Cooking On A Budget: Summer Tomato Tart

Monday, October 31, 2011

Summer Tomato Tart


Since our yield of fresh garden tomatoes was abundant this year, I needed to come up with a way other than canning to use the tomatoes. This is a recipe I created and I hope that you enjoy it. It takes a while to make but you will love the end result. The savory crust is buttery and flavorful and the filling is delicious! You could make this during the winter months as well by using the "vine" ripened tomatoes from your grocery store - however there is nothing that compares to the tomatoes straight from the garden!
You will need a 9" tart pan or you can use a 9" pie plate - whatever you have available. I have broken down the ingredients under each step.

There are some basic steps in making this:
  1. Making a savory pie dough and blind baking the crust before filling it.
  2. Making a filling mixture.
  3. Prepping the tomatoes.
  4. The topping is shredded Mozzarella cheese.
Start by prepping the tomatoes as this step probably takes the longest. Tomatoes have a natural amount of water in them and if you don't remove some of the water, your tart will come out overly runny.
  • 2 large tomatoes - sliced about 1/4 inch
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • dried oregano to taste (used later prior to baking)
Line a cookie sheet or sheet pan with some paper towels. Lightly sprinkle each of the tomato slices with salt and pepper (both sides) and place on the paper towel. Place another layer of paper towels on top. Eventually the tomatoes will begin to release some of their natural juices.

While that is happening, make the savory pie dough.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick butter - cut into pieces (The butter needs to be ice cold - you can even use butter you have in the freezer - the colder the better.)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tbsp. water - again, ice cold
  • 1 egg white (for sealing the unbaked dough)
In a food processor pulse the flour and the Parmesan cheese until blended.  Add in the butter chunks and pulse until the mixture is "pea" like. Add the ice cold water and pulse until the dough is moist and easily masses together. Transfer the mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap. Form a ball and then a round flat disc using the plastic wrap versus your hand. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, make the filling.

  • 2/3 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz. cream cheese - room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley - finely minced (substitute 1 tbsp if using dried parsley)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil - finely minced (substitute 1 tbsp if using dried basil)
  • 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

In a bowl mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Next, remove the rested pie dough from the refrigerator. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes and roll out a round disc larger than the tart pan or pie plate on a floured surface. Transfer the dough to the tart pan or pie plate, press the crust to the bottom and sides.  Prick the sides and the bottom with a fork, then brush the sides and bottom with the egg white. Refrigerate while your oven is preheating.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When the oven comes up to temperature place the pie tart on a baking sheet and bake thoroughly. This will take roughly 30-40 minutes. When finished allow the baked shell to cool completely before adding the filling.

When the shell is completely cooled, fill the bottom with the ricotta cheese filling. Next, remove the paper towel from the tomatoes and use fresh towels to pick up any excess juices. Sprinkle both sides of the tomatoes with some dried oregano. Cut each tomato slice in half and arrange on top of the cheese mixture, overlapping as necessary to fill.

Top it off with shredded Mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle some more of the dried oregano over the cheese and it is now ready to bake.
Bake the filled and topped tart at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.  The cheese should be completely melted - if you want the topping to be browned, bake longer or carefully use your broiler to achieve that result.

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