Memorable Quotes:

"A Bearnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect." Fernand Point

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tomato Basil and Cheese Tart



For the shell:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter cut into bits
2 Tbs. cold vegetable shortening
1/4 pound sliced lean bacon, cooked, drained, cooled and crumbled
1/4 tsp. salt
raw rice for weighting the shell
For the filling:
4 Large(about 2 Lbs.) firm-ripe tomatoes sliced horizontally 1/3 inch thick
1 1/2 tsp. salt plus additional for sprinkling on the tomatoes
1 cup firmly packed basil leaves plus three sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs -- lightly beaten
1/4 pound whole-milk mozzarella, grated coarsely
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil for brushing tomatoes

Make the shell: In a large bowl blend the flour, the butter, the shortening,the bacon, and the salt until the mixture resembles meal. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, or enough to form a dough, tossing the mixture until the water is incorporated. Knead the dough lightly with the palm of the hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds until the fat is evenly distributed and form it into a ball. Flatten the dough
slightly, dust it with flour, and chill it, wrapped in waxed paper, for 1 hour. Roll the dough into a 1/8 inch thick round on a floured surface and fit it into a 9 inch fluted tart pan with removable rim. Prick the shell lightly with a fork and chill it for 30 minutes. Line the shell with foil, fill the foil with rice, and bake in the lower third of a preheated 425 deg.F.oven  A for 15 minutes. Remove the rice and foil carefully, bake the shell for 3 to 5 minutes more or until it is pale golden, and let it cool in the pan on a rack.Make the filling: Sprinkle the tomato slices on both sides with the additional salt and let them drain on paper towels. In a food processor or a blender puree the basil leaves with the ricotta, add the eggs, and blend the mixture until it is combined. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, the mozzarella,the Parmesan, and freshly grated black pepper to taste and blend the mixture until it is just combined. Pat the tomato slices dry with paper towels, line the bottom of the shell with tomato end pieces and spoon the cheese mixture over the end pieces smoothing the mixture. Arrange the remaining tomato slices in one layer, overlapping them slightly, over the cheese mixture and brush them with oil. Bake the tart in a pre-heated 350 Deg. F. oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cheese mixture is set. Transfer the tart to a rack, let it stand for 10 minutes, and garnish it with basil sprigs. Serve the tart hot or at room temperature. Serves six.

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