Ahem. Notice anything new? I have included a new page (just above) entitled “Recipes” and it has all the recipes I’ve posted on my blog, almost all of which are French and fairly easy. I’m very excited about it. I hope you will try some of them, and that you will pat your satisfied belly afterwards. (But please do give me honest feedback).
I decided to make my husband his favorite dijon mustard, tomato tarte for dinner. I posted this recipe a long time ago on my old blog so some of you may recognize it. But not many of you, I think.
I went out to pick some tomatoes. These are called, “coeur de boeuf” – heart of beef tomatoes. I immediately translated that in my mind to “beefsteak tomatoes,” but I don’t think they’re the same thing. They’re always striped like that, and did you see the shape and size of those things? This picture doesn’t do it justice.
(The green one decided to come along for the ride).
Now I need to make the crust. This is called pâte brisé or pâte sablé. There’s a fine difference between the two, but (in my non-expert opinion) a pâte brisé is a traditional shortcrust made with butter. You knead it together and roll it out like any pie dough. A pâte sablé (sable means sand) has the butter and flour mixed together first, giving it a sand-like consistency. It also contains an egg yolk and is often sweet as a base for dessert tartes.
Mine has the texture of a pâte sablé and contains an egg yolk, but is made without sugar. This crust is more crumbly and doesn’t roll out as easily as a pâte brisé.
Since I can’t eat gluten and take advantage of the delicious pre-made, pre-rolled pie doughs available in France, it’s an even playing field for us. We’re both stuck having to make it. So let’s roll up our sleeves and roll out our dough.
You’ll need 125 grams of butter, which is about ½ cup.
Then 2 ½ cups of flour – I used 2 cups of a GF mix, ½ cup of brown rice flour.
Add an egg yolk,
a teaspoon of large-grain sea salt (I think my kids took my teaspoon measure to dig in the garden and left it there, so I had to use two of the half teaspoon measures)
and 3 tablespoons of ice water that you can pour in as it’s blending. (The cuisinart is easier on your hands if you’re making sticky GF dough).
Mix together. Do you see that consistency? It really is like sand.
I put saran wrap in the shape of a cross and then tied the four ends around the ball in a knot.
I kneaded it a bit in the saran wrap and put it in the refrigerator for a half hour.
The best way to roll out the dough is to put wax paper underneath and wax paper over it. (I bought this plank for rolling dough at Ikea and won’t use it for any other purpose. I’m always grossed out by rolling dough on the table no matter how well I clean it first).
I push the dough down first with my hands, and then roll it out.
It’s not perfect, as you can see. It’s broken all over and I patch it together by dipping my fingers in the ice water and pinching the crevices together. But here’s the beauty – no matter how much it’s falling apart (the fact that it’s gluten free and not a specially designed recipe for such makes it even more crumbly), you can slide the entire thing smoothly into the pan when it’s on the wax paper.
Make sure you cut off the excess paper because I find it tends to burn.
Now comes the dijon mustard.
Oh this is clearly not enough! Break out the new one.
Spread it in a thick layer at the bottom of your crust.
Hm. You know what? It is enough, because my kids are going to be eating this too and I don’t want their little noses to smart.
Or to hear them sing the usual refrain, “Oh mais – c’est quoi ça? J’aime paaaaaaas!” (Wait – what’s that? I don’t liiiiiike that)! Familiar? Anyway, no matter how much mustard you decide to put, be careful not to overdo it around the edges because it tends to collect there and your eyes will be watering.
You’ll need some grated emmental or gruyère (Swiss cheese).
This was just for show – I actually have an entire bag of pre-grated emmental.
How pretty. Covers that broken ole crust up with no problem. What’s that proverb? “Cheese covers a multitude of sins?” No – not quite it.
Now it’s time to cut the tomatoes. Let’s have a moment of appreciation for the smell. Have you ever picked your own tomatoes and eaten them right off the vine? It’s happiness itself.
Make sure when you cut the tomatoes, you place the stem parallel to the counter. See – if you put the spot where the stem was perpendicular to the counter, the tomato is less pretty when you cut it.
You have a nice pretty “heart chamber” design.
See that? The one on the left was cut properly, and the one on the right was not. Can you see how much better it looks? That is how you should cut your tomatoes and place them on the tarte. Believe me, this make a difference in presentation.
Scallop the tomatoes thickly around the tarte on top of the cheese.
These things are so big that I covered the entire thing with only two tomatoes!
(And they smell so lovely).
Sprinkle with basil, or place whole leaves of basil over the tarte before baking.
In the oven we go. You’ll bake about 30 minutes at 350°F, but keep checking that you don’t need to turn it to get even baking – the crust should be browned, the cheese melted, and the tomatoes wilted. It should look done.
Drizzle olive oil over the finished piece.
I know you think that it’s not necessary with all the butter/cream that’s already in there, but this is a crucial step taste-wise.
And here’s the tarte. Feast your senses.
You know, I wooed my husband with this tarte. On one of our first dates, I brought it to a picnic and it turned out that his mother makes the same tarte and it was his absolute favorite. He couldn’t believe that he found an American girl to make his favorite French dish! (I had lived with three families in France by then).
So he married me!
Nah, really he married me for my beauty (cough, cough).
No, he married for my money (canned laughter).
I think he married me because I knew how to bake my way into a man’s tarte.