Saturday, September 12, 2009

Leek, Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart

Have you been eating your fair share of tomatoes this season? Have you been eating my share, too? I hope so, because, shamefully, these are the first tomatoes I've gotten my hands on so far, and it's the middle of September! 

Where has the time gone? I remember a few months ago when I was visiting my friend Philippe (and pillaging his orange tree) he mentioned a lovely tradition he has with friends. Every August they get together to celebrate peak tomato season by collaborating on a multi-course meal in which tomatoes must be part of each dish. Including dessert (tomato ice cream, anyone?). I sighed with envy and made a mental note to take full advantage of August myself. 


Ah, well, there's no use crying over sliced tomatoes. Right?

I checked out the Good Housekeeping: Baking cookbook from the library with the sole intent of doing some cake frosting investigating. Then I flipped through the savory tarts section and saw a full-page, full-color photograph for this tart and thought two things: 1) I'm making this immediately, and, 2) this doesn't help me at all with my cake frosting issues.

From the beginning of my preparations I thought this tart was going to turn out to be a disaster. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I decided not to use the pastry dough recipe in the book, so at the last minute I dug out another one, then discovered I was missing a main ingredient (sour cream); I had yogurt on hand, but only fat-free. Instead of using a tart pan I was going to make this into a free form galette, then at the last minute, changed my mind back and decided to use my tart pan. Then I discovered I was out of foil to line and weight the tart dough when pre-baking, so I went without. The crust shrank, and bubbled up. I substituted dried thyme for fresh, when, in a dish with so few ingredients, fresh would have been lovely.

As I was stumbling my way through this recipe, I was writing this post in my head. Maybe some funny jokes about gifting this disastrous tart off to the neighbors I don't like, or laments about wasted tomatoes. But then I took the tart out of the oven, removed it from the pan, looked at it, and thought, "wow. that doesn't look half bad". I tasted it, and swooned.

Disaster, averted. New favorite savory tart recipe, found.

Leek, Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart
Adapted from Good Housekeeping Baking

4 medium leeks (2-1/2 lbs. The recipe calls for 6 leeks, but 4 seemed the perfect amount)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
3 small ripe tomatoes
1 tsp fresh thyme (I substituted dried)
4 oz goat cheese

Dough, Option #1: (the one I didn't use)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tbsp ice water

1) In large bowl, mix flour and salt. With pastry blender, or 2 knives used scissor-fashion, cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2) Sprinkle in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition, until dough is just moist enough to hold together. 
3) Shape dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
4) On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 14-inch round. Fit dough into 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate or freeze 10 to 15 minutes before baking.

Dough, Option #2 (the one I did use)

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

1) In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter pieces. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
2) In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water. 
3) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add half of the sour cream mixture. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 60 minutes.
4) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out and fit into an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Making the tart:

1) Using the white and pale green portions only, slice leeks, rinse, and let drain. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks, reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer, until leeks are soft and any moisture has evaporated. Stir in 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.

2) Line prepared tart shell with foil, fill with pie weights, dry beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, until golden brown. Cool on wire rack
*(I only pre-baked my crust for approximately 10 minutes, with no foil. As mentioned, it shrank slightly)

3) Slice tomatoes. Sprinkle bottom of tart shell with parmesan cheese. Spread with leeks.  Arrange tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and thyme. Crumble goat cheese over top. 

4) Bake approximately 25 minutes or until goat cheese is lightly browned. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove side of tart pan and cool tart 10 minutes longer. Cut into wedges to serve. 


  1. Delicious, very light. I could seriously eat the entire tart. It reminded me how interesting tomatoes can be and I'm generally not much of a tomato fan. I don't understand the problems you described in the post, mainly because it looked and tasted perfect.

  2. That's such a cool tradition that your friend has! :) I love tomatoes and just bought a whole bunch the other day at the store--I've been looking for a way to use them.

  3. Such a great idea! Several restaurants in the Raleigh area do the same thing. Looks absolutely delcious, glad I stumbled upon your blog :)

  4. Aside from the dish looking BEAUTIFUL, I can just imagine the joy it brings when you finally get to eat it. The only question I have is whether or not I make Lisa cook the dish for me, do I cook it myself, or both??? Oh the questions!!!!

  5. everything you make looks so good! this dish especially looks great cause i desperately love tomatoes! :)