Foodiva's Kitchen: FFWD - Tourteau de Chèvre with Sesame, Figs and Thyme

Friday, May 6, 2011

FFWD - Tourteau de Chèvre with Sesame, Figs and Thyme


Oh.My.Heavens. Chèvre. Isn’t that another word for Goat Cheese? The first goat cheese I ever tried was almost the last: someone I shared a lot of meals with once handed me a chunk of brownish chèvre and urged me to "try some of this amazing goat cheese”. I took a small nibble, and spent the rest of the week trying to get the taste out of my mouth. It really did taste like a well-aged goat carcass. Many years later I was finally emboldened to try a bit of fresh chèvre, and was delighted that I didn’t gag. Although I must say… I have never gotten too crazy in love with it either.


Until I was writing this post, I had never realized that opinions about chèvre were so polarized. There is something otherworldly about this cheese and it seems like you either love it or hate it. Now that chèvre is trendy, I can see how some goat cheese lovers might want boast that they are (goat cheese lovers) as a way of highlighting their foodie sophisticated-ness. On the other hand, I can also understand why many others seem to have an aversion to this cheese. A bit of surfing on the net revealed these gems relating to the taste of chèvre:
- "It’s like what the beard of the billy goat smells of since he has been "spraying" it." (Haha)
- "It’s unbearably musty and the smell reminds me of something mildew-y that desperately needs to be cleaned out."
- "It’s totally disgusting and gamey."


Goat cheese is definitely something that for many of us takes time to appreciate. So instead of tossing this week's French Fridays with Dorie’s Tourteau de Chèvre recipe to the "Try-Another-Day" bin, I decided to give goat cheese another chance. Dorie’s first-time experience with this dish swayed me, and I too wished for it to surprise me.

For the record, I sort of winged the measurements for the filling. Why? Because I have this adorable 4-inch springform baking pan that’s only slightly larger than my palm. And this being a goat cheese tart (meaning, I would be the only one within a five-mile radius who would be eating it), I decided to use the miniature pan for practicality's sake. The size dictated that I use only 1 egg, 200g of chèvre and no cornstarch and/or extra flavoring.

I couldn’t get hold of plain chèvre but did find a marinated version – I might have spotted unidentified herbs and red bell peppers in the marinade…eeks! Although Dorie’s recipe meant for this tourteau to be a dessert, what I ended up with was something in between sweet and savory.

 Ms. Jenny J, I stood under the hot, tropical sun with my tourteau and 5-inch heels - just for you.

Now don’t declare me insane as I’m about to throw this bag of logic your way. I made the crust with black sesame powder (ground sesame seeds) because of its pronounced nutty taste, and I did this because cheese normally pairs well with nuts. I’ve also never cooked goat meat in my life but the closest I have gotten to doing so is lamb, and whenever I’ve cooked lamb I always sprinkle thyme to complement its gamey flavor. Using this line of thinking, I’ve included toasted fresh thyme in this recipe - a little bit sprinkled on the crust and on top of soft, dried figs tied the flavors together brilliantly. A drizzle of acacia honey across the fig topping completed the dish.

Oh by the way, did you notice the really funky pink and black apron above? That was sent over by Ms. Jenny J. of Vintage Sugarcube, selflessly sharing her fabulosity across many oceans. We’ve been friends since I first started blogging nearly a year ago and I simply treasure her friendship and convent-school wit. If you haven’t yet discovered her blog, just hop over there and ogle at her over-the-top creativity (and hairdo!).

I’ve had tiny slices of this tourteau and while my expectations were not high to start with, the chèvre, with all the other flavor combinations, have managed to pleasantly surprise me. Still… and I want to be truthful when I say this… I can’t wait to return to the comfort of cow cheese ;-).


Interested to know how the other FFWD members’ tourteaus turned out and if anyone actually substituted the chèvre with something else? Click here to find out.

57 comments:

Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) said...

My husband detests goat cheese and that's an understatement. I like it and I'm specific about how I eat it. I think you improvised well on this dish and really made it your own. Love the figs on top! :-)

Jenny (VintageSugarcube) said...

You are such a hot little kitten Miss Maya. I think you need to be showing off those sexy shoes and legs by the pool more often. And that fig Tourteau is almost as gorgeous as you my friend. XOXO

Foodiva said...

Jean, I'd like to hear your hubby's exact words to describe the cheese! I'm sure they're pretty colorful and vivid...lol. Thank you, the figs do make a big difference, they enhance the taste of the tourteau and distract you somewhat from the chevre!

Foodiva said...

Jenny, that apron competes with the tourteau for a spot in deliciousness! Thank you for the lovely surprise, you have such good taste. As for them legs....I don't know...I may have to stretch them a bit longer before I'm happy to show them off again. Plus, the sun over here is HOTTER than I supposedly am. Lol.

Cake Duchess said...

