Make Ahead

Corn, Goat Cheese, Basil, and Lemon Tart with Basil and Lemon Oil

July  8, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4 as a side dish
Author Notes

This tart features basil but isn't overpowered by it. It's quite delicate in texture and very rich in flavor. I really love the combination of corn, goat cheese, and basil. The basil/lemon oil adds a bit of extra flavor at the end but it is not necessary. I used a 9" tart pan. To save time, you could make this with store-bought tart dough or puff pastry. (For a variation, add chopped preserved lemon to the goat cheese mixture.) - dashandbella —Phyllis Grant

Test Kitchen Notes

From the picture, this tart looked to have the texture of the quiche; however, when I looked at the recipe and saw only 1 egg yolk and 4 tablespoons of cream, I knew that quiche, this was not. Mixing the raw ingredients together, they seemed very dense, and I was worried -- but I needn't have been. The goat cheese in the tart fluffs up in the oven, a hot pillow with folds of fresh corn, basil, and plenty of punchy lemon. The basil-lemon oil on top is a nice touch, but not altogether necessary. This tart is great on its own. I could see mixing some of the goat cheese mixture into eggs, or even folding some into souffle; it's a versatile combination that's perfect for the season. —Rivka

What You'll Need
  • Tart Dough
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 sick), cold and cut into approx. 1 inch square pieces
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water
  • For the Tart
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 10 ounces creamy fresh goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • for the basil/lemon oil:
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup mild olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Using a food processor, mix together flour and salt.
  2. Add half of the butter cubes. Pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add 2nd half of butter and pulse only a few times until chunks are the size of peas.
  3. Pour in 4 tablespoons of the ice water. Pulse 2-3 times. You want the dough to be slightly moist with some dry flour still visible. You can test it by pressing it together between your fingers. It should just come together. Press into a disc in saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  5. Roll the dough out and place in desired tart pan. Blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Set aside.
  6. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine egg yolk, cream, basil, goat cheese, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper. Beat until smooth.
  7. By hand, fold in the corn kernels so as not to crush them.
  8. Spread corn and goat cheese mixture evenly into the partially baked tart shell.
  9. Sprinkle parmesan evenly over the top. Sprinkle on the pine nuts about 10 minutes into the cooking time so that they don't get too brown.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes until puffed and golden.
  11. While the tart cooks, bring the oil to just under a boil. Turn off heat. Carefully stir in basil leaves and lemon juice. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Blend in a blender or food processor. Strain. Set aside.
  12. Serve the tart room temperature or slightly warm. Drizzle a bit of basil/lemon oil over the tart before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • jelyapt
  • lksugarman
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
  • theicp
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

15 Reviews

Anjali S. August 7, 2015
Can I make this in galette form?
Phyllis G. August 7, 2015
i don't see why not. just make sure your goat cheese filling isn't runny (it might ooze out a bit). you want it to be spreadable. you can always add a bit more goat cheese.
Anjali S. August 7, 2015
Great. Thank you for the quick response.
rubberduckling August 30, 2012
This was so gooooood!
jelyapt August 16, 2011
Loved the flavor of this amazing recipe, but the texture was too crumbly. Not sure if it was the type of goat cheese I used. I would make it again as is, but I feel like the texture could be improved upon. Any recommendations for making it smoother?
Phyllis G. August 17, 2011
yes. the texture is similar to an italian cheesecake. it's not creamy. it's crumbly for sure. if you like, try adding a bit more cream. add the lemon zest but leave out the lemon juice. i think the acid makes the cheese split. i find this texture appealing (because it reminds me of italian cheesecake) but it should be much creamier this way. i'll try it that way too and let you know. if you try it, let me know. thanks for your feedback!
lksugarman August 14, 2011
Just wondering if you think could work w/o a crust? If so, how would you manage that? Thx!
Phyllis G. August 14, 2011
lksugarman: yes. i think it would work without a crust. just make sure to butter your dish very well. i worry that it might stick. let me know how it works!
jameny August 9, 2010
Made it this weekend and it was *wonderful*. Especially loved the lemon. Thanks!
Phyllis G. August 3, 2010
that's a great question. the corn goes into the mixture raw. that way it won't overcook. let me know how it tastes if you make it.
jameny August 3, 2010
Perhaps this is a silly question, but should the corn be cooked beforehand or added in raw?
Phyllis G. July 22, 2010
So cool that this is an editors' pick. Rivka, I love how you described the cooked tart as a "hot pillow." Perfect description. I'm going to do a post about this on my blog sometime in the next few weeks. I'll send over the link when it's done. Thanks for all the encouragement!
lleichter July 17, 2010
I made this for dinner on Sunday and three of us ate the entire thing. It was FANTASTIC. I had never made a pie/tart crust before and so was especially pleased that this one is so easy and so delicious. Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this recipe. Throughout dinner the three of us kept saying (with mouths full) "damn, this is good."
theicp July 13, 2010
This looks gorgeous!
Phyllis G. July 10, 2010
whoops. not sure how the corn kernels jumped down into the basil/lemon oil section. the corn belongs in the list right above 4 tablespoons of parmesan. definitely wouldn't want those corn kernels in the basil/lemon oil! just tried to fix it but i guess time is up. so much fun though. just made this tart again tonight for my family. it reminds me of a savory southern italian ricotta cheescake. it tasted great with a hearts of romaine salad with avocado and anchovy dressing. thanks, phyllis (dashandbella)