We're in limbo. Our calendars and brains tell us it's summer and that we should be eating lightly dressed salads and gazpacho. Assuming you're into cold tomato water; I, frankly, am not. Our bodies are confused though, they're craving woolen sweaters and butter. Lots of butter.
This recipe satisfies both needs by taking advantage of the bright flavour of early tomatoes inundating local markets, but with a healthy dose of butter and cheese.
1 1/2 cups flour (I used a combination of rye and all purpose)
9 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed. Frozen or very cold.
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp ice water
20-30 grape tomatoes
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated cheese. Cheddar, Gruyere, and Comte would all be delicious.
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 300.
Start by making the dough. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. I used half rye flour for the lovely nutty flavour it adds, but be careful! Too much rye and your pastry will be a crumbly mess; rye has less - and weaker - gluten than wheat flour.
Add the butter and pulse to combine. The pieces of butter should be on average pea-sized when it's done. It's OK that some are still larger. Get your ice water organized, and with the motor running add water and blend until clumps start to form. If you wait until the whole thing comes into a ball the butter will be too fine and your pastry will be tough. Embrace the crumbliness.
Lay a large piece of plastic wrap out on the counter and dump the dough onto it. Lifting up the sides of the plastic wrap and using the palms of your hands, quickly press the dough together, making as little contact as possible. When you've formed a firm disk, wrap it tightly in the plastic and place in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, pre-roast your tomatoes. Cut them in half and place cut-side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. If you're feeling fancy feel free to add some herbs at this point; thyme, herbs de Provence, and oregano are all good choices. Roast until the tomatoes have a bit of colour and are slightly dehydrated (you don't want all of that liquid spilling onto your crust).
Increase the oven temperature to 425.
Your tomatoes and pastry are doing their thing. Time to make some sauce. Combine the butter and flour in a saucepan over medium high. Once the butter is melted, make sure all of the flour is coated and then add the milk, stirring constantly to make sure you dissolve any clumps. Add in your mustard and cheese and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Don't give up! It WILL work! Once your sauce is thick enough to not spill out the sides of the pastry it's done. Take it off the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Roll out your dough on a floured surface until it's 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a baking tray. Spread sauce to within an inch of the edge and cover with tomatoes, cut side up. Fold the edges towards the middle to create a rustic barrier. If you're looking to impress, you can brush an egg wash on at this point, but I didn't bother.
Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350. Continue baking about 20 more minutes, or until everything is golden brown and bubbly and the crust looks firm.
Serve hot or cold with a lightly dressed green salad.