Oh I love the photos of beautiful YOU! Those heels...yowzers! This tourteau looks fabulous. I happen to LOVE chevre. I am bummed I didn't try the recipe to participate this week-maybe will make this wkend b/c yours looks amazing:)

Foodiva said...

Lora, you can't imagine the torture of having to pose in those heels in the immense heat with a 7-year old photographer behind the camera! Lol, but my son, he did a pretty good job, no? ;-) Thanks for swinging by and admitting you're in the chevre-lover camp. If you do make your tourteau this weekend, I know it will just be excellent!

Jennifurla said...

I am a goat cheese lover, but I swear only because I truly LOVE the taste.. I can say my first bite taken, truly shocked me though.

Foodiva said...

Jennifer, you said it so perfectly! The first bite was shocking for me too, it left me speechless with no words to describe the taste aptly. But it's great that you love goat cheese, and really, I don't mind it so much in feta.

Roxan said...

I'm just now coming around to goat cheese. I used to find it chemical-y tasting. But now it's grown on me. I'd love to try this!

PS I have a new blog address :)

Foodiva said...

Roxan, try this. It's not chemical-y at all. Hey, I'm a bit confused....are you and Jessica Walsh the same person?

Torviewtoronto said...

nice clicks and cute apron :)
I haven't had this combination looks wonderful
thanks hope you try the soup it is delicious

Nami @ Just One Cookbook said...

Hi Maya! Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog - and now I'm here! Your pictures and recipes are beautiful and delicious, and I look forward to following you!

Sandra said...

LOL!!!! Heels..I totally hear you but mama got to do what she got to do..:))) (I like them, you could be leg model)
Ok back to the recipe..wowww, I adore figs, and your tourteau looks amazingly delicious!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

Foodiva said...

Akheela, thanks. I'll definitely try your yummilicious asparagus soup this weekend!

Foodiva said...

Hi Namiko, so glad you came by! Hope you stop by often ;-).

Foodiva said...

Sandra...LOL, how hilarious! I'd rather be a mouth model. As in mouth eating cake...haha. Although that might not be enticing to you and others!

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

Oh my gosh... I want these so bad. They look amazing! Also I've never tried something like this before so I want to eat it :) Also, are those Louboutins??? :D

Foodiva said...

Xinmei, haha...you have sharp eyes! If you've never tried goat cheese before, you better brace yourself ;-). You might instantly love it, too, in which case I will kowtow to you!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I LOVED the chevre in this. I used a very mild one and I could hardly taste it. I will be making this again for sure. Loved the technique. Your figs are beautiful....

Foodiva said...

Mardi, I can honestly tell you that the chevre I used was definitely goat-y! I hadn't realized there were even mild versions of chevre until you pointed it out in your post.

Lizzy said...

OOooh, I love coming here and seeing the twist you put on Dorie's recipes...and again, I'm not disappointed! Lovely torteau! And cute apron and shoes, too...you go, girl!!! Off to check Jenny's blog :)

Foodiva said...

Lizzy, and I love your weekly visits!

natalia said...

Ciao ! What a lovely blog you have ! I love your creativity with the tourte.

Cher said...

Awww. I like goat cheese - for real.
Love the figs on top!
And way to go with the heels and the apron! Glam cooking, for sure. You go girl.

Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini said...

Yours looks amazing! I would have never thought to pair thyme and figs together - how delicious!

yummychunklet said...

Your cake looks absolutely AMAZING. How creative!

saffronandhoney.com said...

I love the additions! Such naturally paired flavors for goat cheese, and your cake looks beautiful.

Choclette said...

Your cheese & fig torte sounds and looks delightful. Am very much sure I would eat this with relish. I wouldn't say I was a lover, but I do like goat's cheese.

eatinthemiddle said...

i love how your creativity flowed with this cake. i find myself following recipes exactly as they are written. i hope that with enough experience, i'll be able to improvise some day, too. nicely done!

Carolyn said...

ha, love you in your high heels! Give cheese a chance, instead of give peace a chance? Cute. And this actually looks incredible!

Foodiva said...

@eatinthemiddle, I think that's one of my major flaws...I can't seem to follow recipes! And that have led to disasters of epic proportions sometimes, but luckily this tourteau turned out ok ;-). Hey, it took me a while to just let loose and have fun in the kitchen, and I'm sure in time, you will too!

Foodiva said...

Carolyn, normally I wear flip flops by the pool...LOL. But I thought this tourteau deserved a little dressing up, literally and on my part! Thanks, sweetie ;-).

DessertByCandy said...

Lovely interpretation of the original! The crimped edge, the flavour combo, and the miniature size...simply awesome! I'm inspired to make tart dough with ground black sesame now.

Foodiva said...

Candy, you have a real good eye for detail...I mean, you actually noticed the crimped edges of the crust? ;-) I often make tart dough with black sesame powder thrown into the mix, the taste is incredible and distinct, and you should give it a try!

