The tomato tart will replace our usual weekly quiche this summer. Because tomatoes are so good right now? Yes. But, also because my family has asked for a break from quiche for a while. I came home the other night to find them picketing in the driveway and chanting, “Hear us roar, real men don’t eat quiche, anymore”. Fine, I’ll make a tart.
Like our current tween set who think they have discovered things like Journey, the Rubik’s cube and Pac-Man, I have made a discovery of my own. I have created a one bowl tart/quiche crust that works even better than the food processor method. Having never been completely successful in turning out a crust with sheets of thin, crispy, buttery, and flaky layers, the solution came to me as I stood over the sink washing the food processor bowl. No matter how cool my ingredients were when they started out, the quick spin in the food processor was melting the butter.
Speaking in absolutes is never a good idea. But, there are a few exceptions, like we can never be too rich, too thin or too close to the end of the GYN table, (scootch, scootch). It took me awhile to figure out that the crust ingredients can never be too cold. I’ve watched enough Food Network to know that the thin, buttery layers in a crust are created from the steam that is formed when the cold pieces of butter melt causing the layers of dough to puff up. Starting with frozen butter, grating it quickly on the big holes of a box grater and mixing by hand was my solution and the result was exactly what I had hoped for. Can you see the layers?
It was a hit all around. Apparently, real men do eat tarts.
P.S. I can’t take credit for the idea that you can never be too close to the end of the GYN table. That gem came from my sister!
1 recipe for Andra’s new and improved crust recipe
1 head of garlic
2 large tomatoes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
8 oz. of buffalo or fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
1/4 cup fresh basil
Preheat oven to 450°. Cut off the narrow end of the head of garlic. Wrap it in foil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the foil until it is cool enough to handle. Lower the oven temperature to 400°.
Roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8” thick and place into a 10” tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing it around the corners and removing any overhang. Place the crust into the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of it’s papery skin and spread with an offset spatula onto the base of the chilled crust. Sprinkle with half of the parmesan cheese and then lay tomatoes over the crust so that they are not overlapping. Lay slices of mozzarella over the tomatoes and then sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Drizzle a little olive oil over the tart and bake for 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown slightly.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Top with fresh basil and serve.
Andra’s New and Improved Crust
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons of ice water
Place a stick of butter and a glass of ice water in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Grate the butter into the dry ingredients, sprinkle the iced water into the bowl and then quickly work to combine everything just until it holds together in a ball. You should still see pieces of butter in the dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be refrigerated for two days or frozen for up to two months.