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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pretty in an Unconventional Way

I like pretty food.  I don't take pretty over tasty, but all things being equal, I like pretty food.  Who doesn't?

I'm always in a conundrum when I go to Whole Foods.  Have you ever looked at their bakery case, the one with all the fancy cupcakes and cakes?  Everything looks just lovely.  All that swirly frosting, tinted in pink and yellow.  It's just got to be good, right?  I mean, it certainly looks good, doesn't it?

Well, I am here to tell you that those lovely cupcakes look far taster than they actually are.  And, unfortunately, Whole Foods is not alone in it's pretty in place of tasty bakery goods.

My friend Mona and I have discussed this issue many times.  (Yes, these are the kinds of things we discuss over coffee.)  We have decided that more often than not, the prettier the cake is, the less likely that it will be stunningly delicious.

That is, unless you make it yourself.  There's just something about a homemade delicacy.  First of all, you know exactly what you're putting into the mixing bowl.  Second of all, while not always professional looking, more often than not, the homemade or, shall we say, rustic look is rather... charming.

This roasted cherry tomato quiche is a perfect example of pretty and tasty.  Leaving the roasted tomatoes on the stems adds a certain amount of rustic charm.  The goat cheese studded custard is truly delicious when paired with the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes.  The pasty shell is flaky.

This is not a quick and easy to whip up recipe.  But remember, true beauty comes from the sum of all it's parts.

Recipe:  Slow Roasted Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Quiche
(Simply Delicious.com)

Makes 6 small or 1 large quiche


For the Pastry:
250g flour
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
3-4 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon salt

For the Roasted Tomatoes:
100g cherry tomatoes, on the vine
3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

For the filling:
100g chèvre
4 extra-large eggs
200g Crème fraîche
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon fresh white pepper


To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.  Add the egg yolk and with the motor running, add the cold water, spoon by spoon until the mixture comes together in a ball.  Tip out of the processor onto a floured surface and bring together into a disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.

When the pastry has firmed up slightly, roll it out on a floured surface and cut into rounds which will fit your tart shell/shells. Press into the tart shells and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

To make the roasted tomatoes, pre-heat the oven to 400. Place the tomatoes in a small baking tray and drizzle over the oil and Balsamic vinegar and season with the salt and sugar.
Place in the oven and allow to roast for 30-45 minutes until the tomatoes are blistered but still keep their shape. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 350.

To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, Crème fraîche, salt and pepper.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and place a few tomatoes into each tart shell.  Pour over the egg mixture and dot the surface with some of the chèvre.  Place in the oven and allow to bake for 10-12 minutes (for individual sheets), or 30-45 minutes (for large tart),  until the egg is just set but still a little jiggly in the middle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

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