Michael Toa said...

I like goat's cheese and I think its saltiness goes beautifully with the sweet figs and honey. The tart looks absolutely beautiful Maya. Have a wonderful weekend!
P.S If I have to choose between the two, I still prefer's cow's milk cheese too :)

Betsy said...

What a lovely interpretation of this tourteau, Maya! All of your flavors go together perfectly. I am a huge fan of chevre, so this recipe wasn't a hard sell to me. I can't wait to try your variation.

Kathy said...

This looks lovely!! Love the figs…how perfect with the goat cheese tart!

Pacheco Patty said...

Wow,love the figs, goat cheese,thyme, heels and the apron;-)
I'm glad you gave the goat cheese another try, now I want to make another one served with figs but sadly they are not in the market here this time of year;-)

Foodiva said...

Michael, thank you for your honesty and you have a lovely weekend too!

Foodiva said...

Betsy and Kathy, so glad you enjoyed my variation of Dorie's recipe. Next time there's baking involved, I'm thinking of sticking to the exact recipe so I can compare my dish to everyone else's. That's going to be tough for me though ;-).

Foodiva said...

Patty, just to clarify... I hardly ever wear heels during the day, and the figs? They're never in season where I live. It's too hot over here, hence the dried version! Overall, this has been an enjoyable recipe, as it has been, of course, for everyone else!

tricia s. said...

Wow- goat cheese was something I actually came into the post liking and after reading your hilarious comments and definitions....I was kind of asking myself why. And also trying to remember why I ever tried it the first time:) Too funny-in fact I blame Nana (my co-blogger) for giving me a warm goat cheese salad. Needless to say, Nana and I had a blast making this week's recipe. Also had a fun road trip to NYC. But I digress---that photo and your Tourteau are STUNNING. STUNNING. Esp since in addition to goat cheese, I adore figs. Great combo !!!

Tammy said...

Your photos are beautiful and showcase your tourteau wonderfully. I love the creativity of using added herbs and topping with figs. My husband stopped by the store for me and brought home "garlic and herbs" goat cheese ... I wonder what it would've ended up tasting like if I had actually used it. I might have to experiment!

Kris' Kitchen said...

I wish I had read your post BEFORE I made my tourteau...you have such great ideas for this recipe...and I laughed and laughed when I read your write-up...I've been a not liking goat cheese person...this was a hard recipe for me to make...felt like I was wasting $$, but it is good, but I'll bet yours is much better!!! Great job.

Quay Po Cooks said...

Figs are gorgeous thing and so is your cake. Put both together you get goddess gorgeous just like the baker herself.

chefpandita.com said...

Your tourteau looks AMAZING! Love the shoes and the apron :)

Diethood.com said...

WOW! That tourteau looks gorgeous!I love love love your creativity... and your heels! :)

Candy Girl said...

Oh my! Your tourteau is incredibly beautiful and totally gourmet!

Cakelaw said...

Your figs with the torteau are gorgeous! I can almost smell the wonderful aroma from here.

Foodiva said...

Doristas, thanks a bunch for your very kind words. I too loved to look around at everyone's tourteau creations and I can truthfully say, they all look ah-mazing! I feel like I should've made the larger version instead ;-).

Kudos Kitchen said...

Wow, wow, wow is all I can say!

Denise said...

What an interesting and entertaining post! My goat cheese was very mild? Figs, honey and thyme sound like an amazing pairing. Nicely done. I should have thought to use my four, 4" springforms, but wanted a larger version for the party.

the [sugar] apothecary said...

You never cease to amaze me. I love goat cheese, and I REALLY love figs... and I love that you use black sesame powder regularly. Gorgeous photos!

Spicie Foodie said...

Oh Maya, I'm sorry your first experience with goat cheese was so horrible. It's too bad you didn't fall in love with it, but at least you tried it again. Your tourteau made my mouth water just laying eyes on it. After reading your post and ingredients, I WANT IT!! All of your little twists sound so great. I love goat cheese, I love all stinky cheeses, and I hate that food becomes fashionable or passé. The quotes you found are really funny :) I love both your apron and your killer heels, looking good!

Foodiva said...

Nancy, I love many stinky cheeses too, but chevre just has that goat smell still, you know. Maybe I need to get hold of a mild version to really fall in love with it! LOL. Thanks for dropping by, I always love reading your comments!

sanyaliving.com said...

Love the cake!
Totally love the heels!
I have a friend who believes that no matter what you are doing around the house you should always look your best and feel fabulous! She's a breath of fresh air and so are you!!

acookingmizer said...

Wow, you really took this in a different direction! How intruiging the many different changes you made! And how cute your mini tourteau looks!
I just got caught up on this one today!
http://acookingmizer.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/tourteau-de-chevre/

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