French Tomato Tart

kate's tart

This week I saw the first promise of tomato season. A few brightly colored cherry specimens were brought home from the local market, as well as the more standard varieties. I was down in Gascony visiting my friend Kate Hill, and her photographer friend Tim Clinch was there preparing to lead a photography workshop. Looking for something tempting and colorful, tomatoes seemed the obvious choice as willing subjects.

cherry tomatoes erika

In addition to the profusion of flowers plucked from the lush garden by the canal du Midi, the tomatoes had their moment in front of the camera. But once the participants stopped clicking, we grabbed them and put them where they rightfully belong: In the kitchen.

In France, tarts are not considered “special occasion” fare, and if you’re invited to someone’s house for a meal, even the most inept home cook will make a quiche or tarte salée, which will surprise you when they present a stunning tart à table, looking just about as good as anything whipped up from the local bakery.

farine colombe

True, some cooks here cheat a bit and use pre-purchased pâte brisée, which you can buy in the supermarket refrigerator case where it’s sold rolled up and boxed like plastic wrap. However I will concede that it does make quick work of making a savory tart and on more than one occasion I’ve been duped by someone, whose tart I’ve complimented, which prompted what I call “The Garbage Can Confessional”: when someone has to fess up and extract an empty box from the poubelle, usually from Picard, France’s popular frozen food chain.

tomato

I’ve not bought or used the pre-made stuff, however tempting it might be (!) but this dough is as easy as pie to make and roll out. And by the time it takes to go to the store and buy the dough, you can make this. I haven’t tried it with the French tart dough recipe but Kate assured me it would work with either an unbaked or pre-baked tart shell.

montage 1

Unlike other savory tarts, such as the Herbed Ricotta Tart, this one has no custard or cream added; it’s just sliced tomatoes, fresh herbs, and sliced rounds of soft goat cheese, which get browned on top. Without a rich custard, the taste and texture of the tomatoes doesn’t get lost. But the fresh goat cheese is wonderful, especially when it gets all crusty-brown on top, and warm and creamy-soft inside. You could swap out another cheese that you like, such as comté, haloumi, or fontina, or another favorite fromage which melts well.

tart dough

Ditto with the fresh herbs. A few steps outside of her always-buzzing kitchen are big bunches of herbs growing in verdant, leafy profusion. Thyme, variegated two-color sage, lovage, and savory are well-represented, but I was especially pleased to find fresh oregano, which for some reason is elusive in Paris.

tarte aux tomates

So when she wasn’t looking, I clipped a few sprigs (ok, more than a few sprigs), which I squirreled away in my suitcase. Along with the homemade red wine vinegar and foie gras that she did give me. Plus I had some bitter chestnut honey that I picked up at the market in Cahors. (And, of course, a trip to the local antique market yielded me a few vintage wine glasses and Kate scored three gorgeous old French jam jars for just €5 a pop.)

honey honey on tart

I’m not a fan of sweet-savory cooking—with a few exceptions, most notably glazed Korean chicken wings, but when I saw the sticky jar of brusque miel de ronce (wild blackberry honey) on her counter, I suggested drizzling a bit over the tart just before baking. We had a bit of dough leftover, so it got rolled out and we made a mini-tart to give it a try. And it was a big hit.

tart

But the real stroke of genius, I think, is the layer of mustard you spread on the tart, which provides a spicy back-bite to the baked tomato slices. You can go as easy or as generous as you want. The French love their Dijon mustard so don’t be shy: a layer that’s a thick as what you’d spread on a sandwich is just about right.

rose & Blt's (blog)

Perfect hot from the oven, or mighty good at room temperature as well, this is perfect summertime fare. You could pair it with the proverbial leafy green salad or go whole hog and serve it on a buffet with PLTs (Pig, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwiches). But in my mind, the best accompaniment are glasses of rosé over ice. And from the number of bottles we went through that afternoon, no one seemed to disagree.

french lunch

French Tomato Tart

One 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) tart

Adapted from A Culinary Journey in Gascony

Because this is ‘country-style’ fare, this tart is open to lots of interpretation. For those of you with tart dough “issues”, you can make this either free-style or in a fluted tart ring with a removable bottom. Kate didn’t let the dough rest, but simply rolled it out, transferred it into the tart ring, and ran the rolling pin over the dough to neatly shear away the edges.

