Family, friends will gather around table for flavorful tart

Book: “LEON: Family & Friends”; 304 pages, $29.99, by Kay Plunkett-Hogge & John Vincent. Published by Conran Octopus, 2013.

About the book: You’ll find more than 200 recipes created to bring your family and friends together. The book is divided into three sections: “Today” focuses on breakfast, after-school snacks and dinner; “Tomorrow” offers dishes for holidays, picnics, birthday parties and weekends; “Yesterday” provides recipes that date back to the ’50s and ’60s.

Other goodies: In addition to the recipes, you also get lots of nutritional and food tips. For example, sea salt is full of good-for-your-body minerals whereas factory-made table salt is simply sodium chloride. Also, it turns out that egg whites freeze very well.

What we made:


Serves 4-6

1 sheet of ready-to-bake puff pastry

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups halved cherry tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes, quartered

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped

3 ounces soft goat cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lay out the puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then, using a sharp knife, score a line — not all the way through — down and across each side of the pastry, about ¾ inch in from the edges. This will give the tart a nice crusty raised edge.

Put the olive oil, cherry tomatoes, thyme leaves and garlic into a bowl and mix until they are well coated. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.

Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the pastry, keeping it within the lines.

Crumble the goat cheese over the top among the pieces of tomato.

Add another quick dash of freshly ground pepper and put it into the oven for about 20 minutes or until it’s golden brown and puffy on the outside and the tomatoes are collapsing slightly and the cheese is melt-y, then serve.

Variation: For something a little sweeter, you could replace the tomatoes with sliced fresh figs. Keep everything else the same — just add a good drizzle of honey before serving.

Our assessment: The taste-testers gave this recipe a big thumbs up, along with a few ideas for making it even better. Quarter the tomatoes, one suggested, because the halves burst in your mouth when biting down on them. Another thought the dish was a bit “bright” and recommended adding mushrooms, onions or another “earthy” vegetable to provide a balance of flavors. We think this dish would make a wonderful addition to a special brunch, and the pretty picture frame-like raised edge created by scoring the pastry would surely impress the guest of honor for Mother’s Day.

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Ideas for Mother’s Day dishes. XX