Nothing says a breezy summer afternoon at the chateau quite like a freshly baked French tomato tart. Unfortunately I don’t live at a chateau in France, so I make do by cooking at home. While tarts seem like a lot of work, they are really quite simple once you get the hang of it. Not to mention how impressed your guests will be when you present this beautiful and delicious tart.
While I’ve called this delectable dish a tomato tart, it is perhaps more commonly known (in France) as a mustard tart, or tarte à la moutarde. However being that the tomatoes are the star of the show it is often commonly referred to as a tomato tart as well. This recipe is actually very easy, and uses my super simple pate brisee crust, but you can use a store-bought package of puff pastry if you want (it’s also done that way in France sometimes).
Since a simple tomato tart is a seasonal dish, you want to use the absolute best tomatoes you can. For this recipe I used Black Krim tomatoes which are a Ukrainian varietal that has gotten quite popular worldwide. These tomatoes are known for their black-red skin and a very savory taste.
What Type Of Mustard Is Used In A French Tomato Tart
As mentioned earlier this is basically a mustard tart with tomatoes (or at least that’s how some people see it), so using the right mustard is tantamount to the dish. I personally love whole grain mustards for this tart. Here are three of my recommended choices:
- Maille Wholegrain Mustard
- Bornier Wholegrain Dijon Mustard
- Edmond Fallot Old Fashioned Grain Dijon Mustard
How To Make A French Tomato Tart Step By Step
This tart is comprised of two main components: the pate brisee pastry shell, and the filling. Fortunately neither are a lot of work so you can make this tart in under and hour. How great is that!
Once you learn how to make a pate brisee there are so many other dishes you can make, like a Wild Oyster Mushroom Quiche. This is different than a sweet tart crust used to make things like a Tarte Au Citron or a devilishly rich Chocolate Tart.
How To Make Pate Brisee Dough
- 125 grams Butter, cold
- 150 grams Flour, sifted
- 50 ml Water, ice cold
To start you’ll want relatively cold butter. I take my butter out of the fridge just 10 minutes before getting to work. This allows the butter to stay chilled, while allowing me to smush the flour into it. Cut 125 grams of butter into small cubes.
Add to the butter 150 grams of flour and use your fingers to smash everything together. There should be large chunks of butter visible as you do this. Once every cube has been smashed with some flour trickle in about 50 ml of ice cold water. Knead the dough just until everything is combined.
When the dough looks like the picture above it’s ready to be rolled out. Some people recommend putting the dough ball in the freezer for 10 minutes before rolling it out, but if you haven’t worked it too hard it should be fine. If you want to store pate brisee dough for later you need to keep it in the freezer.
How To Blind Bake The Pate Brisee Dough
If you are making the pate brisee dough for a pie or tart then you’ll need a baking dish. I use my perforated tart pan which is absolutely perfect for baking tarts. Pate brisee should be pre-baked aka blind baked, otherwise the bottom can get quite soggy, especially with the tomatoes in this recipe. This just means par-baking the dough before adding the filling and baking some more.
Roll out the dough until it can be draped inside of your tart or pie dish. Press it up against the edges and use a knife to trim the edges. Take a fork and poke the bottom a bunch of times so the bottom layer stays flat.
This next step is optional, but recommended. Many people still have issues with the center of the dough rising and the edges moving too much towards the center. A simple fix? Lay down a sheet of foil, fill with beans or pie weights, and then bake like that. The foil also helps protect the edges of the tart from burning, although some people prefer to use a pie shield regardless.
Bake the pate brisee crust in the oven at 350 F or 175 C for 25 minutes. If the dough pulls away from the edges a bit it’s not the end of the world. It just means next time add more beans or weights.
Don’t want to use weights or beans? I find popping the tart in the freezer for 10 minutes before going in the oven works great, so if you have the freezer space give that a try.
Layering The Tomato Tart
While the crust is baking you can prepare all of the other ingredients. Because tomatoes can vary in size depending on what you are using, think of these instructions as a sort of guideline; But know you may need more or less than I have written down.
- 5-6 Tomatoes – You definitely want to use the best tomatoes you can find in this dish. Because they are the prominent flavor, if you pick a bland tomato from the grocery store you’ll end up with a bland tart, and that isn’t a way to entertain.
- 2-3 tbsp Mustard – This is to coat the bottom of the par-baked crust. Depending on the mustard you choose the spreadability will vary so you may need more or less. For example a smooth Dijon will be able to coat the entire bottom of the tart in about 2 tablespoons, while something whole grain (recommended) might take three or even four tablespoons.
- 3 Shallots – thinly sliced
- 1 sprig Rosemary – very finely chopped. If you have a grinder you can actually use that to pulverize the rosemary into a powder since large pieces of rosemary can be difficult to eat.
- Salt – As needed. I recommend a regular table or even kosher salt for the salting of the tomatoes step, but highly recommend a finishing salt like fleur de sel to sprinkle on top at the end.
- 100 grams Goat Cheese – Optional. This is entirely up to you if you want to add it. I like to add it, but it does make it slightly different than a classical tomato tart so if it is your first time and you want to try the authentic version I would leave it out. And then on your second (and probably every one after) go you can add it.
- Black Pepper – Freshly cracked, to taste. Optional.