If you wish to make a free-style tart, roll the dough out to about 14-inches across, then transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Assemble the tart, leaving a 2-inch (5 cm) border, which you’ll then fold up to enclose the tart.

Depending on the size of your pan, you may have a bit of dough leftover. We used it to make a few mini-tartlets, which we enjoyed later than evening with our aperitifs.

Tart Filling

  • One unbaked tart dough (see recipe, below)
  • Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • two generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon
  • 8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds
  • Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons flavorful honey

Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
4 1/2 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water

1. Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.

2. Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of ice water.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.

4. 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. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.

If making a freestyle tart, simply transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet (see headnote); no need to make indentations with your fingers.

5. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). See note.

6. Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough and let it sit a few minutes to dry out.

7. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.

8. Sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs, then drizzle with some honey, if using.

(If baking a free-form tart, gather the edges when you’re done, to envelope the filling.)

9. Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn’t brown as much as you’d like it, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it’s just right.

Note: Kate indeed does cook her tart in a very hot oven. You might wish to check the tart midway through baking and turn it down a bit in case the top is getting too dark, before the crust and tomatoes appear to be cooked.

flowers

Related Recipes and Links

Eggless Chervil Mayonnaise

Camp Cassoulet

Preserved Tomatoes

French Pear and Almond Tart

Herbed Ricotta Tart

Summer Tomato Salad Recipe

Panzanella

Easy Jam Tart

Tim Clinch Photography

Kate Hill’s Kitchen at Camont Blog



139 comments

  • Wow, I can’t even cook (admittedly, I only even looked because I thought you’d be divulging the recipe for the tarte tatin à la tomate from Les Philisophes), but I think I might be able to tackle this! Thanks David. :-)

  • Beautiful – the goat cheese looks divine.

  • That looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. I, too think there’s nothing better than homemade tart crust. Buttery, flaky deliciousness.

  • your pictures are more gorgeous than ever in that light. And those colors…

    “as easy as pie”… hahahaha :D. I love this !

    I’d be glad to read the book you should write about the joys (and odds) of french countryside ! (except for that huge spider I prefer not to hear about too much :D !)

  • We must be on the same wavelength! I just made a Tomato Tart with a Pate Brisee crust that I was just writing about to post on my blog. I had to use cheddar as that was all the cheese I had in the house. Of course, yours looks a whole lot better than mine! I love tomato season!

  • That is gorgeous! I wish tomatoes were in season here.

    Jenn

  • Is it coincidence that today, I bought tomato plants for the garden (Arkansas Traveler, a pink heirloom) and arrived home to find this gorgeous tart on your blog?

    I don’t think so. I cannot wait to try it! By chance, do you know the variety of the lobed tomato that was used for the tart with honey? It is beautiful, and I’d love to find seeds for it to grow it myself!

    Bisous!

  • David, the photo of the tomato on the cutting board…what type of tomato is that? I bought them when I was in Paris, and maybe I got a bad batch or used them improperly, mostly in salades, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by that variety.

  • While they all look beautiful, and delicious… that gorgeous fluted tomato in the absolute perfect shade of red just knocks me out. I almost (almost!) would say that it was too beautiful to be eaten.

  • oh that looks gooooood! Do you find that the base gets soggy without blind baking?

  • Absolutely delicious. And, yes, preparing your own crust makes all the difference.

  • I love the mustard in those tarts. I make a version with gruyère that is the taste of summer to me.

    Your pictures are especially lovely, seeing as we’re slogging through a cold, wet spring on the West Coast. What wouldn’t I give for a few days of Southern French sunshine and tomatoes?

  • Will you please open up a restaurant in Paris?

  • This reminds me of a pizza I used to (30odd yrs ago!) get and dream of finding again..somewhere. The crust was so much like a thick pie crust or maybe a thin puff pastry, crisp and tender. It was covered with tomato slices, olive oil and fresh motz and sprinkled with oregano and basil, topped just like pizza margarita. A large group of us would pile into that little Italian restaurant from the office and devour several sheet pans full. It was SO good. David, uou have given me hope here!

