This cheese and tomato tart is definitely worth the effort. It is certainly delicious -- but I debated whether or not I should share my results with you. My second attempt at this tart was a bit of a disappointment. I made it for the first time many years ago. Back then, fresh mozzarella wasn't as readily available at the grocery. I sliced a block of low moisture mozzarella instead to layer in between the fresh tomato slices. I ran into trouble with my recent attempt at making this tart when I used fresh mozzarella as the recipe calls for -- it releases a lot of moisture and that much additional wetness will not allow the crust to dry out and brown underneath. A HUGE turn-off for me is a tart with a soggy, uncooked crust. But like I said... this cheese and tomato tart is definitely worth the effort. What I will do the next time is line the tart shell with foil, fill with rice or dried beans, and partially bake the crust on the lowest shelf of the oven. When it achieves the golden color I want, I will quickly spread the mustard over the bottom of the crust and fill the pastry with the remaining ingredients. Pull the finished tart slowly from the oven. The mozzarella will cause it to be soupy for a few minutes. Let the tart rest and cut once the cheese filling has set.
Tomato and Cheese Tart
adapted from a recipe by LInda Dannenberg
HERBED OLIVE OIL:
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1 bouquet garni (1 branch or teaspoon each of fresh thyme, rosemary, fennel, and 1 bay leaf, tied with thin string or wrapped in cheesecloth)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• recipe Pâte Brisée (recipe HERE)
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 ounces Emmental or Gruyère Cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
• 5 to 6 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 1/2 pound fresh whole-milk mozzarella, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1. Prepare the herbed oil at least a day in advance. To make the herbed oil: In a small glass jar, combine the olive oil with the garlic, bouquet garni, salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate at least overnight.
2. Line a 10 1/2-inch tart pan with the tart pastry. Place in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 400˚F. Remove the tart shell from the freezer and line the shell with foil and fill with rice or beans. Bake the tart shell for 12 minutes; take tart shell from the oven and remove the foil and rice. Let the shell cool briefly.
3. Spread the mustard on the base of the tart shell. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the mustard. Starting at the outside edge of the tart, arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella in alternating, overlapping circles, working into the center. Sprinkle with the thyme then drizzle on 2 tablespoons of the herbed olive oil. Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
4. Carefully remove the tart from the oven (the cheese will be very runny at this point). Place the tart on a wire rack and let it rest until the cheese has set. Cut into slices and serve.
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