With the Young Baker now settled into her new environs at UC Santa Cruz, you may not be seeing too much in the area of sweet treats here. But I do love savory tarts and, with a late crop of summer tomatoes and an upcoming trip to Provence and Paris filling my thoughts, I was moved to bake a French-inspired tomato tart with the bounty of tomatoes from our garden.
What’s French About This Tomato Tart?
In France, tarts are not considered special-occasion fare but they make a stunning presentation and are actually quite easy to make – even the dough, which in this case, is pressed into the pan – no rolling pin required! Of course, you can always opt to purchase a ready-made pie shell or use puff pastry which makes even quicker work of a savory tart.
The first time I made this tomato tart, I served it at an alfresco summer brunch and it was a hit! The flavor genius lies in the bite that the Dijon mustard adds to the sweetness of the tomato, contrasted with the saltiness of the olives and anchovies (and what makes in French). To suit the Young Baker, I left off the anchovies this time and, if you’re like the French, who love their Dijon mustard, be generous and add more mustard.
French Tomato Tart Recipe
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup butter
- 1 large egg
- 4 firm-ripe medium sized tomatoes about 1 ½ lb. total, rinsed and cored
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons organic tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 6-8 canned anchovy fillets drained (optional)
- 6-8 kalamata or niçoise olives
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a food processor or bowl, combine flour and butter. Whirl or cut in with pastry blender or two knives until fine crumbs form. Add egg and whirl or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Pat dough into a ball, then press evenly over bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable rim.
Bake in oven until crust is pale gold, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out seeds. Cut tomatoes crosswise into 1-inch thick slices, and lay on paper towels to drain. Save ends for another use.
Remove baked crust from oven and turn oven to 400 degrees. Spread mustard over bottom of crust, then sprinkle evenly wit 1 ½ cups cheese. Fit largest tomato slices snugly in a single layer on cheese. Cut remaining tomato slices into pieces to fill the gaps.
In a small bowl, mix oil to blend with tomato paste, shallots, garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Spread over tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Arrange anchovies and olives on tomatoes.
Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes. Remove pan rim. Cut into wedges and serve.
Adapted from a vintage Sunset Magazine recipe (1999).