  • Talk about bringing a little summer onto the table. Looks delicious.

  • This looks incredible and the photos are beautiful. I love the vibrant colors in this dish.

  • David will probably confirm this but the “pleated” tomatoes are named “coeur de boeuf” (beef’ heart).

    It’s a not so ancient variety sold in supermarket, regular markets, and grown in gardens here. It has the favors of the public because it has a lot of “flesh” : not so much holes filled with juice when you cut it. In a garden this is a good variety because it gives a LOT for each crop, and because the fact that it is relatively new it resists quite well to the usual tomatoes diseases.

    It has some taste when it comes from a garden, yet not amazing… It has a lot less flavor when it is mass produced of course, especially since everybody want it here and since their price is quite high due to their “fanciness reputation”. Industrial groups are tempted to produce those tomatoes too quickly, and some of them have never seen the real sun and fresh air (not the industrial groups of course, the tomatoes :D). Depending on the producers and the supermarket sources, you can have very tasty flavored ones, or sad pieces of red, wet, polystyrene foam… :/.

    the fact is, they are truly beautiful, and I strongly prefer la coeur de boeuf in pictures than in my salad plate if I’m given the choice of the variety. But in a tart like this it’s one of its best use, and I would have gladly took a slice if I had the chance to share this moment ! :D.

  • This recipe looks amazing and the pictures.. just lovely!

  • Oh yum. I can’t wait for my tomatoes to ripen in the garden! My favorite savory tart is custard-based with carmelized onions and goat cheese. It’s great, but kinda heavy. This looks light-will have to try it!

  • You are torturing me! Its still so far away for local tomatoes. A variation on this tart is often the first thing after a tomato salad I make once the tomatoes show up. I love the idea of the goat cheese on top! I usually sprinkle gruyere/comte on top of the mustard underneath the tomatoes, acting as a moisture barrier. Also, a tip I love is to put the tomatoes on paper towel as I’m getting everything together to soak up a little bit of the moisture. This really is the perfect French lunch!

  • This does look like a great tart. One question for this home cook, who has made many a quiche and tarte salée: why the egg in the tart crust? I’ve always just done butter/lard, flour, salt, bit of water. How does the egg change the taste/texture?

  • I want to be your friend. I want to be at that table, making friends with everyone there, with a slice of that beautiful tart and a chilly glass of rose in front of me. Sigh.

  • This looks so delicious. I wish it were tomato season already! I’m not going to be able to wait. My adventuresome 13 year old foodie would be in heaven. She is recently in love with goat cheese. Thx. for the wonderful post.

  • How gorgeous.That scene at the table is how I would like to live every day. This style of tomato tart is a hit in our house, due entirely to the mustard.

    I just discovered Tim, thanks to Kate. Love his blog.

  • i was already eagerly awaiting tomato season over here but now i’m just drooling: that tart looks amazing. I’m obsessed with honey right now so that mini tart sounds best of all.

  • I’m dying! Yum! And that tomato…it makes me want to cry…making this soon!

  • This looks perfect–the flavors and textures must go great together!
    Yum!

  • This looks delicious and reminds me that I have been on a quest to find a dijonnaise recipe. . . do you have one? I can only find one when I google it and other search engines and it doesn’t look like what I remember from 5 years in France. . . maybe I’ll check la bonne cuisine francaise. . . but if you have a good one i would sure appreciate it.
    thanks

  • Mmm, I want this right now! I have made many variations of tarte a la moutarde (as my belle mere calls it), but I haven’t tried the rounds of chevre and I most definitely will. They look so lovely and golden. Thanks for the absolutely gorgeous photos! I can’t wait for my little tomatoes to be ready, but it will be a while for us….

  • LOVE the dijon mustard and tomato combination. I can hardly stand to wait the couple of months until tomato season here in Seattle!

  • David, you are always my go-to guy for sweet things – but wow (!) you just made my mouth water . . . for tomatoes! Well played.

  • My mouth watered as I read about tomatoes in May. Here in Seattle, we have just planted our tomato plants and it will be a long summer before we see the fruits of our labors. But, I know where to find some decent California tomatoes and so will totter off to the store this evening, make some brisee and get a tart going for a late dinner.