- Olive Oil – As needed
- Balsamic Glaze – Optional.
Start by slicing your tomatoes into rounds. Lay them on a large dish and generously sprinkle salt all over them. Do this right at the beginning so the salt has time to work its magic and draw away a lot of extra moisture.
Add a bit of oil to a pan and when medium hot throw in your shallots and rosemary. Cook them just until the shallots get translucent, but don’t allow either the shallot nor rosemary to burn.
On your parbaked tart dough smear the mustard to it covers the entire bottom. This will provide a coating to help the bottom crust avoid getting soggy. Then do layers of tomato and shallot/rosemary until you reach the top. Crumble over some goat cheese and drizzle some balsamic glaze if you are using it, then pop the entire thing back in your oven still at 175C/350F for about 22 minutes, or until you see the dough turn golden brown. If you are using cheese then place the tart on a middle rack away from the top heat source if you oven has a broiler function.
Before serving the tart you can finish it with some salt and freshly cracked black pepper. The photo above shows I added some rosemary leaves but to be honest I suggest leaving them off as raw rosemary is quite inedible. It did add some color to the photo though so I got that going for me.
Now this next thing is quite untraditional, but I’m a huge fan of making my own hot sauces so I usually drip a few drops of that onto my wedge. Yes, some would say it’s blasphemy, but when you make your own tarts at home you can do what you want.
What To Serve With A Tomato And Mustard Tart
While tomatoes and mustard work so well together in this delightfully provincial dish, that doesn’t mean you have to serve it by itself. Here are a few of my favorite things to serve alongside a classic tomato tart to really amp up that French countryside feeling.
- Mixed Greens Salad: A simple mixed greens salad with a light vinaigrette dressing complements the richness of the tart and adds freshness to the meal.
- Herb-Infused Olive Oil or Balsamic Reduction: Drizzle a high-quality herb-infused olive oil or balsamic reduction over the tomato tart and salad for extra flavor.
- Cheese Plate: Offer a selection of cheeses and some crusty bread for a cheese plate that can be served before or alongside the tart.
- White Wine: A crisp, dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay pairs well with a French tomato tart.
- Dessert: Conclude the meal with a light dessert, such as fruit salad or a fruit tart (double tarts…why not?), to balance the flavors.
More French Dishes You’ll Love
- Creme Patisserie
- Financiers (French Almond Cakes)
- Lemon Madeleines
- French Whipped Potatoes
- Blood Orange Cointreau Souffle
- Homemade Boursin Cheese
French Tomato Tart
- 5-6 Tomatoes You definitely want to use the best tomatoes you can find in this dish. Because they are the prominent flavor if you pick a bland tomato from the grocery store you'll end up with a bland tart, and that isn't a way to entertain.
- 2-3 tbsp Mustard This is to coat the bottom of the par-baked crust. Depending on the mustard you choose the spreadability will vary so you may need more or less. For example a smooth Dijon will be able to coat the entire bottom of the tart in about 2 tablespoons while something whole grain (recommended) might take three or even four tablespoons.
- 3 large Shallots thinly sliced
- 1 sprig Rosemary very finely chopped. If you have a grinder you can actually use that to pulverize the rosemary into a powder since large pieces of rosemary can be difficult to eat.
- Salt As needed. I recommend a regular kosher salt for the salting of the tomatoes step but highly recommend a finishing salt like fleur de sel to sprinkle on top at the end.
- 100 grams Goat Cheese Optional. This is entirely up to you if you want to add it. I like to add it but it does make it slightly different than a classical tomato tart so if it is your first time and you want to try the authentic version I would leave it out. And then on your second (and probably every one after) go you can add it.
- Black Pepper Freshly cracked, to taste. Optional.
- Olive Oil As needed
- Balsamic Glaze Optional.
- 150 grams Flour AP
- 125 grams Butter chilled, cut into small cubes or grated
- 50 ml Water ice cold
- In a bowl add the cubes of butter and the flour. Use your fingers to smush everything together until the butter and flour and partially combined.
- Trickle in the ice cold water and knead lightly until a dough ball forms. This is the basic pate brisee dough; you can store this in the freezer for a month or two.
- Drape the dough into the dish and press it against the sides. Use a knife to cut away the excess.
- Use a fork to poke a bunch of holes in the bottom. Cover with foil and fill with dry beans or pie weights if you want. Or you can pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Bake at 175 C (350 F) for 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
Making The Tomato Tart
- While the crust is baking you can prepare some of the filling. Slice your tomatoes and lay them on a plate. Generously sprinkle with salt and let sit.
- In a pan on medium heat add a little olive oil and saute the rosemary with the shallot. Cook until the shallot is soft and translucent, then remove and set aside.
- When the tart is out of the oven spread the mustard all around the bottom of the par-baked crust.
- Tip the plate of tomatoes over a sink to drain the excess liquid the salt has drawn out. Then layer the tart with tomatoes and the shallot-rosemary mix until you reach the top.
- If you are using goat's cheese crumble that over the top of the tart. Same with the balsamic glaze.
- Place the tart in the oven at 175C (350F) and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tart looks cooked to your best judgement.
- Remove tart, crack over some black peppercorns and sprinkle with finishing salt. Carefully cut slices, serve, and enjoy!