Awesome Recipes, Vegetarian
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Sumptuous Cheese & Tomato Tart

Ever so often in food and cookery shows we hear chefs and foodies go nuts over “that umami flavour”, but what exactly is and what’s so special about it?

“Umami” is an anglizised Japanese expression for “delicious taste” coined by the Japanese chemist kikunae Ikeda who discovered that foods such as sea weed and tomatoes with a high content of monosodium glutamate were particularly palatable to the human taste.

When we eat soy sauce, fried or grilled tomatoes, aged cheeses and cooked mushrooms, our taste buds perceive a rich and savoury taste that gives these foods that distinctive attractiveness that makes us “want more”.

What we’re actually perceiving is nothing more than a high content of monosodium glutamate that is often chemically synthesized and added to fast food to enhance their flavour. 
 

That’s one of the reasons why we can’t resist to a good pizza, because is packed with all natural umami flavours that are irresistible to both our brain-taste receptors and our taste buds.

And that is the reason why you will be scientifically bound to *love* my cheese and tomato tart. Not only is a time saver dish, you can enjoy it hot or cold, since it makes a great lunch box treat.

To make a tart to feed 4 to 5 people (with second helpings) you will need:

For the shortcrust:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 125g butter, chilled, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbs chilled water
For the filling:
  • 2 big tomatoes thinly sliced (Brandywine is a common big round variety)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup of ricotta cheese*
  • Salt & pepper
*You can use a richer cheese such as Red Lester or Cheddar.
To make the crust:

In a bowl rub the ingredients with your fingers until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.

Try not to warm up the butter or the pastry will become doughy.

Add the chilled water and egg yolk, continue mixing until you form a firm dough. 

Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes to relax the gluten.

Let the dough slowly warm up for 10 minutes.

 
Dust your working surface and rolling pin and roll the pastry out so its slightly biger than your pie mould, transfer to the mould base and gently press it against the edges. 
 
Prick the bottom with a fork and pop it in the freezer for 15minutes. 
 
Preheat oven to 200C.
 
In a bowl  whisk the eggs and cheese until you have a frothy mix, season with salt and pepper.
 

You can always go the extra mile with a fancy rim, here I made a braid and some leaves that I placed on top of the filling before baking. A good egg wash before baking will give a nice inviting look.

Take the base of the crust out of the freezer. 

 
Pour some of the filling on the tart’s crust then place tomato slices covering the surface and repeat until you have used all of the filling and tomatoes.
 
Bake for 30 minutes.

Voila!

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