Hi Fellow Crazy Cooks! So I wanted to share my experience making the tomato mustard tart that I toted to Chicago’s Diner en Blanc last weekend, in case you want to make it this weekend. I got the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, so I’ll share that recipe, along with a few pointers. I’d never made pate brisee, the classic French tart dough, before and it was really easy (easier than pie dough) and absolutely delish! And the filling is a snap.
A few pointers:
1) Use frozen butter. Yes! Straight from the freezer – it sounds crazy, but as any baker will learn, the colder the butter, the better the dough. Just get a really good knife and hack it up into cubes. This crazy cook made two batches of dough: one with frozen butter and one with refrigerated butter, and the one with frozen butter came out crisper and more tender.
2) Use a Cuisinart or other food processor if you’ve got one – makes it much easier.
3) If you plan on taking this delicacy to a friend’s house, for, say, Ladies Wine Night, as I did with Tart #1, make it in a pie pan, not a tart pan with the removable bottom / sides, because you will have a hell of a time transporting a tart in a pan which you cannot lift from the bottom! Trust me on this. 🙂
4) You can make this in stages if you’re a busy person such as myself. I made the dough on a Monday night, refrigerated it tightly wrapped in Saran wrap. On Tuesday night, I rolled it out and put it in the tart pan, and then wrapped that in Saran and put it to bed in the freezer overnight. On Wednesday morning, I par-baked it in the oven (straight from the freezer), and cooled it, and covered it with Saran wrap and put it in the fridge. On Wednesday night, I made the filling and baked the whole thing, cooled it and then refrigerated it. This is how I roll, as a busy gal. I took it, chilled, to Ladies Wine Night and just warmed it up a bit before serving it. It was a hit with our Fume Blanc!
Ready? Let’s ROLL!
Tart Dough Ingredients
1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbl frozen butter (unsalted), cut into bits
1 large egg
1 tsp ice water
What You Do
1) Put flour, sugar and salt into Cuisinart and whiz it up with a couple of pulses
2) Scatter the butter bits in and pulse a few times until the butter is coarsely mixed in. Resist the urge to over-mix!
3) Lightly beat the egg with the ice water (I do it in a measuring cup with a little whisk). Turn the Cuisinart on, and pour that in a little at a time – 3 little pours will do it. The dough will be kind of coarse and mealy-looking; not a smooth blob of dough that sticks to the side of the bowl or lumps onto the blade, like bread or pie dough. Have faith. Pinch a little blob with your fingers, and if it holds together, you’re good to go. But it’s going to look crumbly and you’re going to think, “this isn’t dough yet – it’s all crumbly; I screwed up.” But it is dough and you didn’t screw up; keep going!
4) Dump the stuff onto a board or your counter and gather it up with both hands – but don’t manhandle it! Just gather it up and form it into a ball or disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours (or up to 5 days – I used my second batch on the 5th day and it was fine.)
5) When it’s chilled, butter your tart or pie pan well. Take your dough onto a sheet of waxed paper, and have a little flour nearby for your rolling pin. Now, your dough’s going to be quite firm, from the fridge, so just press down with your hands and the rolling pin until it starts getting pliable – just takes a couple of minutes. Roll evenly in all directions (rotate your rolling pin as you go), so you start getting a circle. If it starts going all catty-whompus shaped, just pinch off pieces to form your circle. It really does roll out easier than pie dough because of the egg (gives the dough more body, somehow; I’m not a food scientist, but I know this.) You can even pick up the whole thing and flop if over
(carefully) to get your circle just right.
6) Pick up your dough (carefully) and lay it into your pie or tart pan and press it into the sides, trimming the rag-a-muffin edges. (Use the scraps to fill in any thin-looking spots).
7) Back into the fridge or freezer – for at least an hour. Remember, the colder the dough, the better the tart.
8) Ready to bake? Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your pan out of the fridge or freezer and lay a buttered piece of foil over it, pressing it into the sides just a bit. Par-bake (partially-bake) for 20 minutes, take it out, remove the foil and pop it back into the oven for another 5 minutes until it is very lightly brown (very lightly). Let it cool. On to the filling!
Tomato Mustard Filling Ingredients
3 large eggs
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
2 Tbl grainy mustard
6 Tbl heavy cream / whipping cream
1 very large or 2 medium size ripe tomatoes, sliced thickly (like 1/2-inch slices)
salt and pepper, to taste
1) This is so easy: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a bowl.
2) Add all the mustard and a little pepper and a very little salt (mustard is salty, so you don’t need much – but a little) and whisk until blended.
3) Pour the filling into your par-baked tart shell.
4) Lay the tomato slices in (I put four slices in a circle and one in the center.)
5) Bake the tart for 30 minutes or until it is uniformly puffed and lightly browned in spots. Transfer to a rack and cool. Serve at warm or at room temperature – with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a green salad, this is a delightful supper, or a first course. Bon appetit, and thank you, Dorie, for a fabulous recipe!
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