11 August 2008

This summer has been busier than normal with all the wedding planning. However, as part of the festivities, my girlfriends got together to organise a surprise hen-weekend (bachelorette) & to my delight, they booked an afternoon cooking course at Scook, the new cooking school of Anne Sophie Pic – 4th generation head chef of the French 3 star Micheline restaurant, Maison Pic.

The course was well planned, orchestrated and adapted to our large group, which included people with different levels of cooking experience. In a modern, luminous kitchen, each student was given an apron, copy of the recipes to be cooked and access to fresh seasonal ingredients. We then worked through the dishes step by step, with the added chef’s perks of being able to eat what we made. This hands on approach, with direct interaction with the chef, left you feeling confident, with a broader knowledge of the culinary arts.

Out of the things we learned that day, there was one idea that I felt would make an excellent base for other dishes. This was the unpuffed puff pastry rounds – a contradictory idea I know, but ever so good. Thus I have borrowed this idea to build the dish above – a sumptuous tower of soft grilled aubergines (eggplant), caramelised tomatoes and fresh goats cheese, with a hint of black olive tapenade & rosemary.



Recipe for 4 people

  • 1/2 a role of puff pastry
  • 1 fresh goats cheese
  • 4 small sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon black olive tapenade

For the tomatoes:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 thick tomato slices (each 1cm)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

For the aubergines:

  • 8 thick round aubergine (eggplant) slices (each 1cm thick)
  • salt for sprinkling

NOTE: to make this recipe aesthetically pleasing, choose three tomatoes & one aubergine of approximately the same diameter – your vegetable towers will appear more even.

  1. First prepare the pastry rounds: Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Removed pastry from the fridge 5 minutes before using. With a glass or circular cutter, approx. 1cm LARGER in diameter than your tomatoes (ie tomatoes 5 cm diameter, use cutter 6cm diameter, to produce a nice tart boarder) cut out 4 pastry circles and place on the baking sheet.
  2. Place a 2nd piece of baking paper on top of the pastry rounds and then a 2nd baking sheet.
  3. Cook pastry at 180°C (convection heat) for 10 minutes or until golden on both sides
  4. Now for the tomatoes: Cut into 1cm thick rounds. Use 1 tbls olive oil to grease the centre of a small baking tray, place the tomatoes on top,  sprinkle with 1 tbls olive oil, then oregano, salt and pepper.
  5. Cook tomatoes for 10 minutes at 180°C , then 20 minutes at 150°C (convection heat) until all the water has evaporated and the tomatoes are caramelised.
  6. Now for the aubergines: Starting from the thick end, cut 1cm thick rounds & set on a plate. Sprinkle with salt. Wait 5 minutes and then blot water with paper towel. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Heat a large frying pan (medium/high heat) with 3 tbls olive oil – making sure the surface of the pan is evenly covered. Cook the aubergines on one side until soft & golden brown, then repeat with 3 tbls olive oil on the other.
  8. Place on sheets of paper-towel to remove oil.
  9. Cut the goats cheese into 4 even rounds & set aside.
  10. Preheat your grill to 190°C with the wrack not too close to the top of the oven.
  11. Creating the towers: On a new lined baking sheet place the 4 flat pastry rounds. For each pastry round, spread a thin circle of olive tapenade in the centre, then add 1 of the largest aubergine slices, followed by 1 of the largest tomato slices. Repeat in decreasing slice size. Finish with a slice of goats cheese, sprinkled with olive oil, pepper, and topped with a sprig of rosemary.
  12. Place the towers in the oven to grill for 2 minutes.


  1. hello brilliant one ~ yet another incredible dish to try from your creative genius.

