This is a two part recipe . . . . I am passing on the pastry recipe I have been using, however you could always substitute your own. This comes straight from one of my new acquisitions, The Duchess Cookbook.
We visited there with friends a couple of years ago, and go back to visit lots. They also have a little store at the side of the Bakery, called Provisions . . . . that has been a bit of a problem for my wallet!! This whole adventure has renewed my interest in French cuisine, and I have been experimenting with some of the recipes.
Our son Michael, who was recently in Paris, brought me back the book Laduree, Sucre. The reason I mention this is that the Duchess Bakery in Edmonton has been rated in the same category as that particular bakery in Paris. Imagine, one of the best French Bakeries is in Edmonton, Alberta. The cookbook, The Duchess Bake Shop by Giselle Courtreau is a beautiful book and I would suggest purchasing two . .. one for your coffee table and one to use. Yes, it is that good. Here is her recipe for the pastry that I use for everything now.
- 4 cups of all purpose flour (I lightly spoon this into the measure cup)
- 1 cup of unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (yes, I use unsalted butter in all my baking)
- 1 cup of vegetable shortening, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (I use Crisco)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup of ice water
- Place flour, butter, Crisco and salt in stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment or if using a food processor, use the blade knife.
- Pulse until there are pea size bits of the fat in the bowl. This will not take very long . ..15 seconds or so . . . .. do not overwork the mixture
- Add the cold water all at once and mix until dough just starts to come together. Again, do not over process this mixture.
- Remove from bowl, divide into three.
- Shape into 3 disks, wrap in saran wrap and then put in a ziploc bag and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- I usually make mine the day or night before.
- Remove from fridge and roll out into shapes required using a dusting of flour.
- I use a silpat or a tupperware sheet to roll pastry on. Less sticking and much easier cleanup of the kitchen.
- Pastry may alse be frozen. When planning to use, let it thaw completely, but still cold for rolling out.
- Chilled pastry, rolled and pressed into 4 3.5 inch tart shells
- 1 cup coarsely shredded gruyere cheese
- 28 cherry tomatoes, more or less, depends on size
- leaves of about 8 sprigs of thyme
- freshly cracked black pepper
- freshly ground salt
- fresh parsley or additional sprigs of thyme for garnish
- Chill the tart shells for at least an hour before filling. (I may be wrong, but I think this helps the release of the tart from the dish after baking.)
- Divide the cheese among the ramekins.
- Divide the thyme leaves among the ramekins.
- Halve the tomatoes and fit them on top of the cheese and thyme.
- Sprinkle some salt and freshly cracked black pepper over the tomatoes.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown (25 to 30 minutes).
- Garnish with fresh parsley or a sprig of thyme.
- I served this as a side dish/vegetable for Easter Brunch. It is so fast and easy to prepare that I made them again for dinner tonight. Used the glass tart dishes as shown in the photo and the tart slid out just beautifully onto the plate.