Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tomato Goat Cheese Tarts in an Herb Parmesan Crust


I have to give myself a budget at the farmer's market because I tend to go a little crazy there in the summer. It's all the smells, you see, and the colors that make me lose my head - the tiny red strawberries and the golden blush of peaches and apricots, side by side with boxes of fragrant basil, shiny yellow squash and sweet peppers. Everything calls out to me, the asparagus and the big white leeks, home-made hummus, local goat cheese and honeys, and humble cucumbers, not nearly as straight or perfect as at the supermarkets and therefore more beautiful. But the one thing that I can never pass by are tomatoes. Summer tomatoes, to be specific. They are a story onto themselves.


As soon as I saw these, I knew that they must be made into mini tarts for our lunch today. I could almost taste them, sweet and juicy and warm from the oven, encased in a buttery Parmesan and herb crust.


The crust is not difficult to make at all, do not be afraid of it. The whole wheat flour and the Parmesan take it to another level, and the smell of it as you are making it, and as it's coming out of the oven is kind of insane. I mean, you want to stop right there and just break off the crunchy, herby pieces that give off that unmistakable and irresistible scent of toasted cheese. But then you top them off with the goat cheese and the tomatoes, and add a bit of really good salt, and you'll be just so, so happy that you waited for the whole thing to come together. A nice glass of cold, crisp wine finishes these off perfectly, and though I was not able to enjoy them in exactly that way, it did not for one second detract from their deliciousness.


Tomato Goat Cheese Tarts in an Herb Parmesan Crust
Makes one 9-10" tart or four 4" mini tarts

Pate Brisee
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled or frozen
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs (mine were a mix of oregano, basil and thyme)
2-4 tbsp ice water

4 oz goat cheese, softened
1/8-1/4 cup milk
1 lb (or thereabouts) of assorted tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper

To make the crust:

Whisk flours, salt, Parmesan and herbs together in a large bowl. Cut butter into small squares and scatter on top of the dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter, quickly cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the biggest pieces are no larger than a small pea. Dribble in water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when pinched. Refrigerate for ten minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press together into a ball. [At this point, you can wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for an hour to let the flour absorb the water, but I didn't do this because I wanted a press in crust. If you like rolling out your crusts, refrigerate for an hour and then roll it out.]

If making mini tartlets, divide the dough into four pieces. If not, keep it in one piece. Spray or butter the tart pans and, working quickly so that the pieces of butter don't melt, press the crumbly dough into the pans. Refrigerate.

Heat the oven to 375F. Press parchment paper into the tart pans and fill with beans/rice/baking weights. Pierce the bottom of each crust several times with a fork. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until the crusts are beginning to turn golden. Cool for 10 minutes.

While the crusts are baking, make the filling:

Put the goat cheese into a small bowl and add milk gradually until the mixture is roughly the consistency of sour cream. Slice the tomatoes and basil.

When the tart crusts are done, divide the goat cheese mixture between them and top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped basil. Bake for another 30 minutes.

I like these warm!


  1. What a lovely tart you made. I also like the idea of setting yourself a budget at the farmers market. I also spend way to much.

  2. My favourite savoury flavours all in one tart! Goat's cheese is awesome!

  3. I also have trouble controlling myself around farm fresh food. The tarts you made look fantastic. Ant the photos are amazing!

  4. What a beautiful tart Irene. Love the crust and want to try it.

  5. my friends & i just made these for a dinner party & they were fabulous!! we will definitely make them again (also made the swirly sourcream bundt cake last week & that was also to die for have such great tried & true recipes on here. thanks! blogged:

  6. I'm so glad you liked them!!! Thank you for your kind words! :)

  7. Im so excited to make these, oh my god!!!

  8. Oh these are most perfect!!! Goat cheese and tomatoes are one of my favorite cravings! I love the crust idea! *saving*

  9. What allI'd do to get those gorgeous seasonal tomatoes from you! The tart loks fantastic!!

  10. I love tarts so much and this looks delicious. Now I need to buy some tart pans so I can make this lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  11. This just looks so amazing!! I love love goats cheese!

  12. These are absolutely beautiful!! They make me smile to see them - so fresh, bright and savory. :-)

  13. These are beautiful, and I might add very tasty, little tarts. Your photos are really terrific. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  14. That looks SO good- I'm obsessed with goat cheese! You should try this recipe- it's a warm goat cheese salad and it's to die for!

  15. Gorgeous photos! I am a sucker for summer tomatoes too! I'm going to try this recipe soon...

  16. Are you sure you used only 4 oz of goat cheese with 1/4 c. milk? I used more goat cheese and I was left with cheese-milk...

  17. Yes, that is what I used. Maybe the goat cheese I had was more dense than yours? I used the one from Trader Joe's. I know fresh goat cheese is probably a lot softer and has more liquid.

  18. is there a substitute you recommend for goat cheese? thanks!

  19. Hm... I think any soft, mild-flavored cheese will do. Something like queso fresco maybe? I'm not sure what kind of substitute you are looking for.

  20. this looks amazing, such a great vegetarian option. love the photo of all the tomatoes

  21. I just made the tart & it is fabulous! I am so pleased. I'm making another batch of mini tarts right now & using left over Boursin. Thanks for the recipe & photos, fabulous!