French tomato pie with goat cheese and Imperial IPA beer jelly (or honey)

This is a classic in French cuisine – mustard, tomatoes and cheese layered on a flaky pie crust. This was my first recipe published last year in my blog: Alchimie et gourmandise. We love this pie – we call it the French pizza. I wanted to revisit this classic this summer, and add a little of “je ne sais quoi…”.

As I am working with local craft beer, my idea was to add some Imperial IPA beer jelly to the mustard and to pair this aromatic jelly with goat cheese… A must to try. I hope you will enjoy this French pie with a Canadian twist as much as us.

If you don’t have any beer jelly, don’t worry. You can use also honey or apple cider jelly.

I think it is time to cook, this is my recipe:

Pie crust recipe

Ingredients

250 grams all-purpose organic unbleached flour

125 grams of butter, cubed and very cold

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

100 ml very cold water, plus more is needed

Directions

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture, and cut it using a pastry cutter (rubbing it in with your fingertips also works in a pinch). Keep working the butter into the dough until in coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.

Scrape off any residual butter-flour mixture from the pastry cutter, and drizzle in the water.

Gently work the water into the dough with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until it becomes a shaggy but relatively cohesive mass. Give the dough a few kneads with your hands (fewer than 10) so that it forms a rough ball.

Try to work these steps as fast as you can. This is one of the secrets for a flaky crust.

Wrap the ball in plastic wrap, and chill for at minimum one hour or overnight. This allows the water to fully hydrate the dough, making for a more cohesive product that’s easier to roll out.

The tomato mustard French pie

 Ingredients

100 g of mustard

I use normally a combination (50/50) of artisan whole-grain mustard (not sweet at all) and Maille Dijon Originale mustard. French mustard like Maille is the best choice because it is not sweet and it will pair perfectly with the Imperial IPA beer jelly, honey or apple cider jelly.

1 tablespoon + 4 to 5 teaspoons Imperial IPA beer jelly (or honey or apple cider jelly as an alternative)

If you are using honey or sweet apple cider jelly, put a little less because it is going to be too sweet.

3 large or 5 medium ripe heirloom tomatoes (like candy’s old yellow, green zebra, cavern…)

5 to 6 round slices of goat cheese – 250 g (8 ounces) (like The Tournevent, la fromagerie Hamel, Quebec)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of fresh herbs of Provence (a combination of parsley, marjoram, rosemary, thyme or oregano)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Fit the pie crust into a 11-inch pie dish (or smaller size like a 9-inch). With a fork, poke holes into the bottom of the crust.

Precook the crust for 7 to 10 min. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into slices 3-5 mm thick. Lay the slices as on paper towels to remove excess water content in tomatoes if needed

Remove the crust from the oven.

Mix together the two kinds of mustard with one tablespoon of Imperial IPA beer jelly. Spread it over the bottom of the pie crust in an even layer. Cover the mustard with slices of tomato, overlapping in a spiral from the edge to the center. They will slightly shrink while cooking. Then, don’t be afraid to put two layers of tomatoes.

Arrange the slices of goat cheese on top, and add a teaspoon of Imperial IPA beer jelly on each disk of goat cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle the tart with the herbs of Provence.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 450 degree F, or until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn’t brown as much as you’d like it, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it’s just right.

Remove from the oven and let it to rest for 15 min.

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Imperial IPA beer jelly (or vanilla) infused yogurt pudding with tomato compote

In the French Caribbean islands, we are making vanilla tomato jam. And yes, tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable!

I have always loved the idea to use tomatoes in sweet recipes. I started with jam a few years ago. This is one of my favorite jam here in Toronto. We have so much tomatoes during the summer. But this summer, I wanted to be a little more adventurous and I have decided to develop a dessert with tomatoes that also includes one of my beer jellies.

Imperial IPA beer jelly is the perfect choice because hops and tomatoes work really well together. But don’t worry, if you don’t have any Imperial IPA beer jelly, you can use vanilla for both the tomato compote and the yogurt pudding. It is going to be delicious too.
Inspired by Indian cuisine, this is an aromatic, crunchy, creamy and refreshing sweet treat (adapted from Ragini Dey’s recipe (Spice Kitchen)). It remind me one of my grand mother Adele recipe. Hope you will like it!

