My maths teachers would be proud...and confused.
Let's face it, I was not known for my stellar work with numbers...English, history, science, geography, French--pretty much anything other that maths and phys. ed and the machine-assisted sewing part of Home Ec, I happily claimed a small part of. Anything and everything beyond BEDMAS made my head hurt...a lot.
Now, ironically, one of the things I've developed a reputation for (at least amongst vendors who works with me) is my somewhat quick and usually annoyingly airtight ability to cut through smarmy numbers...yeah, I'm a favourite in some circles...
Maybe there is a mathy in me screaming to get out. I'm sure it has to do with all my baking and cooking...yet another reason why people should bake more chocolate cakes and make more ice cream...
So when Alanna of Kitchen Parade announced a foodish twist to Pi Day (look at my posting date (omitting the year), if you don't get it), I planned to seize this opportunity to continue making peace with my inner mathy...
Ah...the best laid plans of mince and mandolines...Life got busy so I couldn't bake specifically for this event. I pretty much gave up on participating, until I remembered a tart I made last summer I didn't blog about...
In May I blogged about Georgeanne Brennan's sweet memoir A Pig In Provence, with plans to try a few more recipes. One of which was her Tomato Tart.
Her instructions were quite easy--roll out the crust, fill it and bake it--all done with a voice of someone who's very experienced and matter-of-fact in the kitchen. Quantities aren't specific--you just add as much much as makes sense, season to taste and then bake at the required temp until done.
I didn't want to use a wheat-based crust for my version, instead wanting something that was a little different and had a bit of a texture. Then I remembered Nigella's pastry recipe for tomato tarts used cornmeal...well, I didn't have to go much further than that.
I'll be honest and admit to forgetting if I had to fiddle with quantities for my 30cm fluted tin-- Nigella's is for eight 12cm individually-portioned tarts--but somehow I don't think I had to adjust things. I do recall deciding to form the crust as Edna Staebler used to, by pressing the dough directly into the tin, instead of the usual roll, drape and trim.
I do remember the tart. The crust was crisp and the cornmeal's texture was a nice crunchy-crispy contrast to the soft and gooey cheesey-tomatoey filling. It was the right thing, paired with a leafy salad, for a light supper.
Tomato and Gruyère Tart
Inspired by Georgeanne Brennan's A Pig in Provence and Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess
for the Pastry
125g pastry flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
For the filling
prepared Dijon mustard
Mix the dry ingredients together, then rub in the fats until the mixture reminds you of coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in enough water so the pastry comes together into a dough. Pat into a disc, wrap in cling and let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour.
When the dough has rested, take it out and press it to about 0.5cm/1/2" thickness into a 30cm x 2.5 cm/12"x1" tart pan. Pop it back into the fridge for another 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Spread a thin layer of mustard on the pastry base. Snug in the tomato slices and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Spread the cheese over top and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with more thyme, salt and pepper.
Bake until the cheese is golden and the tomatoes have softened--about 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 15-20 minutes before serving.