Tomato and Egg Tart (or you can call it Quiche)
Quiche has had a bad rap over the years, but there’s also been a lot of less than great quiche put on plates. This one (which is really just an Tomato and Egg Tart) that I’m going to share with you today has a lot going for it. Firstly, it’s eye catching! The addition of cherry tomatoes still on the vine is a good-looking addition to this eggy party. Secondly, it’s made in a long narrow tart tin, which means the crust to filling ratio is bigger. To me, that’s always a good thing.
This tomato and egg tart is made without cream, evaporated milk or hollandaise sauce. It’s a very simple recipe using ingredients that you may have on hand anyway. Assuming of course, you’re making this in the summer and things like tomatoes are either growing in your back yard, or you add them to your regular grocery order.
I don’t do the ‘nutritional value’ or calorie count business in my recipes. This is a personal choice I hope everyone is okay with. I try to look at the ingredients and then decide whether or not I can balance the rest of the meal and still have dessert. Having said that, I’d definitely eat this with a nice green salad for lunch and not feel like it was too rich.
Bake before you fill!
One of the keys to success in a recipe like this, is to blind bake the crust. This is not hard, and it only take a a little extra time, but wow … what a difference it makes. The old bakers’ joke about a ‘soggy bottom’ is not really funny. Any tart or pie that is not baked properly will be inedible (at least the pastry part will be). That’s a waste of your time and your ingredients. Not to mention the disappointment that comes with the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’.
Blind baking is just pre-baking the pastry. Weights are used to keep the pastry dough from puffy up. My preference is to use rice. I used to use beans, but I find that the rice fills in the space better. You can also purchase ceramic pastry weights instead if you prefer. The rice or the beans can be reused many, many times. Just let them cool and store until next time. It’s important to use a piece of parchment paper between the weights and the dough! Trust me, it is … I do recall one distracted time I forgot and picking them out of the par-cooked dough. No fun!
Elevate your ‘bottom’ – no sogginess
Cook the pastry shell with the weights for about 15 minutes, take it out the oven and carefully remove the parchment and the rice/beans/weights. Then take a fork and prick the shell, this will prevent further puffing as you need to put this back into the oven for another ten minutes. That’s all there is to it. Best to let the pastry cool before you add your filling, but this won’t take very long.
If you are looking at other recipes for this sort of tart or quiche, and you’re not instructed to blind bake the pastry, stop right there! Remember what I said. For this sort of doughy delight, your filling will be overcooked if you don’t blind bake. I have seen many recipes where the blind baking is omitted, some by professional chefs as well. Just don’t skip this.
Cheese or more veggies … as you please
This tart also has cheese in it, you can choose from either goat cheese or feta. Or, if you are a cheese-hater (no judgement) you can leave it out and add some other cooked veggies, maybe a little roasted red pepper or sautéed asparagus. You will need to replace the volume of the missing cheese though.
This was not intended to be a vegetarian dish, but the clean flavours of the herbs and cheese really add to the whole tomato and egg tart simplicity. You could certainly add a small amount of cooked, crumbled bacon or ham to this to suit the meat-lovers.
Herbs bring an added hit of flavour to the tomato and egg tart
I’ve used chives and basil as the herbs in this recipe, partly because I think those two play very well together. You can easily substitute any other soft herbs such as tarragon, parsley etc. Of course, there’s my favourite herb Cilantro. Check out this post to see if that’s a good choice for you.
A word about pastry
There are many different types of pastry, this recipe uses Pâte Brisée – shortcrust pastry. It’s made with all butter but is fairly easy to handle. If you’re going to use any other recipe, please make sure you pick one that is suitable for this type of tart. The tomato and egg tart is obviously a savoury tart and does not need anything sweet supporting it. You could definitely add some herbs or cheese to the pastry. Those could potentially get lost in the finished taste though. You also want to use a pastry that won’t puff up too much. So, one with all or mostly shortening might not be the best either.
- 85g (6 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 125g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 45ml (3 tablespoons) cold milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 eggs
- 12g (1/4 cup) finely chopped chives
- 12g (1/4 cup) finely chopped basil
- 96g (3/4 cup) crumbled feta cheese OR 112g (3/4 cup) crumbled goat cheese
- 180g (6 ounces) cherry tomatoes - preferably attached to a vine
- salt and pepper to taste
This tart is a light quiche-like herb, cheese and tomato delight. Eaten slightly warm or cold with a nice salad, this makes a perfect meal. This recipe makes a 14"x4" inch tart, made in a pan with a removable bottom. You can also make four 4" round tarts or one 8 - 9" round tart.
When making this tart, it's really important to 'blind bake" the pastry. This is done by baking the dough before adding the filling. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and weigh it down with dried beans or rice.
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
- If you are doing this by hand, mix the flour and the cold diced butter and rub together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the cold mix and bring it all together until you have a smooth ball of dough. Try to work it as little as possible in order not to melt the butter.
If you are using a food processor, blitz the flour and dough together then add milk. Form the ball by hand.
- Roll the dough into a shape the size of your tart tin(s). Carefully place the dough in the tin and start pushing the dough into the grooved sides. Using your fingers, press the edges so that no dough hangs over the edges, as this will burn and be unpleasant.
- Chill the pastry shell for 30 minutes.
- Bake the pastry at 375F for 15 minutes, remove the beans/rice and paper, prick the dough gently with a fork and pop back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes. This will prevent your tart from having a 'soggy bottom'.
- Let the tart shell cool completely before filling.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°F/ 200°C.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and herbs and a little salt and pepper.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the shell and add the cheese evenly on top.
- Place the tomatoes gently onto the egg and cheese mixture. Try to arrange evenly across the tart.
- Bake the tart for approximately 25 minutes. The centre of the egg mixture should look firm, but have the slightest 'jiggle'. I recommend putting the tart tin(s) on a large baking sheet for easier handling.
- If you like the caramelised look, you can put your tart under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get that final touch.
My recipes are all created using metric weight measurements. Conversion to spoons and cups are approximate.
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