Editor’s note: Go here for recipe. See the redo.
This summery, french tomato tart is not really about me, even if tarts are my favorite food. This tart is about a combination of many hands, hard at work, and a love story high on a hill with a dairy goat or two.
Just ten minutes from my house, Nobel Springs Dairy sits on a 230 acres in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s the result of a romantic love story that began in the childhoods of Justyne McCoy and Dustin Nobel who fell in love with goats in childhood. They met when Justyne was in high school at a goat show. Together they fulfilled their individual dreams of raising goats on a dairy farm.
Yes, it’s romantic. And, yes, it’s hard work. They often work 14 or more hours a day, milking, cleaning, processing, and selling cheese at 8 different farmer’s markets and to local grocers. But, they love it because they are following their passion. Dustin and Justyne are getting married in July.
We locals love it too because their cheese is delicious. I am especially grateful for the two hours they gave us touring their farm and showing two little boys the goats, the dogs, the cat, the chickens, and the eggs. Believe it or not, these little boys love goat cheese, especially with herbs.
Yes, Ms. Amber (the goats have names), you are seeing double.
Boys are obsessed with tractors.
This is one of 80 goats living at Nobel Springs.
Nobel Springs also raises chickens for eggs and we took a dozen home. You can find them along side the goat cheese at the market.
I want to take this kid home. Note to self: Don’t bother showering before you hold a goat, as you will certainly need to afterwards.
And, last but not least, the wonderful food blogging world gave me the recipe. Nick of Macheesmo does a weekly feature called Around the Internet Kitchen, and a few weeks ago he mentioned this tart from David Lebovitz. I hit the link and there it was. I felt as if I could taste the freshness of tomatoes, the buttery crust, and the golden browned, honey dripped goat cheese through the screen. It immediately went on my mental “to make” list. And, it synched perfectly with my visit to Nobel Springs Dairy.
• Tomatoes should be cut on the thick side and very ripe. Be generous with tomatoes, as they shrink up.
• Be generous with the honey. I went back in and drizzled more. I used a blackberry honey just as recipe called for.
• I increased my oven to 400 degrees and still had to cook much longer than 30 minutes, closer to 50 minutes, until my cheese browned enough. Next time, I may blind bake the pastry shell for a few minutes.
• I used fresh thyme, basil, and a little rosemary but you can use any fresh herbs you like.
Honey is a secret ingredient here, drizzled over the cheese prior to baking.
In looking at David’s amazing website, I discovered A French Tart Dough made with melted butter that I am anxious to try. We all know that pastry crust is made with very cold butter and and ice water, but to his surprise he discovered another method in Paris. The tomato tart is made with a more conventional tart crust, but to my surprise did not call for chilling.
My favorite sweet tart to date is the Chez Panisse Almond Tart, from Lindsey Shere, which is universally loved by all my friends all year round.
David Lebovitz worked as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse and also features this tart on his site, although with slight variation.
It seems that as recipes get adapted, we find our own short cuts and tips. This is yet another exciting way many hands work to create a dish.
A special thanks to Nobel Springs, and if you are in the Nashville area, or shopping at one of our many farmer’s markets or Whole Foods, be sure to pick up some Nobel Springs goat cheese.