In the mood for Tomato Tarts!

‘Tis the season…for tomatoes, that is.  So I can’t resist another post on ideas enjoying this season’s bounty. Tomato Tarts…beautiful and delicious.  Make all three and let me know which is your favorite.




Cherry Tomato Tart with Parmesan Crust 

Although the crust in this recipe is from scratch, it’s an easy one, I assure you.  Actually, it took longer to defrost the frozen puff pastry for the two recipes that follow, than it did to whip this one up in the food processor.  The tart shell is adapted from Tarts, by Sarah Banbery, and the filling is mine, inspired by my visit to the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market this week.
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5-6 slices provolone cheese
4 cups of cherry tomatoes, mixed colors and sizes, if possible
   large tomatoes cut in half and smaller ones left whole
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 10 inch loose-bottomed tart pan.  Set aside.
Place the flour, salt, butter, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the egg and ice water and pulse until dough starts to come together…just a few seconds.  You can add more water…just a teaspoon at a time, if necessary.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a round and roll it out to be about 13 inches.  Carefully lift the dough and place it in the tart pan, gently pressing to fit.  Roll the rolling pin over the pan to neaten the edges and trim the dough.  Place the piece of parchment paper into the tart pan and fill it with pie weights or dried beans.  Put the tart in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the tart shell for 15 minutes.  Remove the pie weights and the parchment paper and bake shell for another 10 minutes  until the edges are starting to brown and the base has dried out.
While shell is baking, toss the cherry tomatoes with the sugar, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
When the tart shell is ready, remove it from the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly to cover the base.  Place the provolone cheese slices in a single layer over the Parmesan.  Use a slotted spoon to fill the tart with the cherry tomatoes and return to the oven for about 15-20 minutes.  The tart is ready when the crust is golden brown, the cheeses are bubbling and the tomatoes are just barely starting to split their skins.  The tomatoes will not brown.  Let the tart cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.  Serves 6-8
note:  I served this with a drizzle of basil oil. (didn’t have it ready and was about to lose the light for the photos) Just throw about 1/3 cup of olive oil into the blender with a good handful of fresh basil leaves, a healthy pinch of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper and whiz it all together for a few seconds.  Season to taste and spoon a scant teaspoon or so over each serving of the tomato tart.

Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions, Olives and Capers

A tomato tart with no cheese…doesn’t need it…don’t be tempted.  The caramelized onions are so sweet and rich and the olive and capers provide the perfect salty bite.  Served with a lovely salad of arugula and herbs and, yes, more tomatoes!  This recipe is adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin.
For tart:
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 sheet frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
1 large egg yolk
3 medium tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt packed capers, soaked and drained
1/4 cup Nicoise olives, pitted, cut in half
For salad:
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, for juicing
1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup small basil leaves
1/4 cup 1/2-inc snipped chives
salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat a large saute pan over high heat.  Add the olive oil, onions, 2 teaspoons of the thyme,  1 teaspoon salt and some pepper.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring often.  Then turn the heat down to medium, add the butter and cook slowly, stirring often with a wooden spoon.  It will take at least another 15 minutes to caramelize the onions.  Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to help them cook evenly.  They should be a deep golden brown.  Set aside to cool completely before you make the tart.  (This can be done well in advance if you want)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the defrosted puff pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Use a paring knife to score a 1/4 inch thick border around the edge of the pastry.  Whisk together the egg yolk and one teaspoon water.  Brush the border with the egg wash.  Spread the caramelized onions evenly within the border.
Core the tomatoes and cut into 1/4 inch rounds.  Place the tomato slices, just touching, but not overlapping, on top of the caramelized onions.  Season the tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a sprinkle of pepper.
Arrange the capers and olives over the tomatoes and onions.  Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of thyme over the tart.
Just before serving, place the cherry tomatoes and diced shallot in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice and toss together.  Add the arugula and herbs and toss well.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve the salad with wedges of the tart.  Serves 6

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

From the clever folks at Cooks Illustrated, here is a brilliant tomato tart that will stay crispy enough to eat out of hand, as demonstrated below by my trusty hand model!  The process of assembling the crust may seem a bit tedious at first but it is really quite simple and the end result is spectacular.
All purpose flour for work surface
1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (defrosted in frig overnight)
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound Roma tomatoes (3-4 medium)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
ground black pepper
8 ounces low moisture whole milk mozzarella, shredded
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves
  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry and follow these steps to form one large sheet with a border.
1) Brush egg along short edge of one sheet of puff pastry and overlap with second sheet of dough by one inch and press to seal pieces together.
2)  With a rolling pin, smooth out seam.  Dough should measure about 18×9 inches.  Use a pizza wheel or knife (and a ruler) to trim edges straight.
3)  With a pizza wheel or knife, cut a 1-inch strip from the long side of the dough.  Then cut another 1-inch strip from that same side.
4)  Do the same thing on one short side.  Now you should have 1 large rectangle of dough, 2 long, 1-inch wide strips and 2 short, 1-inch wide strips.  Transfer the pieces of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with egg.
5)  Gently press long strips of dough onto each long edge of dough and brush with egg.  Gently press short strips of dough onto each short edge and brush with egg.
6)  With a pizza wheel or knife, trim the excess dough from the corners.
So now, hopefully, you have a long, rectangular, unbaked tart shell with doubled up edges.  Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the shell (inside of the borders) and then using a fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in the base of the shell. Bake 13-15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13-15 minutes longer.  Transfer to wire rack.  Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
While the shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer of paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Place second double layer of paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.  Combine garlic, oil, and pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool if made ahead) baked shell.  Shingle tomato slices on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row)  Brush tomatoes with garlic oil.  Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15-17 minutes.  Cool on wire rack 5 minutes,  sprinkle with basil and serve.  (6-8)

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