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Tomato Tartlets with Rosemary

19 Sep

Things are rather tomato-heavy around these parts, but I could not be happier.  As mentioned once or a million times previously, we wait a long time for garden tomatoes in these parts, so when the tomatoes start to ripen, the tomato recipes come out in full force.  One of the most attractive tomatoes we grew this year is an heirloom variety called a pineapple tomato.  This is a tomato that does not mess around.  It is hearty, it is flavorful, and it is massive.  This fellow in particular weighed in at just over a pound, and it was the smallest pineapple tomato we’ve harvested so far this year.

Alas, our garden’s output not always so impressive.  Last year was so cold and wet, so lacking in any sort of sustained stretches of warm sun, none of our tomatoes ripened.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  We ended the season with perhaps half a dozen ripe tomatoes, when but you’ve taken the time to plant and subsequently care for five different types of tomato plants, facing a yield of six tomatoes total does not, in my mind, count as a true harvest.  We ate a lot of fried green tomatoes last year, which, to be quite honest, is not the worst fate one can suffer.

The tomatoes of 2011, thankfully, are doing a lot better.  My favorite way to eat these luscious pineapple tomatoes is raw, piled high on a sandwich of any type.  Sometimes I don’t even go full sandwich, and just eat slices of pineapple tomato on a big hunk of bread.  Sometimes I don’t even bother with the bread.  The tomatoes are that good.

Never one to shy away from a tart of any type, however, when I spotted this tomato-centric recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone, I knew I had to give it a whirl.  The yeasted crust looked like a nice change from a standard tart crust, and the simple ingredients in the tart seemed like a great combination of elements that would allow the freshness of the tomatoes to really shine through.

Not surprisingly, this recipe totally delivered.  Made in miniature gallette form, the tartlets are a modest, yet absolutely delicious, presentation for fresh garden tomatoes.  In a surprising variation from my ordinary routine, while making these tarts I found that I was compelled to change very little in either the recipe for the crust or the filling.  They are perfect as is.  Allow me to suggest that you do yourself a favor and become closely acquainted with both.

Tomato Tartlets with Rosemary

From Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone 

Yeasted Tart Dough with Butter

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

½ cup warm milk or water

1 egg, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

4 tablespoons soft butter

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk (or water), and allow to stand until it begins to bubble, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the egg and salt, then start to add the flour, ½ a cup at a time.  After 1 cup of flour has been added, beat in the butter.  Continue adding the flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter (this dough is VERY sticky), and knead until dough is smooth and supple, anywhere from 3-5 minutes.  If dough is still very sticky and will not release from the counter, add a bit more flour as you knead.  (You are, of course, welcome to mix and knead this dough in a standing mixer.  The instructions remain the same, though you will most likely only need to knead the dough for 3 minutes rather than 5.)

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, then cover with plastic wrap, a towel, or a fitted lid.  Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, shape each piece into a ball, then allow the dough balls to rest under a towel for 15 minutes.

Tomato and Rosemary Filling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 pound of tomatoes, sliced very thin (thick slices of tomato will cause your tartlets to become soggy)

18 Nicoise olives (I used a mix of Kalamata olives and green olives instead), pitted and halved

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Roll each ball of dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick (rolling the dough thicker will make the dough turn out a bit too bready).  Sprinkle ½ teaspoon rosemary over each circle, then gently press the rosemary into the dough.  Overlap 4 or 5 thin slices of tomato on each round, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.  Tuck in the olives amongst the tomato slices, sprinkle with a bit more rosemary, drizzle with a tiny splash of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Fold the edges of the dough over the tomatoes, creasing and tucking as you go. Gently cup your hands around the tarts and press lightly to make the dough form a tight seal around the tomatoes.

Bake on prepared baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Makes 6 tartlets.

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