  • Oh gosh, those golden rounds of goat cheese are enticing enough to make me *almost* forget my fear of pastry. Oh, for a Picard in Australia, so I could join the Garbage Can Confessional mob…

  • looks completely gorgeous…i made some pastry the other day with chopped thyme which i mixed it through the dough. i very much like the idea of no blind baking but does the pastry need to be chilled first before it goes into the oven?

  • yes a nice thick layer of dijon indeed.
    i love tomato tarts–wish i could use those tomatoes too.

  • David, if you don’t love your life, you don’t know how well you’ve made it. I love mine too but can’t help to want some of yours :-)

  • Hi David! I love this tomato tart, but it always seems to get a soggy bottom (pardon the phrase…) from the tomato juice. Any tips on avoiding this?!

  • Sounds (and looks) delish! Can’t wait to try this- thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for the encouragement to see tarts as regular, rather than special-event food. That said, this tart reminds me of “tomato pie,” which we first found at a little fresh seafood shop on Edisto Island, S.C. Layers of sliced tomato, fresh basil (and we added sauteed onions & garlic, all topped with a goopy “crust” of 1 part shredded cheddar + 1 part good quality mayo. Down-home type food and delicious. Looking forward to tomato season here to try yours.

  • David, oregano is a perennial that can b grown in a flowerpot outside your window if you have room.

  • You made me ache to be in France, but no travel for me right now. Lunch in the garden with tomatoes and rosé…what couldn’t be better? I make this tart as well, but use gruyère, though like the idea of chèvre. I always have trouble with the bottom being wet and have to spend a lot of extra effort to crisp it up. Any thoughts?

  • Gorgeous post and recipe too! The photographs scream summer, and are lovely!! Perfecto!

  • Gorgeous post and recipe too! The photographs scream summer, and are lovely!! Perfecto!

  • Gorgeous post and recipe too! The photographs scream summer, and are lovely!! Perfecto!

  • Wow, I can’t wait to make this tomato tart for an upcoming picnic. Thank you.

  • The similar looking tomato sold in the USA is called an ox heart. It must be the same variety.
    Right now we are no closer to tomato season here than one golf ball sized green thing on one plant. The sweet cherries, however, are beginning to change from green to yellow.

  • David, if you ever get tired of slaving away in the kitchen you’ve got a good start on a second career as a food photographer.
    I’ve heard that the flour in France is generally superior to the flour we get here in the U.S. What’s your opinion?

  • Totally hear you on the sweet-savoury food suspicion part. I wish tomatoes were in season in Austria! Must. be. patient.

  • Hi David,

    Can i ask you an ice cream question here?

    It was 91 degrees in NYC today and I made your vanilla ice cream. Very yummy! I bought good-quality eggs from the Union Square Farmer’s Market and the gold yolks gave the ice cream a beautiful butter yellow color.

    Anyway, I have the Cuisinart ICE-20 machine and have often had a problem with some of the custard freezing on the sides of the bowl. Not only is it hard to scrape out, it doesn’t blend in well with the rest of the mixture. Do you whisk it in? I hate to throw it away, because there is a fair amount that can (hopefully?) be saved.

    The bowl was definitely frozen enough and there certainly was enough fat in the custard. Since you have used this machine, I am wondering if it happens to you and what you do about it.

    Thanks!
    Laura

    Hi Laura: I’ve not had that happen to me, but I mention in my ice cream book that I turn the machine on when using those kinds of machines, they pour in the custard while it’s moving. You also may wish to contact the manufacturer as they’re best equipped to answer questions relating to their machines for advice as well. -dl

  • lisa: As Krysalia pointed out, they’re called cœuer de rumsteak tomatoes. Known as ‘beef heart’ tomatoes, they’re actually not so tasty. (Linda H. in a comment mentioned they are ‘Ox Heart’ tomatoes in the states.) There is a company called Savéol which is reproducing ‘heirloom-style’ tomatoes in France, which as you discovered, lack great tomato flavor and those are the ones you’re likely to come across in Paris.

