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Ultimate Tuscan Tomato Tart

November 28, 2018

I'm well aware that readers tend to focus their efforts on meaty/parve cooking and delicious dairy is sadly neglected.

For this reason, I rarely share my favorite dairy dishes, difficult though it is to keep these gems to myself.

Fortunately Channukah is coming, candle-lighting hosting is customary, and casual, dairy quiches make the ideal, make-ahead meal.

This gives me the ideal excuse to share the Tuscan Tomato Tart recipe I've been making - and loyally loving - for well over 20 years.

I tweaked the recipe recently to include the most amazing, homemade pastry I've ever worked with - shortcut cooks can use store-bought if preferred - which only makes this timeless classic even better.

Not just for Channukah, it also makes a luscious, light lunch with salad, can be scaled down to finger-food size, and keeps happily if made ahead of time.

The Festival Of Lights just got a little brighter and dairy is deservedly back on the menu.

 

 

PERFECT SAVORY PASTRY*
100 grams butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cold water 
7 ml (1 1/2 teaspoons) apple cider vinegar/white vinegar

1: Put all ingredients other than the vinegar and ice water into your food processor and blitz until butter is incorporated and looks like breadcrumbs.
2: Add vinegar and pulse briefly then slowly add ice water until dough just starts to come together.
3: Turn out dough, press together and wrap in plastic, and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling.
 
NB: This perfect pastry can be adjusted to make the best ever sweet pastry by adding 1/4 cup of powdered sugar - no need to reduce the quantity of flour - and reducing salt to 1/2 teaspoon. To save yourself time when tart-making in future, double up on pastry ingredient quantities, as leftover dough can be successfully frozen.

CHEESE FILLING
2 x tubs Symphonia plain 5% creamed cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped*
Baby tomatoes, halved
Salt and coarse pepper

METHOD
1: Halve tomatoes, sprinkle cut surface with salt, and allow to sweat for 1/2 hour. Blot the surface to remove the excess salt. Not an essential step but I try to do this while I prepare my pastry.
2: Mix the two different cheeses, fresh oregano leaves, and salt and coarse pepper. 
3: Roll out your chilled pastry  - see notes - and line a 22 cm to 24 cm dish
4: Arrange the tomatoes with cut surface up around the tart and bake at 180 C for approximately 45 minutes till the tomatoes are caramelized and cheeses are very clearly cooked and starting to colour.

COOK'S NOTES:You don't have to use Strauss Symphonia brand as Tnuva etc have their own, similar creamed cheese that does the job. If you prefer, you can use one tub of creamed cheese, and 3/4 container of gvinah levana 9% cheese, which gives a lighter texture. I personally think though that Symphonia is first prize. Fresh basil can replace oregano if necessary and fresh herbs make all the difference. Making your own pastry is hugely satisfying and produces excellent results. If you don't have a dairy food processor, you could make parve pastry, as it will still work fine with this delicious filling. Rolling pastry out onto a surface dusted with cornflour works even better than regular flour. Tart may be served warm or at room temperature.

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