Friday, August 19, 2011

A Tart from my Heart

The last time I made this was for my dear friend, Trish, who passed away too young.  This one's for her.  Sniff, sniff.  I found this recipe for Goat Cheese Tart from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa.  I love it!  This tart consists of a buttery crust, tangy herbed goat cheese, basil, and savory shallots. Now pay close attention to how I tell you to make the tart shell.  It's brilliant, makes it easier, and dare I say... perfect? Serve this luscious tart with a cup of Summer Tomato Basil Soup and a simple green salad with Red Wine Dijon Vinaigrette and you'll have a wonderful "Ladies Lunch"!  What to drink you ask?  Why Champagne, of course!

Goat Cheese Tart

Serves 6


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt plus another 1/4 teaspoon
13 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon)
3 to 4 tablespoon ice water
3 cups dried beans to make the tart shell (e.g., pinto, etc.), I keep mine in a jar and reuse them.
1, 9" tart pan with removable bottom
3/4 cups sliced shallots (4 or so)
10 1/2 ounces garlic-and-herb soft goat cheese (Montrachet, if possible)
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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 the ice water and process until the dough becomes crumbly.  Don't over-process. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gather loosely into a ball, cover with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic wrap leaving the dough in the center.  Place a second piece of plastic wrap over the dough and roll out to about a 12" circle.  Remove the top piece of plastic. Slide your hands under the dough and bottom piece of plastic. Gently place evenly in the tart pan, plastic side on top, smoothing into the corners of the pan.  Run a rolling pin over the top to cut off the excess dough. Carefully pull the plastic off.  Butter one side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit it, butter side down, into the tart pan.  Fill the foil with the beans to the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Carefully slide the tart shell onto a baking sheet to remove it from the oven.  Remove the beans and foil (by lifting the corners of foil) from the tart shell. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork and bake another 10 minutes (using the baking sheet to slide it back in the oven).  Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small pan and saute the shallots over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tender.  Season with a pinch of salt. 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 shallots over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the goat cheese mixture over the shallots to fill the shell (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 at least 10 minutes and serve hot or at room temperature.

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