I think it is time to cook, this is my recipe:

Prep Time: 15 min        Cook Time: 30 to 45 min         Yield: 4 servings

 Ingredients

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 vanilla bean

4 curry leafs (or 1 small bay leaf)

4 pods of green cardamom (opened, seeds removed and ground)

180 grams (7/8 cup) sugar

250 grams (1 cup) plain yoghurt

140 grams (0.6 cup) sweetened condensed milk

80 grams (0.3 cup) cream fraîche

4 teaspoons of Imperial IPA Beer Jelly (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract as an alternative)

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C).

Cut lengthwise down the vanilla bean into two halves and scrape the pod halves to collect the seeds.

Mix together the tomato, vanilla pod and seeds, curry leafs, cardamom and sugar in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and cook for about 8–10 minutes.

Do not overcook the tomatoes, it is really important to keep intact the crunchiness and the freshness of this fruit.

Remove the tomatoes, and distribute them equitably between 4 X 250 ml glass Masson jars.

Reduce the tomato syrup half or until it forms a syrup. Remove the vanilla bean and curry leafs, and pour the syrup into the jars over the tomatoes.

Warm up the Imperial IPA Beer Jelly using a microwave or using a water bath.

Mix together the yoghurt, condensed milk, cream, beer jelly and egg in a medium bowl.

Pour the yoghurt mixture over the tomato mixture and bake in the oven for 20–35 minutes, or until the pudding is just set. It seems that 25 minutes is enough but it will all depend of your stove.

When the pudding is cooked, it will look smooth like a panna cotta and still a little wobbly. Do not cook it for any longer once it reaches this stage, because overcooking will make it curdle and the water will separate.

Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then serve. The pudding will become firmer and lose its wobbliness when chilled.

You can keep this dessert for at least 48 hours in the fridge. It is a really refreshing sweet delicacy!

Ratatouille … One recipe… A big pot and so many yummy meals

This hearty country dish from the Provence region of France (Nice) is an easy mix of seasonal vegetables, garlic, aromatic herbs and olive oil.

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And yes, ratatouille is one of the summer dishes per excellence, not only in Provence but now in each region of France. In my family, we cook each time a large quantity, we enjoy this yummy vegetable stew with couscous, or we use the leftover as the main ingredient for different recipes during a week period.

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In my family, we plant tomatoes and zucchinis and we harvest a lot of them (giant zucchini!). Then, my sister in law – Isabelle spend some days during her holidays canning and/or freezing ratatouille. When I am in France, visiting them for Xmas, I have the opportunity to enjoy the taste of the sunny vegetables.

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I think it is time to cook and enjoy with amazing dish. This is my recipe:

Prep Time: 40 min                   Cook Time: 1 hour 20 min                     Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

4 large tomatoes

6 medium (or 3 large) zucchinis

4 small eggplants

3 medium bell peppers (one green, one red, one yellow)

1 onion

4 shallots

4 garlic cloves

1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs thyme, 3 to 4 curry leafs (facultative – it can be replaced by any aromatic herbs you like), 2 sprigs marjoram, 5 to 7 sprigs parsley)

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What is a bouquet garni?

It is a bunch of herbs that is added to casseroles, stocks, sauces and soups. It traditionally comprises parsley (or parsley stalks, which have lots of flavour), a few sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf and other aromatics. These herbs may be bundled into a strip of leek or a piece of celery stalk, or tied in a muslin bag or with string, to keep them together during cooking and allow easy removal before serving

Basil

5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preparation

Wash all vegetables under warm water with a soft brush.

Dice the onion and mince the shallots.

Roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, eggplants, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince two garlic cloves. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep each one in a separate bowl.

Why I recommend to use “the sauté each vegetable separately” method?

This dry-heat/high-heat method not only cooks off a lot of water from the vegetables but it helps concentrating their flavors. Another positive point, each piece of vegetable can brown and caramelize, which deepens and rounds out the flavor of the dish. Finally, the last benefit is that you can season each vegetable properly and cook it to just the right texture.

