Sunday, February 2, 2014

pie for dinner

Last night I made a tomato-basil-cheese tart for dinner mainly to use up some cottage cheese.  The recipe, from a very old Gourmet magazine, calls for ricotta but since we can't get it here and since many chefs of note actually prefer cottage cheese, I used what was on hand.  Absolutely delicious.

ready for the oven

cooked and ready to cut



For the shell:
1 1/4 c flour
3/4 stick unsalted butter
2 T cold vegetable shortening
1/4 lb. sliced lean bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
1/4 t salt

For the filling:
4 large tomatoes, sliced horizontally 1/3" thick
salt for sprinkling the tomatoes
1 c firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 c plus 2T whole milk cottage cheese
2 large eggs beaten lightly
1/4 lb mozzarella, grated
1/2 c fresh Parnesan, grated

Vegetable oil for brushing tomatoes.

 Make the shell:   

In a large bowl blend the flour, butter, shortening, bacon, and salt until mixture resembles meal.  Add 3 to 4 T ice water, or enough to form a dough, tossing the mixture until the water is incorporated.  Knead the dough lightly with the heel of the hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and form it into a ball.  Flatten the dough slightly, dust with flour, and chill it wrapped in wax paper for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 425º.

Roll dough into a 1/8” thick round  and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim.  Prick the shell lightly with a fork and chill it for 30 minutes.  Line the shell with foil, fill the foil with pie weights, and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and pie weights carefully, bake crust for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until it is pale golden.  Let cool in the pan on a rack.

Lower oven temperature to 350º. 

Make the filling:

Sprinkle the sliced tomatoes on both sides lightly with salt and let them drain on paper towels.  In a food processor puree the basil leaves with the ricotta, add the eggs, and blend the mixture until it is combined.  Add the mozzarella, Parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and blend until it is just combined.

Pat the tomato slices dry with paper towels, line the bottom of the shell with the tomato end pieces, and fill the shell with the cheese mixture.  Smooth the cheese filling and arrange the remaining tomato slices in one layer overlapping them slightly.  Brush with oil.

Bake the tart at 350º for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cheese mixture is set.  Transfer the tart to a rack; let it stand for 10 minutes.  Remove the bottom from the fluted ring carefully so as not to break the edge crust.  Garnish with basil springs.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6.

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