Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tomato Cheese Tart

I love making this galette in the summer when the tomatoes are at their fullest. It is a sure crowd pleaser, it travels easily and is perfect for a picnic. The crust is what makes this galette memorable, it is a very buttery dough, and has the added crunch of cornmeal. I love using stone ground organic cornmeal I buy in bulk, but you can add any corn flour you can find, even polenta would work. I found this recipe in the book Baking with Julia, which I have gone back to many time for inspiration because it is loaded with great recipes from well known chefs and food professionals. The book is based on the PBS series hosted by Julia Child and written by Dorie Greenspan, another wonderful author. Each recipe in the book is written clearly, each step well explained, and all the things I have tried turned out perfect (the sticky buns recipe gets a 10). One of my absolute favorites is the fig and raspberry crostata with a linzer crust, so look for the recipe when the season will come, it is one of the best things I have even eaten.

I often make this tart for clients, because it makes people rave. For bigger catering jobs I make the tart in half sheet pans and cut it in squares, they lose the side crusts, but it still tastes terrific.

The original recipe was contributed to the book by Flo Braker, so it is no wonder the dough is so good, Flo is a master baker whom I have learned a lot from. I modified the recipe slightly by omitting the water and adding more buttermilk, and with the addition of fresh herbs. The crust is easy to put together, easy to roll and very sturdy. I like to brush it with olive oil before baking it to prevent drying.

Tomato Galette
serves eight

For the crust
4 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.5 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes

For the filling
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 oz mozzarella cheese, cut in small cubes
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into strips
4 to 6 ripe tomatoes, roma or cherry (pick tomatoes that are not too juicy), sliced thin

Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the blade attachment. Add the cold butter and mix until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Add the liquid and mix only until the dough comes together. Pour the content on a floured top and push the dough together with your hands, without overworking it. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate an hour or overnight. Roll the dough into a circle, trying to roll as thin as possible. If the dough gets too warm, put it back in the fridge to chill the butter again. Add the cheeses to the bottom of the crust, leaving a 1.5" edge. Arrange the tomato slices in circles, sprinkle the basil, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Fold the edge of the crust over the tomatoes and brush it with some more EVOO. Bake at 375, until the crust is golden and the liquid from the tomatoes and the mozzarella has almost completely evaporated.

Bread Baking Day #19, a fun event created by Zorra, is hosted this month by the wonderful Cinzia of Cindystar. She choose a fun theme,
spring country breads, or anything you would bring to a nice spring country picnic, the ones we have so often in Italy. I am not bringing bread or anything made with yeast, but this is something that everyone would enjoy at a country picnic. I actually made some olive panini with a starter I just developed, and they looked and tasted horrible, so I would be ashamed to bring those to a picnic. I have not been having any luck using a starter to make bread, I am about to give up and go back to dry active yeast.

Buon Appetito!


natalia said...

Cara Laura rieccoci ! Anche tu ti dai da fare però ! Avevo molte cose pronte e molte che 'scadevano' oggi ! Questa torta di pomodori è bellissima la devo proprio provare ! Ti mando un buon giorno !

Cindystar said...

Thanks so much, Laura, this tart sounds gorgeous, and I am very curious to try without yeast, healthier indeed!
Have a nice w.e.!

Lien said...

a great pie. Just say tomatoes and cheese and my mouth's watering.
Love the addition of herbs in the crust.

Nancy/n.o.e said...
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