Uh oh. I think I may have waited a bit too long to share the recipe for this tart with you. Feel that? Smell that?
September in Seattle actually means the end of summer produce-wise. Those things that many of you get in July (squashes, tomatoes, corn, etc) we don’t really get until September. I’ve said this before but as amazing as our markets are in the peak of summer – tables filled to every square inch with berries, peaches, peas, green beans – fall is the produce season that makes me swoon. Heirloom tomatoes, corn, and summer squash sit right next to booths with winter squash, carrots, eggplants, and all manner of peppers. For the next six weeks or so, I will be a very happy shopper.
This lovely tart was inspired by three things. One, my new rectangular tart pan. Two, a similar tart that Ashley made last summer in a class I attended. Three, a crust from this book I keep yammering on about. Ok, four – those gorgeous tomatoes that keep calling my name. This is actually quite simple. A cornmeal studded crust, soft goat cheese mixed with fresh basil, perfect tomatoes, salt. Oh all right, I did use a secret weapon.
Rather than just drizzle the top with olive oil, I took a cue from Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume and mixed together some pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and olive oil. I drizzled that simple but intoxicating mixture sparingly over the top and gave it a healthy sprinkle of sea salt. You know how once in a while you take a perfect bite? What is in your mouth is an ideal mix of texture and flavor? This tart is full of those bites. The cornmeal in the tart dough gives it a delightful crunch and a bit of sweetness – also, the crust has more heft which is a nice contrast for the creaminess of the goat cheese. The tomatoes, of course, are the star but they are certainly helped along by the sour punch of the lemon and pomegranate molasses. I hope you don’t have to wait until next year to give this a try.
One funny note. I balanced the tart on the railing of our deck for these photos. I am a bit vertically challenged and was having trouble getting enough distance from it to get a good photo. I didn’t want to put it on the ground. Randy, who is 9 inches taller than I am, offered to take a shot. So here is the view from 6 feet.
One last piece of news! My friend Jen and I are doing another yoga retreat together on October 1st. These dates always sell out which is why I’ve never mentioned them beforehand. This time, with the busy fall that we are all diving into head-first, there are a few spots. Come join us on Bainbridge Island for the most amazing yoga day complete with lunch made by me. Details are here.
One Year Ago: Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Two Years Ago: Nutella Pound Cake (probably the most popular recipe on my site)
Heirloom Tomato Tart with Basil Goat Cheese and Cornmeal Crust
Dana Treat Original (inspired by many)
If you don’t have a 14 x 4-inch rectangular pan, this can also be made in a 9-inch round tart pan. I also made mini tarts for a party and used colorful cherry tomatoes as the topping. You will have left over pomegranate molasses mixture but it’s pretty great on just about any vegetable.
For the crust
1 1/3 cups flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg, beaten
For the tart
8 ounces soft goat cheese, such as Montrachet
2 tbsp. heavy cream
¼ cup (packed) basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons, plus additional for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6-8 (depending on size) heirloom tomatoes, mixture of colors
2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp. lemon juice
6 tbsp. olive oil
Make the crust
Place the flour, cornmeal, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until well combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg and process until the mixture comes together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead to bring it together into a cohesive mass. Flatten into a rough rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Roll the pastry out into rectangle about 1/8th of an inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. This dough is very stiff and can be difficult to roll out without tearing and cracking. You can also just press it into the pan with your fingers rather than rolling. Trim any edges. Prick all over the bottom with a fork and place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer, line with parchment paper or foil, and pour in pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights, return to the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is a nice golden brown. Cool completely.
Finish the tart
Place the goat cheese in a large bowl and mash roughly with a fork. Add the cream and mix well to combine. (The cream will make it, um, creamier, and will also help with the chalkiness that goat cheese tends to have.) Gently mix in the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop the goat cheese into the cooled crust and smooth it with a spatula. Slice the tomatoes and layer them in decoratively.
Mix together the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and olive oil. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the tart. Sprinkle with a healthy pinch of your best sea salt and a few more ribbons of basil.