... a new and improved tart after a sleepless night
I have been obsessing all night about a tart that I made yesterday for my daughter Kate and her friend, Seth. It looked sooo good when it came out of the oven. I followed the recipe directions to a tee, but when we put our forks to the crust, it was hard. There wasn't enough tomato to the tart, and the cheese had hardened . To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement. To boot, the kids kept saying how 'delish' it was, but we all knew it was just 'meh'.
Yet, a tomato tart at this time of year should be the most flaky crusted and succulent bit of pastry on Earth. For heaven's sake, it's the height of tomato season! There was plenty of cheese in the filling, but it lacked moisture ... so my quest begins! Lunch today will be the new and improved ... and then, we'll see.
Which brings me to another random thought ... it's about writing things down. I am a great one for playing around with a recipe and getting a wonderful result, but then, days later, not being able to put a finger on what exactly I did to make for that wonderful result! Yes, I can be a ditz. Today, it will be different!
So here's my list of changes -
1. The addition of a couple pinches of green herbs to the crust - oregano and basil.
... flecks of herbs and little fork prickles
2. A short blind bake time - just long enough to firm up the lower crust and begin the browning of the rim.
3. Doubling the amount of roasted tomato slices that get layered into the tart filling. and placing them in two distinct layers.
... love this color red
4. The addition of balsamic vinegar that will be drizzled over the onions while they are cooking down, so that the final sweet syrup around them is almost like a balsamic treacle.
...balsamic caramelized onions
5. A softer cheese addition to the lower layer of the tart that will also moisten the Parmesan layer, as well as a small amount of sweet onions that have been caramelized beforehand in butter.
... the hated pasteurized processed cheese food that melts to the perfect ooze
6. Basil ribbons, a final sprinkle of Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil over all.
... layers of cheese, onions, tomatoes, cheese, onions, cheese, tomatoes, sprinkles
Okay, that's it so far ... let's see what we get!
... really sooo much better!
Taking this tart out of the oven, it was apparent that it was much moister than yesterday's. When it cooled a bit, I cut into it for a slice while it was still quite hot. Really flaky crust, sweet roasted tomato flavours , balsamic sweet caramelized onions giving stringy competition to the melted mozzarella and oozing American cheese, and under it all just a bite of the Parmesan. The tomatoes are definitely the sweet stars of this tart, though! I will have to make it again for Kate and Seth because this one put's yesterday's lunch to shame.
If you have a counter full of tomatoes, I urge you to make this tart. I really think you'll love it! A glass of red wine, a bunch of cool black olives over some dark greens or a cool broccoli salad ... lunch or dinner is there for you!
Here's the altered recipe ... the one to use. I wrote it all down!
Roasted Tomato/Onion Tart
Pre-heat oven to 400°F
10 – 12 ripe plum tomatoes, topped, sliced length-wise and seeded
Olive oil or olive oil spray to coat the tomato slices
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pinches of dried oregano
Roasting the Tomatoes:
1. Spray/brush a large cookie sheet with olive oil.
2. Lay the sliced tomatoes close together in one layer on the cookie sheet.
3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dried oregano.
4. Roast in a pre-heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Tomatoes will shrink up and darken to a deep ruby color.
5. Remove and leave on the pan to cool.
6. While tomatoes roast, make the crust and onion filling.
1 ¼ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried basil
6 tbsp. vegetable shortening
4 – 5 tbsp. ice water
Making the Crust:
1. Stir together the dry ingredients.
2. Add the shortening and cut it in until it resembles small crumbles.
3. Add the ice water 2 tbsp. at a time, tossing and stirring with a fork.
4. Turn the dough onto a floured rolling surface and quickly bunch the dough together into a ball.
5. Dust a rolling pin and roll the dough to a circle large enough to line a 9-inch quiche pan, dusting with flour as needed.
6. Line the quiche pan with the dough. Trim the outer edges and roll the rough edges back in on the edge to make a smooth edge. Crimp.
7. Refrigerate the pan of dough for 30 minutes.
8. Line the quiche pan with baking stones, and blind bake for 15 minutes.
9. Remove and cool just a bit before lining with the tart ingredients.
Roasted Tomato Tart Filling
2 large onions, thinly sliced into rings
2 tbsp. butter
1 - 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3 - 4 slices American cheese
½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp. fresh basil ribbons
Olive oil for drizzling
Making the Filling:
1. While the tomatoes are roasting, sauté the onions in butter and plenty of black pepper for a couple minutes … to sweat them. Lower the heat and leave them to caramelize, stirring every few minutes.
2. When the onions have begun to brown up, add the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Let the onions continue to caramelize.
3. Tear the American cheese slice in halves, slice the mozzarella.
4. Slice the basil ribbons and set aside.
Assembling the Tart:
1. Sprinkle all but 2 tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese into the bottom of the prepared/baked crust.
2. Lay the American cheese over the top of the Parmesan.
3. Using a pair of forks spread half the onions over the cheeses.
4. Arrange half the roasted tomatoes next in one layer.
5. Make a layer of half the mozzarella cheese.
6. Make a layer of the other half of the onions.
7. Layer the other half of the mozzarella.
8. Layer the other half of the tomatoes.
9. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the last 2 tbsp. of Parmesan, the basil ribbons, and drizzle with olive oil.
10. Place the tart in a pre-heated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes … until the surface glistens, the cheeses are bubbly, and the crust is golden brown.
11. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving warm.
Note: So even if you don't want to make the tart, you can roast your counterful of tomatoes. When they're done roasting, layer them in a clean covered container and cover them with olive oil to store. Store them in the fridge for a week or two. Add some minced garlic, if you wish, to the roast for super spicy roasted tomatoes.