At the retail shop, the clientele loved this Goat Cheese Pesto Tart. It is the perfect example of a savory tart and we did many of them. This Goat Cheese Pesto Tart came from my love of peppers and basil - in this case, pesto. While I appreciate goat cheese, I find it very astringent and usually cut it with cream cheese to mellow it out as I have done here. I used this filling for small crostadas which we used as appetizers. We crossed slivers of red and yellow pepper on the top and they made a dazzling display on a tray when passed. They can be made, as can the tart, ahead and frozen.
For the crostadas, I would freeze them without the peppers on top, adding them after they had been reheated. I particularly like to use this filling for the crostadas as it didn't lose its shape when heated. We would pipe it on with a large star tip.
This Goat Cheese tart demonstrates the use of savory tarts in your repertoire. These can also be made in individual servings if you desire. The number of servings depends upon the size of your pans.
Because I believe strongly in adding flavor to every element of the dish, I vary the crusts depending upon what I am putting in them. This asiago crust is a great example. It's so good on its own, it can be rolled out, cut, pricked and served as snack crackers. I sometimes make extra dough just for that purpose.
This is a press in crust because you literally press it into the pan. These are often easier than roll out crusts. I divide the dough for the sides and the bottom. With the side and bottom separated, it is important to seal the seams well. Despite that, areas sometimes separate from each other and require patching. This is why it is important to save a small walnut-sized piece of the dough. You will see in the photos that my crust did separate and how it is fixed. This crust is sturdier than an American pie crust and doesn't get soggy as easily as a flaky crust.
This Goat Cheese Tart is special any time of the year, but particularly in the summer with fresh basil and peppers in abundance.
Asiago Crust for the Goat Cheese Pesto Tart
1 ½ cups flour (210 grams or 7 ½ ounces)
½ cup grated asiago cheese (45 grams or 1 ½ ounces)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 stick +1 tablespoon butter, cold and cut into pieces (125 grams or 4 ½ ounces)
5 tablespoons ice water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 11” tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place the flour, cheese, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a processor fitted with a steel blade. Process briefly to mix. Circle the butter over the dry ingredients and process until mealy. With the processor running, add the ice water and process until it forms a ball.Reserve a small amount of the dough. Divide the dough in half. Set aside one half. Divide the remaining piece in half again. Shape one of the pieces into a thin rolland lay it along the inside of the rim of the baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece, overlapping the edges. Press these rolls firmly along the edge of the pan. Press the bottom of the pastry firmly against the bottom of the pan so the edge of the dough is straight from top to bottom. Flatten the second half of the dough into a circle and place it in the middle of the bottom of the pan. Press it outwards toward the side.
Seal it to the side crust making sure the seam has been well sealed at the edges so it does not pull apart.Finish the top edge by pressing down on the top of the crust.Spray a piece of foil and place it, sprayed side down, into the tart shell fitting it well into the edges. Fill with beans to the top and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until golden, about 8 minutes more. If the side has separated from the bottom at some point,patch it. Using the reserved dough, roll very thinly and place it covering the crack. This is easiest to do while the shell is warm. With a small offset pointed spatula, work it into the crack.
Repeat to fill any cracks. If the bottom has cracked, simply work a bit of the reserved dough into the crack with the spatula. Cool.
2 ½ ounces basil leaves
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
Scant ½ cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Pull the leaves off the basil stems. You should have about 1 ½ cups. Place all but the oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process to chop finely. Add the olive oil down the feed tube while the processor is running. Use only enough oil to make a thick paste.Yield: Approximately 10 tablespoons. Drop leftovers by tablespoons onto waxed paper.
Freeze; store in a freezer bag or container.
Filling for the Goat Cheese Pesto Tart
2 red peppers
1 yellow pepper
½ pound goats cheese, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons pesto
1 tablespoons flour
¼ cup milk
¼ cup cream
¼ cup white wine
⅓ cup grated asiago
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray it and set aside.
Cut the peppers in half. Quarter and seed the peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Place the peppers on the prepared pan. Roast for 15 minutes; turn them over and roast for 15 minutes more or until the skin separates from the pepper. Cool while preparing the filling. Remove the skin from the peppers and blot dry if they are at all wet. Cover the bottom of the shell with the peppers. Set aside.
Place the goat’s cheese and cream cheese in the bowl of the food processor. Process until creamy and blended. Add the remaining ingredients. Process until completely mixed, scraping as necessary. Pour over the peppers in the shell. Smooth in the shell.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set.
Cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. Serve the Goat Cheese Pesto Tart hot or room temperature. This also freezes very well. Heat at 300°F for 20 to 25 minutes to thaw and heat.
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to take a look at: