My sister tasted a slice of the Gerard’s Mustard Tart the day after I’d made it, and she paused, mid-chew, and said it was the best thing she had ever eaten.
I’m inclined to agree.
The word “sublime” may have been used in our conversation.
I decided to make both the carrot-leek version and the tomato version because I couldn’t choose between the two. We’ve also still got some tomatoes turning red in the gardens (or we did last weekend when I made the tarts), and I wanted to make something new and different with them.
I thought little tartlets would be cute with sliced cherry tomatoes and the long tart pan would work nicely with the thin strips of carrot and leek.
I have to say, before I write further about the tarts, that I’ve been SO excited about the recipes we’re doing. It’s hard not to try to cook the whole book at once. But I am managing to restrain myself.
My husband’s cousin and his wife and their daughters came for dinner last Saturday. It was a feast of baby back ribs, beer-can chicken, baked beans, cole slaw and corn bread. Hearty and American.
The appetizers and dessert, however, were from Dorie’s France.
I put the tart dough together Friday night. I thought it came together very easily and was really nice to work with.
I rolled out one portion for my rectangular tart pan and another portion to make 16 mini tarts.
I gave Julia the scraps and she made little strawberry jam sandwiches with them, which we had for breakfast the next morning.
I refrigerated the tart dough overnight and baked it off the next day.
Time to make the filling.
I started by picking some carrots from the garden and slicing them into little sticks, and then slicing up my leeks. I counted out enough cherry tomatoes to put either one large or three tiny half cherries on each mini tart.
Then I picked some rosemary and steamed the carrots and leeks.
The filling was so easy to make – just the eggs, the mustards and – my one change to the recipe – I used plain, greek-style yogurt instead of crème fraîche or heavy cream.
I had the yogurt, I didn’t have either of the others.
And it worked just fine, as far as I can tell – the final texture was smooth and lush.
For mustards, I used what I had – Grey Poupon’s Dijon and their Harvest Coarse Ground.
Speaking of mustard, I have to tell you this story. Many years ago my sister and my best friend and her two little nephews were at a local sandwich/ice cream place having burgers for lunch. My friend was sitting on one side of the booth between her nephews, who were probably six and five or something like that. I don’t remember what started this, but one of the boys was upset about something and he was holding onto the mustard and ketchup squeeze bottles on the table. Maybe he was upset that it was time to leave. Anyway, my friend was doing her best to persuade the little boy, seated directly across from me, to let go of the bottles. Somehow she pried the ketchup bottle out of his little hand, but he had a tighter grip on the mustard. Things grew more and more tense…she begged, hissed, threatened, all the while doing her best to hold tightly to the bottle without holding too tightly.
There was only one way for this story to end.
A long, yellow string of mustard shot straight up into the air about three feet and came down on the other little nephew’s head.
My friend marched both boys into the restroom, where we could hear her as she read the older one the riot act and washed yellow mustard out of the younger one’s hair.
My sister and I sat at the table, not daring to look at each other – or at any of the other diners nearby. Eventually, though, we began to shake, and then to snort, and then to laugh uncontrollably, tears rolling down our faces.
We paid the bill and were ready to leave by the time our pungent luncheon companions returned.
That’s my mustard story.
Anyway, back to the tarts.
I filled the tart shells with the custard mixture and placed the sticks of leek and carrot crosswise on the rectangular tart.
And I dotted the mini tarts with the little cherry tomato halves. If I remember correctly, Dorie’s recipe said to place the tomato halves cut side down, but I rebelled and placed them cut side up. Then I sprinkled some chopped rosemary on top.
And then I popped them all in the oven and began to suffer terribly as the aroma filled the kitchen…the dining room…the living room…the second floor.
They looked – and smelled – gorgeous out of the oven, and I had to remove myself from the room to avoid accidentally eating one before they were ready to come out of the pans.
Fortunately I had a bit of cleaning to do.
It was hard to wait , though.
Fast forward to later in the day when family arrived and we could eat. I’d sliced the rectangle tart into wedges and arranged them and the mini tarts on a big, round cutting board.
Final verdict? The rectangular tart was – as I mentioned earlier – sublime. The perfect ratio of filling to crust.
The mini tarts were good – oh, and the little bites of tomato with rosemary on them were like…like a savory version of that gum years ago with a liquid center – a burst of flavor in your mouth. (I’m tired, I’m not e’splainin myself too well at the moment.) But the ratio of filling to tart was off – too much tart. A bit too dry. If I’d used smaller tart pans, and therefore less dough, maybe the ratio would have been better.
They were still yummy, though.
Those who tried the tarts were, I think, surprised. We don’t use mustard as an ingredient as often as we could, I think, and this tart (or these tarts) will probably change that, at least for me.
Thank you, Dorie. I love this tart.
If you want to find out what everyone else thought of the tarts, head over to the French Fridays with Dorie site and check out all the links.