruity jewels all by themselves, we were expecting company that same week and I thought it best to share the wealth of our bounty. I saw this Brown Butter Raspberry Tart recipe last summer in Bon Appetit and thought it would make the perfect dessert to highlight our haul.

Standard tart work ensued, making the crust and blind-baking it. This is an easy recipe though - no rolling needed! Just crumble the dough and press it into place.

Arrange the raspberries....

and try not to eat too many while placing them upside-down on the tart shell.

brown the butter

That will become the flavor base of this delicious tart.

This is right before it went into the oven...

We served the tart with some dulce de leche ice cream. The sweet-tart raspberries were a perfect balance to the rich brown butter custard. I made Rafe bring the remaining tart to work so I wouldn't devour the entire thing....It went VERY well with coffee :)