Make that Tomato Tart now! + All Butter Pastry
This is my very simple, everyday, anyonecanmakethis Pâte Brisée or a Short Crust- my go to All-Butter Pastry. I teach this to all students who come through Camont’s kitchen doors. It breaks the usual prissy pastry rules about chilling flour, butter and water. It is a forgiving sort of crust, a classic French pâte brisée perfect for everything from summery fruit tarts to the savory tarte a la tomates that we shared with good friend David Lebovitz.
It’s easy. Be not afraid of pastry. It will be delicious and your friends will love you and your French tartes.
Kate’s Easy Tart Pastry
200 g or 1 1/2 cups all purpose or pastry flour
100 g or 4 ounces unsalted butter straight from the refrigerator. Cut into cubes
a pinch of salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water as needed.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC or 400ºF . The oven should be very hot to seize the pastry to hold its shape.
1. Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter cubes and use your hands to break in the butter by smashing the butter with your fingers into the flour. Continue until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. This can be very uneven; leave some bits of butter still visible.
2. Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mix and break the whole egg into the center. Add 1 tablespoon of the water. Beaten the egg and water a bit in the well then mix all together stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add additional water.
3. Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a generously floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. This is a soft dough, so handle lightly.
4. Roll out. Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the pastry with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations. Who needs a fork?
You can then brush the pastry base with an egg if you like, sprinkle with sugar or just fill and bake. How long? Depending on the filling about 25-35 minutes.
Tomato Tart Filling
Tomatoes enough to fill your tart pan
fresh herbs chopped finely
salt & pepper
After rolling out the pastry, brush it with a beaten egg mixed with mustard and set aside to dry. This is a little secret to avoid a soggy bottom.
Then cut very good ripe tasty tomatoes into thick slices.
Lay the slices over the mustardy bottom fitting them tightly across the tart.
Drizzle with some olive oil and then sprinkle with fresh herbs (chives, thyme, basil, lovage, oregano, whatever). Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in a hot oven 200’C or 400’F for 30-45 minutes, until the bottom of the pastry is well browned.