    I do recommend scouting out real tomatoes, which are unfortunately difficult to find here and you have to do some digging to come up with great ones. The only ones that I’ve reliably liked are called ‘Campari’ tomatoes. But outside of the city, especially in the south of France, the summertime tomatoes are indeed, wonderful.

    DessertforTwo: I think a layer of caramelized onions underneath is a wonderful idea. Or a sauce made of a shallot-rich French vinaigrette would be nice drizzled over the top.

    lizzie: It is funny that tarts are seen as commonplace fare in France, whereas in the states, it’s a Big Deal to make one. That easy-to-use dough does have something to do with it, but I have friends that aren’t exactly accomplished cooks that think it’s nothing to mix up a dough (without using a recipe), rolling it out, and making some sort of tart. They’re not as concerned with how perfect it looks, (such as this rustic apple & rhubarb tart), which really isn’t all that important; the flavor is!

    Will: I wrote a post about American ingredients and their French equivalents, but in short, French flour is very finely milled and powdery, similar to American cake flour. It can be tricky to work with for things like cookies, if you’re not used to it, but it does make nice tart doughs and such.

  • Oh to be in France, eating this tart with iced Rose. I’m aching to try this with market Campari tomatoes…thanks for the recipe!

  • Those fluted tomatoes appeared in Publix supermarkets in Florida a couple of winters ago. Unlike most winter tomatoes, they tasted almost like a summer tomato–much better than anything else in the stores in February, even the hydroponic type.

    So when I saw them at Monoprix and the outdoor market, I bought two and set them in the bowl on my kitchen table. In two days they had turned to mush and had to be thrown out, so I never got to compare the taste to the American ones.

    They sure do photograph up nicely, though!

  • Now, that’s a beauty! I’m still waiting for the first real tomatoes here. I’ll put them to good use making this great recipe.
    Magda

  • Beautiful! I am totally with you on the mustard in a tomato tart — it makes all the difference (even if it’s winter and you have to use canned tomatoes and Comté in a creamy, eggy custard). Really surprised that tarts are “special occasion” food in the US — here it’s what we make when we are short of cash, ideas, ingredients, time; there are always the makings of a quiche or tarte à la moutarde in the house.

  • Fresh vegetables, lovely smiles and beautiful weather… all are more than perfect!

  • DL-your Gascon-Wiki here.
    On Tomatoes:Locals actually call these Geneovese or Italian tomatoes. The real Coeur de Boeuf (beef heart) are indeed heart shaped, smooth and as krysalia mentions they are all meat and no jelly/pulp. they are rarely grown commercially, the plants (and seeds) are a more rustic variety, spindlier and produce well all through the summer. The tomatoes we bought at the Agen market are grown locally here in dept 47, but at this time of year are from local greenhouses. Very good greenhouses.

    On my pastry: I often use an egg because I like the rich quality the deep golden yolk adds- both color & fat content. It also helps make this an easy beginner’s tarte with the egg binding the dough and providing some protection against a soggy bottom. I never blind bake these tartes, chill nor refrigerator the dough. I work fast, lightly and pop them in the hot oven (425′F).

    Oh, and don’t forget to let the mustard dry some before laying on the tomato slices.
    Best of all the summer days have started early with your inducing Tomato envy everywhere!

  • Hi Kate: Thanks for chiming in..and for the delicious tart! You’re so fortunate in the south to get such nice tomatoes. The ones here in Paris often look promising, similar to the ones you get, but are sadly lackluster when you get them home and give them a taste. (Which is why so many Parisians purchase cherry tomatoes.) I think I need to move south!

    Also I did note that you bake the tart at 425ºF, although because ovens can vary, folks might want to be a bit vigilant and check the progress midway through baking, to make sure all is going well and to reduce the heat a bit if necessary.

    Remerci! xxx dl

  • Hello David !
    You present one of my favorite summer tarts, I love it, and bravo for not adding cream or custard! I make my tomato tart very similarly, with addition of fresh thyme and rocamadour usually; the only difference is that I simmer tomatoes with some oil and garlic for 10-15 minutes and then I put them on my tart, so the excess of juice may evaporate a bit. This is a great recipe.

