This tomato tart delivers a fragrant, flavorful crust and a colorful and savory filling

  • This tomato tart makes a light lunch or brunch main course or a savory side to a roast chicken.

    This tomato tart makes a light lunch or brunch main course or a savory side to a roast chicken. Courtesy of Penny Kazmier

 
Updated 9/18/2019 11:11 AM

My garden is making its final push to produce vegetables, and many of us find ourselves freezing and canning the last of our summer harvest. Beets, beans, and squash are ready to be processed, but it is those colorful ornaments hanging from vines, aka tomatoes, that work so well in one of my new favorite recipes.

This tomato tart begins with a crust so good I have thought of rolling, cutting, and baking it to use as crackers. Flour and butter are combined in the work bowl of my food processor and pulsed to combine, but this is where the magic begins. Dijon mustard and thyme are added, along with a little water to help the crust come together, resulting in a deliciously savory crust so full of flavor it you can taste it even after the tart is filled.

 

I do have a trick when rolling out this crust; place the chilled dough between two sheets of plastic wrap before applying pressure with your rolling pin. Once the dough reaches your desired thickness, peel off the top layer of plastic wrap, place the bottom of our tart pan on top of the dough, and gently invert both. Now, allowing the dough to be supported by the bottom of the tart pan, gently lower the dough into the pan rim; remove plastic wrap and press dough into the sides, forming a lip, and trim as necessary; Easy.

To help ensure a crisp crust, pre-bake the crust filled with dried beans, or pie weights, during the first part of your baking. A tip I learned during my class with Gesine Prado is to crumple a piece of parchment and use it to line the pan before adding weights. Many recipes suggest using foil, which can often have sharp corners and may leave marks in your crust, or worse yet, cut through the raw dough. After being crumbled several times, parchment softens like paper, so it will not mark the dough. I keep my crumpled parchment in the same container as my pie weights, to use again and again.

Supporting ingredients for this delicious tart include multicolored bell peppers, onion, garlic, and spices that have been sautéed until they have softened and then spread atop grated fresh mozzarella cheese. Of course, you can use another type of cheese, but make sure when melted it doesn't contain too much oil or moisture. In a pinch, when I haven't had fresh mozzarella on hand, I have used the pizza variety and still been pleased with the results.

The stars of this masterpiece are, of course, fresh tomatoes. I have made this tart with tomatoes from my garden, but I have also used the store-bought variety too. As long as the tomatoes are ripe, and have flavor, you can't go wrong.

I think the tart looks nicest when I use different kinds of tomatoes. I can find red, yellow, orange, and often heirloom varieties frequently at my local grocery store. This time I even incorporated different types of cherry and grape tomatoes too. You need to cover the top of your tart but should feel free to use whatever tomatoes look and taste best to you.

The crowning glory to this tart is a drizzle of good olive oil along with a final sprinkle of spices, including salt and pepper as they help to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes. I like to add a second little drizzle of olive oil after it comes out of the oven. This tart is delicious warm, or at room temperature, and is substantial enough to serve as a main course or as a side dish. I have served this for brunch, lunch and dinner. I have also been known to eat it cold for breakfast, but please don't tell anyone. I think it is perfect at any time. Enjoy!

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