Sunday, October 19, 2003

Roast Tomato Tart

adapted from The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde

Preparation: 40 minutes plus chilling
Cooking: 40 minutes

Serves 6

For the pastry:
1 cup flour
4 tbs butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:
3 tbs creme fraiche (or sour cream)
3 tbs Dijon mustard
10-12 medium tomatoes, cored, peeled, and sliced
freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme

To make the pastry, put the flour in the bowl of a food processor, add the butter, and pulse about 10 times until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Using the pulse button, combine the egg with the mix until a pastry ball forms (about 10 pulses). Turn out on a lightly floured surface and quickly knead until even and smooth, then wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch push-up-bottom tart pan. Mix together the cream and Dijon mustard and spread over the pastry base. Arrange the sliced tomatoes in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and scatter thyme leaves over the top. Bake 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Onion and Cheese Tart
Adapted from Foods of the World, Time Life Series

Pastry Shell:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 pound imported Swiss Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
1/4 pound imported Swiss Emmentaler cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
2 eggs
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

Make the pastry shell: In a large chilled bowl combine the flour, salt, chilled butter, and the lard or vegetable shortening. Blend together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour 3 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture. Toss together lightly and gather the dough into a ball. Add more water until dough holds together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 14-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the dough in a 9-inch tart pan. Gently press it into the bottom and around the sides of the pan, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim off the excess dough by rolling the pin over the rim of the pan.

Line the inside of the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with beans or pie weights. Blind bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil, prick the dough all over with a fork and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the shell begins to brown.
Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy 6 to 8-inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until haze forms above it. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are soft and transparent but not brown. Stir in the paprika and set aside off the heat.

In a bowl toss together the Gruyere and Emmentaler cheese until thoroughly combined. Spread half the cheese evenly in the baked pastry shell and scatter the onions over it. Cover with the remaining cheese.

Beat the eggs cream, milk, salt, and nutmeg together with a wire whisk and pour the mixture slowly and evenly over the cheese.
Bake in the upper third of the oven for 10 minutes. Increase the heat to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the filling has puffed and browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan from the oven and remove the tart from the pan.

Serve hot or at room temperature as a first or main course.