French-Style Tomato Tart

When tomatoes are in season, I make this tart at least once a week and we never tire of it. Use the best Dijon mustard you can find — it really does make a difference in the overall flavor. This crust recipe is fairly easy to work with — the addition of the egg makes it much easier to roll out and transfer to the tart pan than my usual pie dough. I love to use different colors of tomatoes in this tart — but don’t use unripe green tomatoes. I always grow a few varieties that are green when fully ripe because it is the prettiest shade of green on the planet. You must drain the tomatoes very well or you end up with a soupy mess. Use paste-type tomatoes, or dry-fleshed varieties, not juicy beefsteak types. The big slices are really pretty when you put them on the tart, but they have more water than you can imagine and no amount of draining is enough. For most tomato dishes, I don’t bother to peel the tomatoes first, but I find you just cannot cut the tart if the tomatoes haven’t been peeled first. No knife in my kitchen is up to that task, and the whole lovely dish just becomes a huge mess when you try to serve it or eat it! I peel and slice my tomatoes and put them on a few layers of clean kitchen towels or paper towels to drain before I start the dough preparations.
By / Photography By E. S. Bruhmann | July 01, 2012

Ingredients

Dough
  • ½ cup butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1½ cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
Tart Filling
  • 6 or so firm, ripe paste tomatoes, peeled, sliced ¼ to ⅓ inch thick
  • ¼ cup Dijon or whole-grain mustard, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, of the best quality you can find
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of your choice (thyme, rosemary, basil, chives, chervil, oregano, tarragon, lemon verbena, etc., or a mixture)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (Gruyere is our favorite, but sometimes I use slices of fresh goat cheese)

Instructions

Tart Dough:

Makes enough dough for a 14-inch tart pan. (I don’t have one that large. I usually double this recipe to make two 11-inch tarts. I freeze half of the dough to make the second tart the next week.) Use a tart pan with a removable ring, or make it more free-form on a cookie sheet.

  1. Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse a few times to break the butter into a crumbly, cornmeallike texture. Beat egg with 2 tablespoons ice water. With the processor running, pour in the egg/ water mixture until the dough holds together. If it still seems dry, add the additional tablespoon of water, one teaspoon at a time, until it comes together.
  2. Gather the dough into a ball and place on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Pat into a disk, about an inch thick. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  4. When you are ready to roll out the dough, sprinkle just a bit of flour on your prep surface to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough to about 2 inches larger than the diameter of the tart pan. Transfer to the dough to the tart pan or the cookie sheet. If using a tart pan, fold the excess dough over and smooth off the edges. If using the cookie sheet, fold over the dough making an edge about 1 inch tall around the tart.
  5. To help ensure a dry bottom crust, I partially bake the crust. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake the crust for about 15 minutes.

Tart Filling and Assembly:

  1. Set sliced tomatoes on absorbent toweling for an hour or more to drain.
  2. Remove the crust from the oven, and spread a generous amount of Dijon mustard all over the bottom of the crust. Let it sit a minute or two to dry out a bit. Arrange half the tomato slices over the bottom of the tart. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, herbs and a drizzle of the olive oil. Sprinkle half the cheese over the slices. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, and cheese. Finish with another drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Bake the tart for about 20 minutes, until the dough is nicely browned and the tomatoes are tender. If the cheese isn’t as brown as you’d like, run it under the broiler for a minute or two.
  4. Carefully remove the tart ring and serve immediately

Ingredients

Dough
  • ½ cup butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1½ cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
Tart Filling
  • 6 or so firm, ripe paste tomatoes, peeled, sliced ¼ to ⅓ inch thick
  • ¼ cup Dijon or whole-grain mustard, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, of the best quality you can find
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of your choice (thyme, rosemary, basil, chives, chervil, oregano, tarragon, lemon verbena, etc., or a mixture)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (Gruyere is our favorite, but sometimes I use slices of fresh goat cheese)
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