  • just put down my copy of “ready for desserts” to check in…

    wow…i am a fan of tomato tarts & your blog! so excited about the no cream & intrigued by the drizzle of blackberry honey…

    love the parisians & their dijon…great, great recipe…thanks.

    i also follow 2 stews & was so pleased to read that diane was @ your book signing!
    she lucked out!

  • Hello there, David,
    This tart looks amazing- I can’t wait to try it! I just finished reading your Paris book- I couldn’t put it down, and like one of your other readers comments, “laughed my ass off”, although not literally! I’m returning to France for the third time in September to celebrate a certain age ( I understand that it is the new 30!), and plan to have my birthday dinner at the Jules Verne restaurant. Any comments on this restaurant? We will also be spending half of the trip in Aix-en-Provence, my favorite place (so far!) in France. Do you have any favorite places to eat there?

    Thank you for a great book and blog!
    S.

  • Just beautiful! I just planted my tomatoes, and this year, I’ve got an early variety – I should have fresh picked tomatoes in mid-July!

    How sad that you can’t find fresh oregano – mine is back from its winter sleep and prepared to take over the world! We’ve already cut it back and dried it twice in the past month ( ! ) I wonder if you could grow some on a windowsill?

  • Hi David

    A quick question: in the image showing the dough being placed in the pan, (has a very small depth-of-field and it’s thrown the dough-base out of focus), have you pricked the dough base before adding the filling ingredients, or are the dents caused by the fingertips as the dough is pressed onto the pan?

    thanks
    Michele

  • Kate presses the dough down with her fingertips, instead of pricking it with a fork, which she said is a trick she learned from her French neighbor. You could certainly do either, to ensure that it doesn’t puff up.

  • Dijon on the pastry base? Expect this to be wonderful!

    I use dijon as the sauce base on home made pizza (yes,of course I make my own pizza dough). This tomato and special cheese tart looks amazing – I’ll have to store the recipe away until the Southern Hemisphere’s next Summer. 6 months anticipation of the flavour will make it a recipe to savour!

  • Everything about this is amazing. Tomatoes? Just dying for one good tomato. I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains so at 5000′ we’re lucky to get some from the garden in September and then lucky to get them before the first freeze…so I crave just one good tomato from my childhood in the midwest where warmth and humidity had some benefits! But even the ones here can be tempted into some flavor if used in a dish like this and right now am grateful that in lieu of tomatoes I have a garden filled with herbs, including oregano. Want some?

    I’ve just recently starting using pâte brisée on a regular basis; the elegant name belies the ease of this crust and my days of even considering pulling a frozen piece of cardboard from the freezer and using it in it’s place are over…I thank YOU for that…and so does my family!

  • Hi, David: Once again, a great post. I am going to make this over the long week-end, along with the above suggestion of sauteed onions. The picture of the flowers is just beautiful (along with the shot of the glass of rose)!

    Cheers, Ed

  • If I was stranded on a deserted island and could eat only one vegetable all my life, it would be tomatoes.
    This tart looks delicious. I love recipes that let the natural flavour of tomatoes shine through. I think I might try it with a thin layer of basil or cilantro pesto instead of the mustard.

  • A fun surprise to see Kate Hill is a friend of yours…she is also an old friend of a friend of mine (I forwarded your post to him). I learned of Kate through her wonderful cook book when I working on a boat in Spain and hoped the day would come when we would visit her – and her barge! – but that didn’t happen. Maybe one day. Great post, though I have to say when I saw the title, French Tomato Tart, I had this instant vision of one of Erte’s women in red…

  • What about some pesto in the tart?

  • I love a good tomato tarte in the summer, and OMG the tomato in the fifth picture!

    Somehow I had had forgotten the trick of the mustard, thank you for the reminder. A couple other items tricks I learned from my grandmother in Provence: minced “porc salé” sprinkled on top, and chopped sweet basil layered with the tomatoes as well.

    Thank you for another wonderful post!

    Le Capitaine

  • The tomato slices on your mini tart are the prettiest I’ve ever seen. We are 4-6 weeks away from tomato season and it’s killing me. Last summer, I made many tomato tarts with the french tart dough and did brush the bottom crust with Dijon mustard. I can confirm that they are delicious with gruyere, fontina and fresh mozzarella (with fresh basil). We will be trying your goat cheese recipe too because it sounds delicious.

