Sunday, May 13, 2007

Goat Cheese Tart

Made this tart last night for dinner. It is very nice and pretty simple to make. The tart shell will be the challenge for most people but it is really is quite easy with a food processor. This recipe is from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten of the Food Network. We just had a nice salad of mixed greens with a mustard vinaigrette and some nice chardonnay with it and it was a delightful meal. Yeah, I know it has a stick and a half of butter but that is spread between 6 slices, and I did replace the heavy cream in the recipe with plain kefir. BTW this dough recipe is a good one to have in your repertoire. It is known in French as a Pate Brisee and is a classic recipe for pie crusts, tart shells and other things that need a nice flaky crust and I have been using it for years for recipes like this. If you need to make a two crust pie just use 2 and a half cups of flour, 2 sticks of butter, a level teaspoon of kosher salt and about a 1/4 cup of ice water. If I am making a sweet pie or tart I will add a couple of tablespoons of sugar in as well. Get this recipe for crust under your belt and you will never be afraid of pie crust again.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
Kosher salt
13 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
10 1/2 ounces garlic-and-herb soft goat cheese
1 cup heavy cream. note: I wanted something a little lighter so I substituted plain kefir for the cream but plain milk or even buttermilk would do as well.
3 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the crust, put the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Cut 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) of the butter into large dice, add to the bowl, and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, add 3TBLSP of the ice water all at once and process until the dough becomes crumbly. Don't over process. Dump the dough out on a floured board, gather it loosely into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Note: you can do this a day or two ahead and the dough will be fine. This rest in the fridge is just to let be butter re-chill and the dough to relax

Blind baking the tart shell.
Roll the dough on a well-floured board and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable sides, rolling the pin over the top to cut off the excess dough. Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil and fit it, butter side down, into the tart pan. Fill the foil with rice or beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and foil from the tart shell, prick the bottom all over with a fork, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small pan and saute the shallots over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tender. Place the goat cheese in the bowl of the food processor and process until crumbly. Add the cream, eggs, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and process until blended.
Scatter the cooked shallots over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the goat cheese mixture over the shallots to fill the shell (if the shell has shrunk, there may be leftover filling). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tart is firm when shaken and the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve hot or at room temperature.


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