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.
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.
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.
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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.
- 1 recipe for Tender Tart Pastry
- 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 small clove garlic green germ removed, minced
- cup ½finely grated Gruyere
- cup ½finely grated Cheddar or Cantal
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-1/2 pounds (1.25 kg) ripe tomatoes peeled and cored
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit a 9-inch (22.5cm) pie plate or tart mold (not removable bottom). There will be quite a bit extra; leave it hanging over the edges of the plate. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
Pre-bake the pastry: Line the pastry with aluminum foil and an even layer of pastry weights. Set the pie plate on a baking sheet and place it in the center of the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Then, using a very sharp knife, trim off the edges of the pastry flush with the pan, letting the scraps fall on the pastry sheet. Continue baking until the pastry is pale gold, another 10 minutes or so. Remove it from the oven and set it on a pastry rack to cool. (Eat the pastry scraps…they will be delicious).
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 cheeses. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them to the mixture. Reserve.
When the pastry has cooled, fill it with the tomato mixture. The tomatoes will mound slightly in the center of the pan, which is fine. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F (180C) and continue baking until the custard is set and the pie is golden on top, about 55 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer the pie to a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, or you can serve it lukewarm.