  • My French host Mom always told me that tomatoes and mustard don’t go together (as in a tomato salad). I’m so happy to see that I’m not the crazy one as I think they’re yummy when coupled. I cannot wait to make this! Thanks for sharing!

    I don’t know if it’s completely wrong to reference another famous cook’s work, but Paula Deen’s Tomato Pie is yummy. It’s not fancy, but it’s pretty fantastic in its’ own way. It’s sort of the Southern version (full on fat attack) of the less-is-more French tomato tart.

  • You make me want to run away from my life.

  • This reminds me of my time in France working as an au pair. We often made a sort of faux pizza using a pate brisee (non-store bought) and ALWAYS slathered on a layer of Dijon mustard before the requisite tomato sauce and toppings. I’d forgotten all about that. It was delicious. I need to try to recreate the dish. I’ll also be trying your recipe. Merci, David!

  • Audrey asked about pesto instead of mustard. I do it both ways, one of each for most of my parties. They’re both a hit!

  • David,

    What a treat to read Kate’s interview with you! It was almost like peeking through a little window into Gascony. Oh, for some ice cold rosé on this hot Mexican afternoon!

    Kathleen

  • I’ve been stalking your blog for so long and have cooked from it loads, but have never made a comment – and the thing that has inspired me to finally do it is the gorgeous packaging on that bag of flour. Très ridicule. But really, it’s so great! I wish I could get a bag of flour like that. I’m sure it makes the pastry even better. I can’t wait to try this tart.

  • David (& I think Kate gets some praise here, too!) -

    First of all, thanking you for sharing Kate’s lovely recipe. I’m testing it now in my Parisian kitchen and plan to serve in my final French class today – it’ll pair well with wine and provide something more savory when often people tend to bring sweet stuff. Plus, I made it with ‘love,’ from scratch ;-)

    The dough was so easy-as-pie as you mentioned, and I wonder, do you think it would work well in a savory quiche? I think I may have to make another tart this evening since my husband was pouting a bit this morning as I rolled the dough out, and when I told him “no, the tart is not for dinner tonight.”

    Hope to see you this evening at Sex In The City bar!

    -Lynanne

  • i saw this yesterday morning, bought the ingredients on my lunch break, and made it as soon as i got home from work. i didn’t add honey to the tart, so for a hint of sweet i made a fresh spinach and strawberry salad tossed in a red wine vinaigrette, and it was one of the best dinners we’ve had in a while. to me, this is the best part of summer meals…fresh, simple dishes that let you enjoy the flavors of summer produce.

    i have a feeling you’ve created a monster with this recipe, because two of my husband’s favorite things in life are heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese and i fear he’ll want me to make it every night! it doesn’t help i made the mistake of telling him it was quick and easy to prepare…

  • looks like a wonderful summer recipe! i can’t wait for more heirloom tomatoes to be out and about here in chicago – that one picture is gorgeous and had me salivating, coffee in hand :).

  • I like that Kate Hill – I want to be her friend! Cahors again – the land of wine AND honey, I must go as I’ve been thinking about it ever since reading your LOT post! I can’t get enough of goat cheese so this is again, another perfect post…I’m happier to start my long weekend here (in the states) after reading…merci!

  • A beautiful tart, and beautiful tomatoes! Not much more to ask.

  • You have really shamed me into making my own crust that I can very well do, but it seems to be too time consuming. The tart is beautiful and the photo of the tomato is stunning. Here we call those tomatoes ugli tomatoes. Good, but not so pretty!

  • David,
    What is the difference between rested tart dough and the un-rested one?
    Thank you.

  • this is exactly the kind of tomato tart that my Belle Mere makes and that my hubs loves. I haven’t done it for a while but I think I will make it soon (it will be the perfect excuse for opening several bottles of rose…ahem).

    Merci David.

  • Made this great recipe, with huge coeur tomatoes in two levels. I cut them like puzzle pieces to fit.

    David, I have one question, though. It was quite wet when it came out of the oven. I will try draining them like eggplant slices on a rack with some salt next time. Do you have a particular solution?

