I made a crust! A pâte brisée to be exact! And doesn’t it sound fancy?
Why all the hooplah you’re wondering…..
I don’t do homemade crusts for clients because of the time involved and the flour mess in their kitchen. While working in a client’s kitchen, I’m cooking several different things at once and doing a real juggling act. If the kitchen is small, it’s even worse. Also, a number of recipes I’ve posted here that require a crust called for refrigerated pie crust for the reader’s convenience. However, when I have the time to do them, oh heck yes!
My mother was a pie crust genius. Her crusts were flaky and simply beautiful! They shattered like glass when you dug your fork into one of her amazing pies. Even in her later years when her dietary issues forced her to give up real butter and all things with cholesterol, she could still create a beautiful, flaky crust with canola oil. I so miss her kitchen magic!
A pâte brisée is super-simple, creates little mess and is easily pulled together in a food processor. I first learned to make one in the French culinary classes I attended when I lived in Milwaukee.
Here’s all you do:
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor along with cold butter. The cold butter should be cut into small pieces. Pulse to a coarse meal consistency.
Add ice cold water by the tablespoon, pulsing after each addition until the mixture holds together when pressed together.
Empty the mixture into a tart pan that has a removable bottom, gently pull it together just to form a ball, then press into the tart pan, using the heel of your hand as much as possible. (The heel of your hand is actually cooler than your fingertips.) You want to handle it as little as possible and keep it as cool as possible. Handling it too much will make it tough.
Give it a quick chill for 20 minutes in the freezer.
Place on a baking sheet, place parchment paper over the top, fill the parchment with pie weights, old dried beans, lentils or rice and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden in color.
Let it cool and you’re ready to fill with a sweet or savory treat!
I LOVE tomatoes. I LOVE tomato pies, tomato tarts and tomato galettes. Here’s a variation on the oh-so-Southern tomato pie I posted last year: Tomato and Corn Pie with Fresh Basil.
While the crust is chilling, baking and cooling for this tomato ricotta tart, “drain” the tomatoes so you don’t have a soupy tart. Slice two large tomatoes into four or five slices each. Generously salt them, then place on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, flipping once onto a dry section of the towel(s).
Do try to use homemade basil pesto; the flavor will be far superior to anything you can buy.
My Italian-inspired Tomato Ricotta Tart with Basil Pesto is perfect for brunch, lunch or light supper with a salad or light soup. If desired, top with more of the pesto.
Here’s the equipment used to make this Tomato Ricotta Tart with Basil Pesto. These are affiliate links. Thank you for the support!
TOMATO RICOTTA TART WITH BASIL PESTO
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons), cold, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons ice water (as needed)
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (use the best ricotta you can find)
1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago, Parmesan or Romano cheese (or a combination)
2 large eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts or almonds
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add 1 tablespoon ice water to flour mixture, pulsing after each addition. You’ll need at least 3 tablespoons. Test the mixture to see if it comes together in your hand. If not, add 1 more tablespoon.
Empty crust mixture into an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Gently pull the dough together to form a ball, then press it back out into the tart pan and up the sides to create the crust.
Dock the crust with a fork. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Place on a baking sheet then place a piece of parchment paper over the crust, fill with pie weights, old dried beans, lentils or rice.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until light gold in color. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
While crust is chilling and then baking, drain the tomatoes. Salt both sides then place on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. After 20 minutes, flip the tomatoes onto a dry area of the towel(s) and drain again. Pat dry.
Spread some of the pesto over the crust. Whisk together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic and salt and black pepper. Pour into prepared crust.
Arrange the tomatoes over the top in a pinwheel fashion (or get creative!).
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until ricotta custard is set and tomatoes appear “dry.” Serve warm or at room temperature with additional pesto.
While tart is baking, combine pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. Serve with tart.