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Tomato Tarts with Goat Cheese and Basil

I credit learning these tarts from Jerry Traunfeld at the Herbfarm. At the restaurant we used sungold tomatoes (the best!) and garnish with the tiniest imaginable bush basil leaves. You need nimble little fingers to garnish those tarts. You can be more casual with these.

2 each already prepared tart shells (the recipe below makes 4 tart shells)

Tart Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-8 tablespoons ice water
1 each egg, beat well

Tart Filling
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 each egg
pinch salt
24 each small cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 tablepoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
basil leaves for garnish

To make the tart:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the flour, butter and salt into a food processor. Pulse about 30 times. Check the consistency of the dough. You want to see the butter in small pieces (the size of small peas or large grains of rice). When you have reached that consistency, dump the contents into a wide bowl.

Add 6 tablespoons of ice water to the bowl and with one hand, with fingers in a “claw” shape, mix the dough. Squeeze dough in your hands. If it holds together for a moment, before crumbling, it’s ready. If it’s completely dry and does not hold together for a moment, add a tiny bit more water. Mix again with your hand. You do not want to add too much water. Lay out some plastic wrap. Turn the contents out onto the plastic wrap (it’s desirable that it is not in one big ball, but still a bit crumbly) Pull up the sides of the plastic wrap, using it to help form a disc out of the pastry. Completely cover and chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough in quarters. Save 2 quarters to make a different tart or increase the filling ingredients to make 4 tarts. Roll out each quarter so that the dough is 1/8” thin. You will need to dust the counter and the dough with flour to keep it from sticking. Use a 9” plate as a guide and cut a circle around it. Crimp the edges of the tart, poke all over with the tines of a fork and lay out on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush the edges with the egg. Chill for 15 minutes. Bake tarts in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned. Lift the tart carefully and make sure the bottom is cooked. It should be light brown. Let cool.

To make the filling:
Mix the goat cheese with the milk and egg. Add the salt. Spread thinly onto tarts. Cook in a 300 degree oven about 5-7 minutes until the cheese firms up and appears dry on the surface. Cut tarts into 8 equal pieces.

Season tomato pieces with th olive oil, salt and pepper. Put pieces of tomato on tarts. Garnish with basil leaves, cut in thin ribbons. Cut tart into 8 equal triangles. Serve immediately.

Note: Makes 2 7” tarts