This simple summer tart relies on beautiful, ripe tomatoes - there is not much else to hide behind here. I love it plain with a salad on the side & some goat's cheese. I use a springform tin of 24 cm set on a tray here.
Makes a 24 cm tart. Serves 4-6
125g butter cold unsalted butter
125 g plain all-purpose flour
about 2 ½ tablespoons iced water
650 g ripe tomatoes (6 or 7) sliced 4 or 5 mm thick
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
lovely salt with larger grains that have a crunch such as Camargue
Rub the butter into the flour in a bowl with your fingertips to give a coarse, sandy texture. Scatter in a couple of pinches of salt & add enough iced water to bring the dough together into a rough ball with your hands.
Scatter a little flour over your work surface, turn the dough out & spread it with your hands or roll with a rolling pin to a rough rectangular shape. Fold it over itself as for a letter, & roll it out again, Repeat 4 or 5 times more (no need to chill in between rolls). Wrap up & chill for at least 30 minutes.
Lightly flour a 24 cm springform tin & preheat the oven to 190'C/375'F. Place a baking sheet on which the springform tin will fit on the middle oven shelf.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, not pressing too much, to a circle slightly larger than the base of your tin, (about 28 cm). Carefully lift it into the tin, taking it up the sides by about 6 cm, then folding it to create 2 or 3 cm high border.
Lay the tomato slices across the pastry as though you were dealing a pack of cards on a gaming table – spread them out to where they fall, overlapping & with no spaces (or you can arrange them in overlapping concentric circles starting from the middle). Strip the thyme leaves off the stalks over the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt,- & a little pepper if you like, & set it on the baking sheet in the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the tomatoes are tinged here & there. Turn the oven up to 200~C/400'F & bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are deeper in colour & thinly charred in places. There will probably still be a little liquid on top of the tomatoes, which is fine.
Remove the tart on its baking sheet from the oven & set the tin on a rack, so that any liquid will fall to the sheet. Open the hinges of the tin as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Serve slightly cooled down or at room temperature, with an extra sprinkling of salt for the crunch, & if you like – a drizzle of olive oil.
photo by Manos Chatzikonstantis