Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Onion Tart

September 17, 2012

Two weekends ago I attended a friend’s birthday party, and we were each asked to bring something tasty to munch on. I figured most other people would likely bring some sort of dessert, so I decided to make a savory tart just to be different, and also because at the time  we were quite overrun with tomatoes (as we are still).

This is not a quick recipe, although it could be made faster using purchased pie dough rather than making your own from scratch. I prefer to make my own because I love Gourmet Today’s recipe for pie dough – it turns out awesome each time. Never too stiff or too soft. It can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month (for a double-quantity version, see the entry for sweet-cherry pie). Once the shell is made and baked, the rest of the recipe is a snap! Caramelizing onions can be time consuming, but be sure to slice the onions for this recipe very thin and they will brown faster.

As far as how well the tart went over at the party… I didn’t bring any home with me. :)

Tomato, onion, and goat cheese tart

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a first course

You will need a 9- to 9½-inch tart pan with removable bottom.



  • 1¼  cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2  tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 3-4  tablespoons ice water


  • 3  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  large onion, very thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6  ounces soft mild goat cheese, crumbled (about 1¼ cups)
  • 3/4  pound tomatoes (3 medium), thinly sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves


  1. Make the dough: Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-sized) butter lumps.
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture. Gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough; if it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water ½ tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork, or pastry will be tough.
  3. Turn dough out onto a clean, dry work surface. Divide dough into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together, press into a ball, and flatten into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust with additional flour. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Bake the tart shell: Put a rack in the middle of oven and heat to 375 degrees F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round. Fit dough into tart pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a ½-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against sides of pan to reinforce edges of tart shell. Lightly prick bottom and sides of shell all over with a fork.
  5. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are pale golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool on a rack. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Assemble and bake the tart: Spread onion over bottom of tart shell. Top with all but 1/3 cup goat cheese. Arrange tomatoes, slightly overlapping, in concentric circles over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
  8. Bake until cheese begins to brown slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool tart on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove rim of pan and garnish with sliced basil.

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