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Margarita tart and all about pie crusts

Oh for some pie crust © Cookaroo
I am something of a pie crust slut. I'll do any crust recipe that comes my way, just so that I accidentally someday stumble on a crust that I like so much, that I never want another recipe.

I've tried pie crusts from atleast 40 different books. Used shortening, oil, butter. Ice cold water. Chilled my dough overnight, sometimes frozen it. Blind baked it using beans, baked raw it till its golden. Truth is, I like pie very much - both the sweet and savoury types. 

If I ever catch a TV show that talks about rolling and making pastry, I'd be glued to the TV till its over and immediately try my hand at the recipe. In fact in one Jamie Oliver episode I remember him talking about 'Hot Hands'. Basically certain people have very warm hands and to make pastry you must have cold hands, so they must keep a bowl of ice cold water while they are crumbling the butter and then adding the water to the pastry.  In a Rachel Allen show, I remember how she talks about moving the pastry very little and using only a rolling pin to put it on to the tin. 

Anyhoo, my search for a pastry crust that I love, ended about six months ago, when I bought Tart Love. Simple, delicious and with complete explanations to what is right and wrong, the pie crust that this book churned out was excellent. Crispy, flaky and rather quick (and eggless!) this has no become my go-to pastry. 

This is the recipe I use when I make quiches - mini or large and pot pies. This is the recipe when I make my most favourite carmelised onion and blue cheese tart. This is the recipe I use when I know I have to please a crowd.

I also bought this book for my friend A as a birthday present, and she is the one who recommended I make the Margarita tart from it first. It's so delicious and light, she said  that the whole tart practically melts in your mouth. So well, I had to try it.

As you can see, there are three obvious layers to the tart - the crust (yum!), the filling and the tomato and basil. When you bake these rings of tomato, they shrink a bit and taste almost like sun-dried tomatoes and the freshness of the basil is a divine contrast to it. The filling too is light - not overwhelmingly cheesy but creamy and melty. Almost reminiscent of a pizza

 Three layers© Cookaroo
Margarita Tomato Tart. From Holly Herricks's Tart Love. Available in India, US and UK


For Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice water, or more/less as needed
For Filling:
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 teaspoon cream

zest from 1 small lemon
1 egg yolk
2 spring onions, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.      To prepare crust, combine flour and salt in a bowl of a food processor. Mix.  Add butter and crumble till the butter is  incorporated and mixture resembles coarse sand.
2.      Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the pastry begins to come together into a big, messy ball, stop. It's done. Do not add any more water than absolutely necessary.
3.      Turn out pastry onto a lightly floured surface, and quickly shape into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
4.      Remove pastry from fridge and roll into a 1/4-inch thick disk. Carefully transfer to an 11 or 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim edges, folding over excess dough to form a slightly raised edge. Crimp as desired. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
5.      Preheat oven to 350ºF. To prepare the filling, combine oregano, basil, ricotta, cream, lemon zest, and egg yolk in a mixing bowl; whisk to combine. Fold in the spring onions and season with salt and pepper.
6.      Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and spread filling into the bottom, smoothing it into an even layer with an offset spatula. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the filling, overlapping slightly in a concentric circle pattern. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
7.      Bake for 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the tomatoes are slightly shrunken but still slightly juicy. Increase heat to 400ºF and continue to bake another 10 minutes, or until any excess juice has baked off.
8.      Remove from oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Sliced side up © Cookaroo
 I am also sending it to Patricia's The Weekly Story on Colours Dekor and am looking forward to all the fun and pretty things other people are going to put up.

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  1. Looks delicious... when u get time, do visit mine...

    Event: Dish Name Starts With M

  2. wow!!looks so delicious and interesting..will love try to this some time..bookmarked:)

  3. I so very want to eat this now!!! Absolutely fantastic combi, will have to try it

  4. i wanna eat this! make for me, will ya?

  5. oh my!! that looks super yumm... yumm...

    You've got a lovely blog.. Im following you now.. and am looking forward to being inspired..

    Thanks for linking in last week.. Can't wait to see you link in more often.. :)

    HOpe you have alovely week ahead of you.. :)

    1. Thank you Patricia, YOU have a lovely blog, I will, I will link again super soon!