50-Women, Baking, Books, Main Dish, Meatless, Recipes

50 WOMEN GAME CHANGERS #5 MFK Fisher: Tarte a la Tomate

MFK Fisher.
She is a super famous cook and author.  Long before I started on this little journey down Gourmet magazines 50-women game changers, I read The Gastronomical Me.  Currently, I’m reading another of her fabulous books An Alphabet for Gourmets.
Up next on my reading list is her To Begin Again.  I just love reading her prose.  She transports me to a time where I was not alive.  A time when not even my mother was alive, but for some reason I feel nostalgic for this time in American history.
For this weeks 50-women recipe I’m making
Tarte a la Tomate
From The Cooking of Provincial Franese

001pg 50


Pate Brisee


  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1/4 inch bits
  • 2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water


    • In a large, chilled mixing bowl, combine butter, vegetable shortening, flour, and salt
    • Working quickly, use your fingertips to rub the flour and fat together until they blend and look like flakes of coarse meal.
    • Pour 3 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture all at once, toss together lightly and gather the dough into a ball.
    • If the dough seems crumbly, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water by drops.
    • Dust the pastry with a little flour and wrap it in wax paper.


  • Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or until it is firm.
  • Remove the pasty from the refrigerator 5 minutes before rolling it.
  • If it seems resistant and hard, tap it all over with a rolling pin.
  • Place the ball on a floured board or table and, with the heel of one hand, press it into a flat circle about 1 inch thick.


  • Dust a little flour over and under it and roll it out – from the center to within an inch of the far edge.
  • Lift the dough and turn clockwise, about the space of two hours on a clock, roll again from center to the far edge.
  • Repeat – lifting, turning, rolling – until the circle is about 1/8 inch thick and 11 or 12 inches across
  • If the pastry sticks to the board or table, lift it gently with a metal spatula and sprinkle a little flour under it.


  • Butter the bottom and sides of a 8 to 9-inch false-bottomed quiche or cake pan on more than 1 & 1/4 inch deep.
  • Roll the pastry over the pin and unroll it over the pan, or drape over the rolling pin.


  • Lift it up and unfold it over the pan.


  • Gently press the pastry into the bottom and around the sides of the pan, being careful not to stretch it.
  • Roll the pin over the rim of the pan, pressing down hard to trim off the excess pastry.
  • With a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry all over, trying not to pierce all the way through.


  • Chill for 1 hour
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • To keep the bottom of the pastry from puffing up, spread a sheet of buttered aluminum foil across the pan and press it gently into the edges to support the sides of the pastry as it bakes. (I didn’t have any aluminum foil and I used wax paper and pinto beans to keep my dough in place)


  • Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the foil.
  • Prick the pastry again, then return it to the oven for 3 minutes or until it starts to shrink from the sides of the pan and begins to brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and set it on a wire cake rack to cool.


Tarte a la Tomate


  • 1 pate brisee pastry shell
  • 1 pound Gruyere cheese, cut in thin slices
  • 2 or 3 large tomatoes, cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


    • Sprinkle the tomato slices generously with salt, and place them on a cake rack to drain for about 1/2 hour


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Arrange the cheese slices, slightly overlapping, in the bottom of the pastry shell.


  • Place the drained tomato slices side by side on top.


  • Sprinkle with a few grindings of black pepper, the basil, and the grated Parmesan cheese.


  • Dribble the melted butter over the tomatoes and bake in the upper third of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the top of the pie is lightly browned.
  • Served hot or warm

1 thought on “50 WOMEN GAME CHANGERS #5 MFK Fisher: Tarte a la Tomate”

  1. That crust looks amazing! This is sort of how I feel about older drink recipe books; I find myself wanting to exist in that era. Drink a glass of Dragoon Punch and dance the Charleston.


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