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Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Tart with Odlum’s Coarse Whole Wheat Flour French Pastry Crust

john barry

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One of the best things about cooking in the internet era is that almost always, someone, somewhere, has tried making what you have your tastebuds set on and written about it. So naturally, when I came up with the idea of using Odlum’s coarse wholemeal flour for something other than soda bread, I turned the the internet. I discovered that people add coarse wholemeal flour to yeasted loaves and quick breads other than soda bread, like muffins and scones, but I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere for a tart crust made from it.  

This surprised me because the coarse texture and nutty flavor, reminiscent of a digestive biscuit or graham cracker, seem like the perfect fit for either a sweet or savory tart base. Having had no luck finding the tart crust I was looking for, I started googling “whole wheat crust” and found multiple pie crust recipes as well as pizza crust recipes.  None of them really fit the bill.   

Eventually I came to the realization that I was just going to have to experiment a little and come up with my own. I decided to start with David Lebovitz’s French Pastry Crust recipe because it’s tough to mess up and, having made it before, it seemed like the type of crust I was looking for to complement the coarse wholemeal flour I wanted to use.

It’s an odd recipe.  First you put the butter, oil, salt, sugar and water in the oven until everything is melted together and the butter starts to brown. Then you take it out and stir in the flour until the dough comes together in a ball. When the dough is cool enough to handle, you press it into your tart dough, dock the bottom of the crust with a fork and blind bake it without even using pie weights. There’s so much to love about it.  Nothing needs to be cold, rested or rolled out and you don’t even need pie weights! It really is the best tart dough ever.

I adapted the recipe to use my beloved Odlum’s and filled the cooled crust with a roasted tomato and ricotta filling born out of my refusal to go to the grocery store for a few days too long.  Funny how back in late summer I was cursing my prolific cherry tomato plant and now I’m hoping that our next crop is just as large. Someone, please remind me not to be lazy about roasted and freezing those little babies. They come in handy in so many ways. I’ve been using them on grilled cheese sandwiches (genius, if I do say so myself), salads, pizzas, as part of a cheese plate, and now this.

I tested the crust recipe a couple of times.  Whole wheat flour doesn’t behave exactly like all-purpose flour so it took a couple of tries before I felt like I had the fat, water, flour ratio quite right. But as with the all-purpose flour version, the basic technique produced an impossible to mess up, delicious crust that was both easy to put together and held together well. The flavor and texture were just what I had in mind, a cross between a wheat thin and a digestive biscuit.

This tart, coupled with a salad (topped with more roasted tomatoes) makes a perfect, simple lunch. As for the crust, I’m already thinking about how I want to pair it with chocolate, a la chocolate digestives, or fruit. It would also be nice for a cheesecake.

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Tart with Odlum’s Coarse Whole Wheat Flour French Pastry Crust

Makes 1 - 7 by 1-inch tart

 For the crust:

  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup Odlum’s coarse wholemeal flour 

For the filling:

  • 8oz full fat ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup roasted cherry tomatoes (roasted red peppers would work well)
  • ¼ cup sauteed minced green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  

 Add salt, sugar, butter, oil and water to a heatproof bowl and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until butter begins to brown around the edges.

 Remove from oven and mix in 1 cup of Odlum’s Coarse Wholemeal Flour with a spatula until no dry flour remains.

 This is what it looks like when it's ready to press into the tart pan. 

This is what it looks like when it's ready to press into the tart pan. 

 Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the tart pan.

 Ready for the oven. 

Ready for the oven. 

Dock the bottom of the tart with the tines of a fork and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until the dough is brown all over.

 Blind baked. I couldn't wait for this to cool. Probably not a good idea to start cooking projects when starving. 

Blind baked. I couldn't wait for this to cool. Probably not a good idea to start cooking projects when starving. 

While the tart crust is in the oven, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese until they are well incorporated, it should be thick.  

When the crust is ready, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely before adding the filling.

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Once the crust is cool, pour in the filling, sprinkle the reserved parmesan on top of the tart, and cook until it is set and only jiggles slightly in the middle when you move the tart pan from side to side, 20-30 minutes.

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If you like, place under the broiler for about two minutes to brown the cheese on the top. Be careful you don’t burn the exposed top ring of  crust when you do this (I did - but it was easy enough to remove the burned parts afterwards (see below) whew!). You may want to cover yours with foil before you turn on the broiler to be safe.

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