What’s for Supper – Tomato and goat’s cheese tart

I am going to give you my super simple recipe for Tomato tart based on shop bought short crust pastry. I am a sucker for anything shortcrust, not least very buttery shortbreads with an afternoon cup of Earl Grey or Lapsang Suchong. But if you prefer puff pastry, then go for that, it works just as well and it doesn’t require blind baking, as described below.

As you will have discovered, one of my constant kitchen staples are cherry tomatoes. I love them. They are so versatile both in their uncooked form and when roasted, used in sauces or marinated.

Tomatoes are underpinned by acidity, no matter how ripe and sundrenched – and god knows that is not usually how they come from the supermarkets. Combining them with a creamy, lemony goat’s cheese works wonderfully well. Both those ingredients take well to being drizzled with Balsamic vinegar or Pomegranate molasses. The latter elevates tomatoes to unexpected heights.

I had a lock down crisis earlier when I realised that all my rolling pins had ended up at work.

So, needs must, and as I scanned my shelves for good substitutes my eye fell on my favourite fizz from the wonderfully talented Mr and Mrs Fox based in East Sussex. Their blender extraordinaire, Mrs Fox, describes their Mosaic fizz as their most versatile wine. And I can only agree. As it turns out, this exquisite fizz also lends itself very well to being used as a rolling pin, and a chilled one at that. What better tool to use for rolling pastry? Placing it back in the fridge after use, I now have both a simple but utterly delicious supper to look forward to and an glass of sublime fizz eminently capable of making the most of the lemony creamy cheese and the acidity of the tomatoes. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.

So, roll out your pastry, short or flaky, to a around slightly larger than the circumference of your tart case. Carefully lift it into the case, lowering it slowly and easing it from the centre and out, making sure not to stretch it nor to create air bubbles.

Line it with a round of baking parchment and weigh it down with ceramic baking beans, or some rice.

The reason is to keep the shape of it and to avoid the edges from collapsing when baking. However, the primary insurance against that is to make sure the pastry is super cold when placed in the oven. That way, the butter and flour will bind as the heat hits. When short crust pastry at room temperature is placed in a hot oven, the butter will start to melt and by the time the butter binds with the flour, the collapse is already a fact.

Place the well chilled pastry case in a hot oven  – about 200C.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the hot ceramic beans or rice and place in a steel or glass receptacle. Not plastic, as it will melt. Place the bare short crust back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes to bake through.

When cooled, spread a thick layer of mild goat’s cheese over it, and top with a mix of roasted and uncooked cherry tomatoes, some salt and pepper, olive oil and some fresh herbs. Basil would be an obvious choice, but new season rosemary and tender sage work well too.