I have a large dinner coming up at the end of the month and I wanted to start the dinner with a great little fromage blanc tart. I did a little test run this weekend and I was really pleased with the final product. Earlier in the week I stopped by my cheese shop Foster and Dobbs and talked with the owner about what cheese I should use. She was generous enough to talk me through and let me taste several cheeses. I settled on a plain fromage blanc. After I settled on a cheese it was time to put some thought to the pastry crust. For the last couple of years I haven’t been very happy with my pastry crust. It’s been hard to work with and temperamental. I found a recipe that I think solves all of my problems.
I combined the fromage blanc with some fresh tarragon, thyme, chive and chervil and then piped the cheese into the tart shells.
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water
Make crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. [Alternately, you can use a pastry cutter to make your dough, as I did.] Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)
Using a biscuit cutter cut out rounds and press them into a mini muffin pan. Bake until golden brown at 350.