Category Archives: French Cooking

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

David Lebovitz’s post a while back for a French Tomato Tart inspired me to try my own version of the tomato tart with the wonderful tart crust I learned from Madame Paule Caillat in her Promenades Gourmandes class. In class, we made a sweet dessert tart, but Paule assured us that the crust would work with a savory filling too.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart (Adapted from David Lebovitz, A Culinary Journey in Gascony, and Paule Caillat’s family crust recipe)


Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Recipe type: Savory
 
Ingredients
For the tart crust
  • 90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil (I used lemon, orange and herbs de provence infused olive oil)
  • 3 tbs water
  • 
1/2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g (about 1 cup) flour
For the tomato filling
  • Dijon mustard
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes sliced into thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme and parsley snipped from the garden)
  • 8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese
Instructions
For the tart crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).
  2. Combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt in a large glass measuring cup or oven safe bowl
  3. Place the butter mixture in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the butter is boiling and just starts to brown.
  4. Remove the butter mixture from oven and add into the pre-measured flour. Stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. If needed, add flour a spoonful at a time until the dough pulls away form the side of the bowl.
  6. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and line it evenly.
  7. Use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough for patching any cracks.
  8. Pierce the bottom with a fork and use the back of the fork to line ridges around the sides of the dough.
  9. Bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is light brown and shows light cracks.
  10. Let the shell cool before filling.
The Tomato Filling
  1. Keep the oven hot at 410º F.
  2. Slice half of the goat cheese into rounds and store in the refrigerator until tart assembly.
  3. Place the other half of the cheese in a small bowl to soften.
  4. Finely chop the herbs.
  5. Combine 1 tbs of the chopped herbs and ½ -1 tsp dijon mustard with the softened goat cheese.
  6. Carefully spread the cheese mixture over the bottom of the tart.
  7. Place the tomato slices in concentric circles over the cheese.
  8. Drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Sprinkle the tomatoes with some of the herbs.
  10. Top the tomato slices with the reserved goat cheese rounds.
  11. Sprinkle on the remaining chopped herbs.
  12. Bake about 30 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the cheese is nicely browned.
Notes
When I made this tart, I only had 4 ounces of goat cheese, so I sliced some rounds from about ⅔ of the roll and substituted cream cheese for the rest in the spread. It was very creamy and delicious. Add dijon mustard to the spread to taste. It does add a lovely tang, but can overpower the tomatoes very easily. The crust is very flaky and crumbly (yum) so the goat cheese can be a challenge to spread. I used a spreader rinsed in hot water to spread a bit and then rinsed and spread until I had a nice even layer over the bottom of the crust.

 

Promenade Gourmandes – Paris Cooking Class – Dessert

 

Today is all about dessert. Apple tart with decadent butter crust and almond topping. mmmmmmmmmmm!

This was the menu for our cooking class:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguett

This crust was very easy to make. Just butter, oil, flour and a pinch of salt. We peeled and diced fresh apples, then cooked them in butter. Before cooking the apples, we made a topping of slivered almonds, egg whites and sugar.

The cooked apples were then flambe’d with brandy and placed in the baked crust. Then we topped the apples with the almond mixture and baked it all to delicious golden perfection.

 

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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking School – Main Course (and Veggies)

 

Today’s post is about the main course and veggies. This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

 

Now we get to the main course – a veal scaloppine stuffed with a spinach and mushroom duxelle along with the side vegetables of white asparagus and a saute of potatoes and celeriac.
Earlier in the morning when shopping, un boucher prepared veal scaloppine for us, so there was no need to pound it into thin submission, just unwrap, stuff and tie. I enjoyed going to each shop in the market, meeting the proprietor and leaving with gorgeous food , fresh and precisely presented.
White asparagus is preferredin France. After tasting these, I would have to agree. The secret is to get the largest stalks, then peel them carefully and steam them to delicious perfection (with a bit of clarified butter and lemon).
The celeriac was something new for me. I found it interesting that it should be combined with another root vegetable – in our case potaotes. I think that it would also be delicious roasted with carrots, turnips and beets.
After cooking down the mushrooms in luscious butter, finely diced shallots were added and then the spinach. This was cooked just to make the spinach tender. The duxelle was cooled and then we spooned some onto the veal scaloppine, rolled and tied them. These were then browned in a pan with oil. When fully cooked, the rolls were removed from the pan and the pan deglazed with white wine followed by a swirl of dijon mustard , cream, and butter – yum!
Now we sliced the rolls, sauced them, plated the veggies (in my case I got to use these cute little molds for my veggies), poured some wine and savored every delectable morsel. Bon Appétit.
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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking School – The Cheese

 

Today’s post is about the cheese. This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

Cheese is an integral part of French cuisine. Each is made in its own region, with milk from certain pastures, then molded and ripened, and sent to a skilled fromager who then sells it to customers. It’s one of the few industries that defies automation. And so much for the better. Artisanal cheese purchased in a shop with expertise guidance – voilà. Cheesy goodness in all its glory.
On the day of our class, we visited the Fromager and Madame selected five cheeses based on their recommendation. We had Bannon – goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves, St. Maure de Touraine – goat cheese coated in wood ash, Coulommiers – a soft cow’s milk brie, Mimolette – an orange hard cheese and Comté – a yellow hard cow’s milk cheese. The cheese course was served with a white wine – a Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine, and I savored. every. tiny. morsel.

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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking Class – The Cheese Souffle

 

Twice Baked Cheese Souffle

Now that the introductions were done, we all got down to the business of preparing our afternoon meal.

This was our menu:

Cheese plate with a lovely bottle of Valdé Loire Souvingnon Tauraine

Petits Souffles de Christophie

Veal Paupiettes aux Herbes filled with spinach and mushroom

Saute of potato and celeriac

White Asparagus

Tarte aux Pommes Nougatine

Red wine (again from Valdé Loire, but I forgot to snap a picture of it – it was delicious though) and baguette

First up – the souffles. These were not the traditional French souffle that rises and puffs in a hot oven. This one is baked twice and had a more dense and creamy texture. I’ve been experimenting with the traditional French souffle so look for a post soon – but first I have to work on my technique a bit. Instead of rising uniformly, the first one looked like an upside down mushroom. It’s a shame that I’ll have to eat so many practice specimens. But I digress. The souffles we made can be made a day ahead and popped back in the oven at serving time. They were very delicious and a good way to make a first course for a dinner party. The primary difference between these and a traditional souffle was in the cooking method. For a traditional souffle, the dish is cooked dry in a hot oven so that it puffs and rises. The souffles we made were cooked in a hot water bath similar to the method for custards or flan. This is what gave the souffles their dense and creamy texture. Everything else was pretty much the same.

First smear softened butter to coat the souffle molds. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Make a béchamel sauce and incorporate the egg yolks and cheese. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the béchamel/egg/cheese mixture, then bake. Once they are baked, remove from the oven to cool and then un-mold. Place the un-molded souffles  in a baking dish, pour over a very light cream sauce and place them back in the oven to warm and rise a little. Serve with chopped chives, parsley or other fresh herb you have on hand. Bon Appétit.

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Promenades Gourmandes – Paris Cooking Class

With the market portion of our Promenades Gourmandes experience complete, we took the metro back to Paule Caillat’s stunning Paris apartment to begin the cooking portion of our class. There were six of us in the class and we enjoyed every minute – especially the tasting. The first part of the class was to get acquainted, set the ground rules and put on our aprons. I fell in love with her fabulous red stove and wanted to take it home with me.

 

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Much more to share in the next post.