I've made this tomato tart twice in the past month. It's that good. Hearty and filling enough for a meal with just a green salad accompaniment. I like the free-form shape. Cheesy tomatoes, basil, black olives and capers - what a great combination!
It does take some time to make - the pastry must be done ahead, but it could lounge around for a couple of days in the fridge. The tomatoes need to drain for at least 45 minutes and I was surprised at the amount of water under the colander. Not draining them would result in a soggy tart. But don't let the steps deter you. They are easy enough and the result is fantastic. The recipe is from Fine Cooking (August/September 2006).
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (the original recipe called for all white flour, but I think the whole wheat adds to the rusticity)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
11 Tablespoons (5 1/2 ounces) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5-6 Tablespoons water (I find Canadian flour always needs more liquid so I used 1 beaten egg plus the water)
NOTE: When I say Canadian flour, I mean as opposed to American or Ecuadorian flour. Someone told me once that our flour is made from harder wheat. I know that when we lived in Texas and in Ecuador, the amount of liquid in recipes was correct, but since returning to Canada I've always added more.
Combine the flour, cheese, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne in a food processor. Blend to combine. Add the butter all at once and pulse until the butter pieces are about the size of rice grains. Add the liquid while pulsing in short bursts just until the dough starts to come together. It might look crumbly but when pressed together it should compact. Turn out onto a clean work surface and gather with your hands into a rough ball. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and gently press into a flat disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
1 1/2 pounds ripe beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoons roughly chopped pitted black olives
12 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons capers, drained and patted dry, roughly chopped if large
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Core the tomatoes, then slice 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and stack them in a colander set over a bowl. Let drain for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. (Longer doesn't hurt.) About every 15 minutes, turn the slices gently and tilt the colander to let the juices drain freely.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment to fit a rimmed baking sheet. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm to become pliable, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the parchment lightly with flour. Set the dough on top and roll into a 14 inch round that's 1/8 inch thick.
Sprinkle two-thirds of the cheese over the center of the dough round, leaving a 2 inch wide band around the edges. Scatter half the olives and half the basil over the cheese. Arrange the tomato slices on top so they overlap slightly, making a solid layer. Sprinkle on the remaining basil and olives, the capers, and the rest of the cheese. Season with pepper and drizzle the olive oil over top.
Fold the edges of the pastry over the edge of the filling, pleating it as you go so it forms a neatly fitting round edge. Bake until the dough is lightly browned, turning the pan halfway through baking, about 40 minutes total. Let cool 15 - 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
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