Poor Roommate. She’d get home from grad school, open the fridge, and see a covered pie plate where there hadn’t been one before. She’d hope against hope that it would be chocolate pie, or key lime pie, or pecan pie, or anything at all except what it was: a tart starring her least favorite fruit- the tomato.
I’m so sorry, Roommate. I should have put a sticky note on it or something, to avoid shattered dreams.
Because OMG I LOVE THIS THING SO MUCH. It’s savory and not sweet, which I admit is a departure from my usual M.O., but seriously: it’s amazing. I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. I love it enough that I’m willing to crank up my poorly-insulated oven and make one even though it’ll turn the front half of my apartment into a Bikram studio. You take a flaky pie crust, layer it with Dijon mustard, sliced tomatoes, rounds of goat cheese, and a mix of fresh herbs, and then you drizzle honey on top before sliding it into a super hot oven. Does the honey give you pause? It did for me, but I was young and foolish to worry. Instead of tasting weird, it tastes magnificent. It’s the sort of thing Imaginary Sweets would whip up for lunch with a green salad and lots of white wine with her Imaginary Dashing European Boyfriend in the charming kitchen of their cottage somewhere in a valley by the sea with a garden and probably also cats. With sassy lingerie drying on a line in the sun, obviously. Imaginary Sweets suffers from no shortage of unrealistic expectations.
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
4 1/2 ounces (125 g) (1 and 1/8 stick, 9 tbsp.) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Dijon or whole-grain mustard (a tablespoon or two)
2-3 large ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
two generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon
8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds
Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorful honey (optional my ass. Put the honey in or live to regret it)
Stir flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Dump in the chilled butter cubes. You can use a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter, but I get the best results by pinching each little butter cube between my thumb and forefinger together with flour, slowly incorporating the butter, but still leaving plenty of good-sized butter bits that will melt in the oven and make the crust all flaky. The mixture will eventually get crumbly, like damp sand or cornmeal. Mix the egg and water together in a small bowl and pour into the center of the dry ingredients. Stir the dough until it loosely comes together, but again, you don’t want to overmix. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead briefly, and then gather dough into a ball. Roll out dough to fit an 8-9 inch tart pan (I use a Pyrex pie pan), or you can roll out an 11-12-inch circle of dough and make a free-form tart. If you’re using a pan, gently lift the dough into the pan and trim off any overhanging edges. If going the free-form route, lay the circle of dough on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and “dock” it by pressing firmly with your fingertips in a few places.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard evenly over the prepared crust and allow it to dry out for about ten minutes. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them in an even layer on top of the crust. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle with about half of the herbs, then evenly layer the goat cheese rounds on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle honey over the top of the tart. If you’re making a free-form tart, fold the edges of the crust over to envelope the filling. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is fully cooked and golden, the goat cheese is lightly browned, and the tomatoes are tender. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.