  2. Marjorie Says:

    How wonderful to participate in a cooking course at Anne Sophie Pic’s cooking school AND to share a special celebration with your girlfriends.
    It was lovely to make this dish with you here in France as well and enjoy the wonderful combination of flavours. I especially like how the tomatoes are done. Your photo makes it look intriguing – great color combination. M x

  3. Lucy Crudgington Says:

    Wow this looks wonderful! I am going to print it out and make it for my mum and sister in law when they next come over to dicuss wedding&things next Tuesday! x L

  4. LUCY : so nice of you to leave a note 🙂 Do let me know how it turns out. If you have an OIL SPRAY it is particularly helpful in keeping the aubergines moist while cooking. Hope all is going well with the wedding planning. xxx

    MARJORIE: some of my best work is done in your kitchen !!! We will have to organise to do a cooking course together there soon.

    STUDIO WELLSPRING: hiya, hope you and the ‘bun in the oven’ are doing well. The flavours of this dish work so well together, hope you enjoy it.

  5. charlotte s Says:

    that looks gorgeous! i’ll definitely try it as an appetizer for my next dinner party! thanks 🙂

  6. Hi! This looks delicious. You’re making me hungry! Reason I’m writing: I’m on a 13-week backpacking trip through Europe, and I left Switzerland about a week ago, and am still pining for the Bernese Butterzopf/Tresse au beurre bread!
    During an internet search, I came across your blog because you wrote the following at one point ‘So far I have my mother-in-law’s recipe for ‘tresse au beurre’ (like a braided/platted brioche bread) under my belt.’
    Is that a recipe you can share? THANK YOU!!! VW

  7. CHARLOTTE: thanks for your note, I think people eat with there eyes as much as with their stomachs, so presentation is important! I just checked out the website for Jerusalem Baskets, do you work with them? The challot bread looks wonderful. When you try the recipe please let me know how it turns out.

    ‘Wide Awake in Wonderland” : thanks for your note, sorry for the lateness of my response, but I just got married! It was wonderful, but all time consuming and then we were off on our honeymoon. I am now back and ready to cook 🙂 The recipe is my mother in laws, and I am planning on posting this very shortly – I make a variation on her traditional recipe with the addition of brown sugar and ground cloves.
    Will try to post this soon for you. Please keep in touch, I am off to look at your blog.

  8. Hi Sweet Pea…CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    Wow! That’s wonderful! A wedding and honeymoon pales in comparison to a request for a Bernese butter bread recipe! Enjoy the new marriage, and post again when you’re darn good and ready. The world will wait…

    • Hi there,
      I just wanted to let you know that today I posted a recipe for the Swiss Butter Bread that you asked for. It is my mother in law’s traditional recipe and is divinely delicious. Hope the rest of your travels went well, when you have a minute please drop by to say hello.


  9. d Says:

    Hi Doll: We made the tomatoe aubergine summer tart. It turned out exactly like the photo and the tastes were outstanding. Just one bit of feedback – instead of frying the aubergines in olive oil, I used a trick that we picked up from making Moussaka. I find that spraying oil onto the aubergines works much better than putting oil in the pan as they absorb less oil and the taste is much lighter because of this. Hope this helps. Keep up the great work on the blog. D.

  10. hi d : thanks for your helpful suggestion re the OLIVE OIL SPRAY. This is a wonderful kitchen invention, one that every cook should invest in. Aubergines do act like a sponge and it is difficult to spread the olive oil so that it coats them evenly. The spray is a great help in this, and makes for a healthier dish as you use less oil.

  11. Marjorie Says:

    We had family and friends arrive for lunch in Provence last weekend and decided to treat them to this unbelievably easy and delicious recipe. We had the aubergines, tomatoes and pastry base sitting on the counter, ready to be assembled and several comments were “this looks like a cooking school”! We made everyone leave the kitchen, we assembled the tart and served it. Rave reviews as to the presentation on the plate and……then exclamations at the incredible taste. Everyone said they could be at a five star restaurant feasting on this dish. Sooooo gourmet!! We served it with a green salad and rose wine.

  12. Sophie Says:

    That course sounds like it was a lot of fun, and your tart looks beautiful. The photo is delicious! I would love to include your recipe in our pre-loaded Demy, the first and only digital recipe reader. Please email if you’re interested.

    To find out more about the Demy, you can visit this site:


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