Warm two tablespoons of olive oil in a large (at least 5 1/2-quart) Dutch oven or in a non stick pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot (or pan) and sauté the peppers until they have also softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers to the bowl with the eggplants.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot (or pan) and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the eggplants and peppers.

Add one tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven pot and add the onion, shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onion and shallots have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Scrape up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan if any (good flavors).

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Add all the vegetables (i.e. peppers, zucchinis and eggplants) into the pot as well as the bouquet garni and some ground pepper, and stir until everything is evenly mixed.

Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low, half cover with lid. Stirring occasionally, simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. Shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables in larger, more distinct pieces; longer cooking times will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.

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I cook my ratatouille for 45 minutes (in general) at low heat and as you can see in the different pictures posted in this blog the pieces of vegetable are still distinct. With or without the lid, it really depends on how much juice I have in the pot – the idea is to reduce it if too much juice. Don’t rush your cooking process… I find cooking slowly helps to build and bring together the complexity of flavors.

Ten minutes before the cooking time ends, add two crushed garlic cloves and cover.

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Remove the bouquet garni. Sprinkle basil and a glug of good olive oil (if you want) over each bowl as you serve.

Leftovers can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 3 months. Ratatouille is often better the second day, and it can be eaten cold, at room temperature, or warm.

Bonne Appetite!

Recipe Notes

If you want to make a smaller batch – cut in half the recipe and don’t be afraid to adapt it and use whatever vegetables you have.

You can add extra flavors – for something different, why not to try adding a tablespoon of smoked paprika, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup of red wine, or a splash of vinegar to the ratatouille. 

Ideas for using your leftover ratatouille:

Serve over couscous, barley couscous or polenta with or without grilled chicken or roasted lamb

Use a scoop of cold ratatouille as part of a Niçoise salad, along with steamed new potatoes, green beans, tuna in oil, black olives, and hard-cooked egg. Drizzle with a lemon-garlic vinaigrette

Sunny and sophisticated vegetable soup – add some cold chicken stock and a little anise-flavored Pernod and mix with a blender

Pulse it in a food processor to a chunky purée, add mustard, vinegar and a dash of Tabasco, and you’ve got a spread for your sandwich or a dip for your pita chips

Mix ratatouille with some chopped brine-cured black olives, capers or anchovies, hot sauce or grated orange zest and pile onto toasted baguette slices as an appetizer

The French way, try vegetable pie, savory gratin or crumble (the new cooking trend in France) and why not, a savory flan like clafoutis

A healthy Sunday brunch or breakfast – ratatouille with poach eggs in the center and a splash of hot sauce (you can also add some crème fraiche et cheese on the top of each egg)

Fill an omelette with ratatouille and crumbled goat cheese

Pasta dish with ratatouille, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a few spoonfuls of pasta cooking water to loosen

Vegetarian lasagna

Nestle three jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined) in individual gratin dishes filled with ratatouille. Top with Greek black olives, crumbled feta, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until the shrimp are pink and everything’s hot and bubbly, and serve as a first course

Grill some meaty fish steaks, such as halibut, tuna, or swordfish, and top with a spoonful of ratatouille and a squeeze of lemon

References for some of the “leftover use” suggestions:

The New Ratatouille

Ratatouille leftovers

September is ….Tomato merry-go-around

It was really difficult to choose the recipes I will share with my guesses for this amazing dinner party. I love tomatoes and I cook them in so many different ways… all so yummy. These are some of my favorite recipes, new ones I have developed here in Canada as well as my family’s recipe: “les tomates farcies”. A must!

Join us in September to enjoy a dinner all focusing on tomatoes … savory and sweet … there is no limit!

tomato merry-go-around

Register at The Kingston Social

References for the pictures:

http://www.kireei.com/tomates-y-flores/

http://www.cuisineactuelle.fr/recettes/tomates-farcies-au-boeuf-hache-209505

http://www.showfoodchef.com/2010/08/tomato-canjam.html