Dancing Tomatoes

I love going to a friends’ house for dinner, particularly when the friend might be French, and might love to cook, and might just be making something amazing like Tomato Mustard Tart as either a first or main course.

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Gorgeous Tart is Normal for the French Cook

A crisp, beautifully delicious, professional-looking tart is a typical part of the French home cook’s repertoire, and she (yes, the French home cook is often – though not always – female) is generally an endless source of fantastic recipes that to her, are simply nothing to put together and serve. To the eater, however, they are simply stupendous.

This One is a Regular at Home

The recipe featured here is a case in point. It’s a regular on most family tables during tomato season because it’s simple, it’s inexpensive, it’s beloved by everyone no matter their age.  That’s because the French child grows up with Dijon mustard as part of their regular diet, the tart is simply a normal dish in the French home, and garden-fresh tomatoes are abundant for many months of the year.

The Key is Pastry

To me, the key to this recipe is the pastry, so do refer to my recipe for Tender Tart Pastry if you’ve got the time (10 minutes to make, on the outside and the recipe is in each of my books).   If you don’t have the time, ok go ahead and use store-bought pastry made with butter. Or even puff pastry.  Pre-bake it so it keeps its crunch. Use whatever tomato you have – the best are just ripe, not too soft though if soft is what you have, use them. Try to curb your desire to add bacon – I know, I can see into all of your souls…!  Just keep it simple the first time and see what happens.

A Dressy Lunch or Nice Dinner

Plan this for either a dressy lunch or nice dinner, serve small pieces as a first course, or large pieces as a main course. Always have some green salad alongside.  I want you to make this, and I want you to tell me all about it. I think you’ll find you have a new favorite on your hands!

Bon Appétit!


Tomato Mustard Tart

Course: First Course, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Dijon mustard, fresh Thyme, Gruyère, tomatoes


  • One recipe for Tender Tart Pastry
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 4 large tomatoes cored and cut in thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Gruyere or Parmigiano


  • Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch (26.5cm) tart pan, and crimp the edges. Poke the bottom with the tines of a fork, then chill the pastry for about 30 minutes or up to several hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
  • Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights and bake in the center of the oven until the pastry is golden at the edges and beginning to turn golden on the bottom, 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Remove the pastry weights and aluminum foil. Let the pastry cool until lukewarm.
  • Brush or spread the mustard in an even layer over the bottom of the pastry. Place the tomatoes atop the mustard, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, the fresh thyme leaves and the cheese and bake the tart in the center of the oven until the tomatoes are golden at the edges and the cheese is melted and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. The tart is also delicious when served lukewarm.

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