What is the difference between a tourte, a torte and a tart?  When it comes to summer tomatoes, there is a difference.  A Tourte is usually double crusted, quite high and savory.

le neubourg

Here in Normandy we are luxuriating in the hottest summer since 1940.

For us, this means that summer produce like eggplant and zucchini, melons and peaches and particularly tomatoes, are at their best.At night, temperatures drop which is good for the flavor of the vegetables and even better for the cook. Instead of just eating tomatoes raw like we do when it’s hot day and night – sliced fat and thick and seasoned with salt and pepper, in a salad tossed with delicious olive oil and shallots or garnished with mozzarella, or simply bitten into the way you would with an apple these hot days and cool nights  inspire cooking.  And I don’t think there’s a better way to cook a tomato than by putting it in this simple, and simply regal, tomato

At night, temperatures drop which is good for the flavor of the vegetables and even better for the cook. We eat tomatoes raw like we do when it’s hot day and night.  Sliced fat and thick and seasoned with salt and pepper, in a salad tossed with delicious olive oil and shallots or garnished with mozzarella, or simply bitten into the way you would with an apple.  These hot days and cool nights  inspire cooking.  And I don’t think there’s a better way to cook a tomato than by putting it in this simple, and simply regal, tomato tourte.

tom tart

You can make this easily and I urge you to do so because it is likely to change your life. I’m serious. It is that delicious, and I predict you’ll henceforth have a hard time imagining summer without it.

LEARN ABOUT EVERYDAY FRENCH COOKING AT ONE OF OUR MANY CLASSES AT LOUVIERS

Use the best, most ripe (but not over ripe) tomatoes you can find, preferably from your local grower. The recipe calls for cream, which makes it “light” by French standards. I use either heavy cream or crème fraîche, and occasionally soy cream if my vegetarian daughter is going to partake.

I suggest you follow the recipe to the letter the first time you make this. Yes, I can tell that you’re thinking “Hmm, this would be good with basil/pesto/that delicious confit of peppers  published here the other day/smoked duck/sausages…” You’re right and all of those additions would be fine. But taste it as it is written, then decide.

Bon App!

tomato tart

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Summer Tomato Tourte
Summer Tomato Tourte
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream or creme fraîche 250ml
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese grated, about 40g
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2 pounds tomatoes peeled, cored and diced, 1.250kg
  • 1 recipe Tender Tart Pastry see below
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream or creme fraîche 250ml
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese grated, about 40g
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2 pounds tomatoes peeled, cored and diced, 1.250kg
  • 1 recipe Tender Tart Pastry see below
Summer Tomato Tourte
Instructions
  1. On a lightly floured surface,roll out the pastry to fit a 9-inch (22cm) pie plate or cake pan. There will be extra pastry hanging over; leave it there. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (if you have time. If you don't, don't worry unless your kitchen is very hot. Then, you HAVE to refrigerate the pastry).
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
  3. Pre-bake the pastry. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the center of the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. (It's not necessary to weight the pastry, as the hanging edges keep it from bubbling up). Using a very sharp knife, trim off the edges of the pastry flush with the pan, letting the scraps fall on the baking sheet. Continue baking until the pastry is golden, about 10 more minutes.
  4. While the pastry is baking, whisk together the cream and the eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add the thyme and garlic, and mix well. Then stir in the cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the tomatoes, stir, then when the pastry is baked, open the oven, pull out the pan, pour in the mixture and QUICK, put it all back in the oven. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350F, and bake the tart until the custard is set and golden on top, about 55 minutes. Check the pastry strips from time to time, and remove them when they are golden. They make very good appetizers.
  6. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, or to room temperature.About 8 servings
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LA PATE TENDRE D’ON RUE TATIN
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 205 g
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and cut into 12 pieces, 180 g
  • 5-6 tablespoons ice water
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 205 g
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and cut into 12 pieces, 180 g
  • 5-6 tablespoons ice water
Instructions
  1. Place the flour and the salt in a food processor and process once to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the 5 tablespoons ice water and pulse just until the pastry begins to hold together. If the pastry seem dry and dusty, add the remaining 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Transfer the pastry from the food processor to your work surface and form it into a flat round. Let it rest on a work surface, covered with a bowl, for at least 30 minutes. The pastry can sit several hours at room temperature, as long as the room isn’t warmer than 68 degrees. The pastry is ready to use as desired.
  3. Pastry for one double-crust 10-1/2 inch (26.25cm) tart
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20 Responses to Summer Tomato Tourte

  1. Anita C. Lee says:

    Yummm. I’d better run out and buy some tomatoes! This looks delicious.

  2. Cheeses? Is an ingredient missing? This sounds delicious.

  3. Arell says:

    It sounds so wonderful! Cannot wait to make it!

  4. Tina says:

    Sounds so delicious Susan! I’m going to make it today!

  5. Debbie says:

    Susan and fellow cooks,

    I have this tomato tourte in the oven as I am listening to Trenet. It looks and smells delicious.

    I am still trying to figure out a way to get back to On Rue Tatin this November.

    I just have to mention this….Go to YouTube, put in “election debates”. There is a hilarious Saturday Night Live YouTube video on the election debate.

    Greetings from Binghamton, New Yoirk
    Debbie

  6. Robert says:

    Plan on making today. I am probably missing the point, but is a tourte double-crusted? If so, does that mean that another layer of pastry is placed on top?

    • Susan says:

      Hello, Robert – it’s a tourte because it’s quite deep, not like a shallow tart. You can also fold the pastry up and over the filling.

  7. Ellen says:

    Recipe sounds wonderful, is the flour for the crust 1cup or 1/2 cup?
    Thank you!

    • Susan says:

      Ellen – oops, technical glitch. It’s 1-1/2 cups of flour – should be fixed on the blog by the time you’re ready to make this!

  8. I am going to pick up some tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market and make this. My mom still talks about your tender tart pastry dough. She thought is was the best ever.

  9. Brenda says:

    Hi Susan, well my tourte is in the oven with only half of the filling in it. I followed the recipe exactly but there is no way all of the tomato/crème fraîche/ cheese/egg mixture will fit into my 9 inch pie pan. Thank goodness I took the baked crust out of the oven and didn’t try to pour in the mixture quickly while the pan was still on the tray (my original intention!) I do admit that I have never been able to make a successful pie crust. This time I was determined to make it work! Are you sure that the filling is not intended for two pies? I think my pie pan is a normal depth. The crust did lap over the edges but also slid down the edges in some spots. I did chill the crust for half an hour in the fridge before baking it. And my kitchen is not too hot. Can I take pie making at Rue Tatin?!!!

    • Susan says:

      Brenda,

      Oh, I’m so sorry. I do test and make all the recipes many times, and I don’t recall that there is too much filling. Maybe a bit, but . not enough to make two pies, and the pastry shouldn’t slide down. Hmmm. How warm is your kitchen? Could that answer the pastry question? As for the filling, I’m not sure what to suggest except to do exactly what you’ve done, which is not use all of it. Let me know how it turns out.

  10. sue says:

    just made a sweet peach version this morning for a bon voyage brunch. Beautiful to behold! can’t wait to try it with tomatoes!

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