    I did use bought dough, the dessert dough from monoprix, which was sweet. Oddly, with the mustard, it was amazing, if a bit wet.

    Thank you

  • eva: “Rested” means to let the dough sit for a period of time before rolling it out and/or baking it. In this case, Kate did neither.

    Tim: If your tomatoes are too wet, you could drain them slightly of the juices or pat them dry with towels. Normally, as Kate mentioned, those particular tomatoes are known for being ‘meaty’, not juicy. Salting things in advances tends to extract water from them and make them soggy, so I’m not sure I would take that route. But if you do try it, let us know how they turn out.

    kris: Yes, it’s interesting that fresh oregano and marjoram are hard to find in Paris. However there is a profusion of fresh thyme, Bay leaf, and a few other herbs. Plus there are huge bunches of fresh mint, cilantro, and flat-leaf parsley which I buy (and use) often!

  • Great tomatoes you got there. They look so tasty and juicy. Nice recipe.

  • Oh My God!!! I am ready to send you my bank account number if you bring me this tart, David! This must have been, by far, one of the best tarts in the whole world!

  • David, quick photography question – it looks like some time ago you switched from using an XT to an XSi instead. For food and portrait images that aren’t blown up to large size (and assuming the same lenses are used), do you notice a significant difference between the two bodies?

    Your macro shots inspired me to upgrade my glass – now I’m debating the next step…

    Thanks in advance.

  • Lovely! So colorful, in addition to being beautiful.

    I am going to make one for a brunch potluck we’re invited to on Monday. I hope to find some good tomatoes at a local farmer’s market. Great idea!

  • Dan: I recently upgraded to a newer Rebel with a larger screen and other features. I do love it but don’t blow images up to very large sizes, so can’t advise. I also did finally shell out the bucks for the 24-70mm Canon lens, which took me a year of deliberating (!) But I really do love it, like more than a guy should love an inanimate object.

    You can read more at My Food Photography Gear.

  • David:
    This looks great for a hot day like we have now in Denver. Think I will make it tomorrow…………but, I’m going to use your Paule Caillat (“put oil, butter, and water in oven………..) version of the tart shell. It is simple, and always comes out perfect.

  • Exquite light not to mention the tarte.
    Only in France can you find that lighting…
    Lovely still lifes David

  • I saw the recipe and made this last night. It was delicious! Loved the mustard and goat cheese. And the crust! Usually I am terrified of pie and tart crusts, but this was easy. I didn’t have to overwork it and it stayed light and flaky. I served it with a big green salad and wonderful sauteed white local asparagus that are in season here in Germany for just a short time. I can’t wait for my own garden tomatoes to be ripe enough to make this all summer.

    Thanks David!

  • Hi, David: Following my post of a few days ago, I made this tart yesterday (Saturday). It was awesome! I used the French tart dough method, and pre-baked the shell for about 10 minutes. The layer of dijon was a great idea, as I think it kept the moisture of the tomatoes from making the bottom soggy. I sprinkled some herbs de provance on the mustard, added the tomatoes, goat cheese, then sprinkeled with some chestnut honey and fresh thyme. I started with the oven at 375, but after 20 minutes, up it to 400. my ovens a little wacky, so I cooked it total 30 minutes. It was great, you could taste every element from the dijon, to the tomatoes, to the buttery crust.

    Thanks again for the great recipe! Ed

  • I made this last night for an early Alabama summer cookout. It was gone in 3 minutes. I made it free-form in a baking dish. Thank you for the recipe!!

  • I love this post of yours. The photos are so warm and summery and inviting. Whenever I see a bunch of colourful tomatoes, my heart skips a beat. I only wish we got them here instead of the forced ripened insipid crap.

  • Tomato growing season is finally in full swing in the northeast–the threat of frost is long gone. This is another amazing recipe to add to a great collection of what to make with a bounty of fresh grown tomatoes–and I do have a lot growing now–from seed that I started myself, for the second year. This recipe ( yes, it is similar to a pizza!) is a real keeper!!

  • holy shamole, this looks incredible. the cheese on the tomatoes made my mouth water.