A great way to use up all those end of season tomatoes.
Tarted Up Tomatoes
On a recent trip home my mother gifted me a glorious selection of tomatoes from her garden that called out for something special, and this worked perfectly. Similar tomato tarts have been making the rounds on Instagram over the past few weeks and I decided to hop on that bandwagon.
The pastry I made (pâte brisée) is typically used for sweet desserts so I wasn’t sure how this would turn out but with a dash of black pepper the end result was a flaky savoury-meets-sweet homage to the end of summer. I seriously had to fight the urge to eat the whole thing in one sitting…I’ve been known to do that. You could also just as easily use store-bought puff pastry for this for an even flakier tart, or go the route of pizza dough but there’s something delightfully unexpected about the combination of soft roasted tomatoes nestled in a bed of crisp golden pastry.
TIP: The dough could be enhanced even further with the addition of finely chopped or dried herbs. Once baked, this tart won’t keep for more than a day – left to stand too long the moisture in the tomatoes will cause the crust to lose its flakiness. Still tasty, but nobody wants a soggy bottom.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch of black pepper
- approximately ¾ cup ice water
This pâte brisée recipe is from one of my mom’s retro cookbooks from the 70’s – Everyday Cooking with Jacques Pépin – it’s a foolproof, standard French pastry dough perfect for pies, tarts, galettes and works well for both sweet and savoury incarnations.
- ½ recipe pate brisée
- 3 – 4 medium tomatoes
- 5 – 6 cherry tomatoes
- 5 – 6 fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Stir the flour, salt and pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix together very lightly so that the pieces of butter remain visible throughout the flour. The mixture should resemble coarse sand. Use a hand-held pastry blender if you’re comfortable making pastry by hand or pulse everything together in a food processor
- Add the ice water and mix quickly, just enough so the dough comes together – it will look a little dry at this point. It’s OK if you see small pieces of butter showing through the dough.
- Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough until it comes together to form a ball – about 1 – 2 minutes. Don’t over-mix or the dough will become tough.
- Cut the dough in half. Flatten and shape into a rectangle, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or pop it into the freezer for 20 – 30 minutes (be careful it doesn’t freeze solid)
Wrapped properly in plastic wrap and stored in a Ziploc bag, the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F, and line a rectangular cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Slice tomatoes into ¼-inch slices, and finely chop or tear the basil leaves – set aside
- Roll the pâte brisée into a rectangle large enough to fit the cookie sheet, about 1/8-inch thick.
- Transfer the dough to the parchment lined baking sheet
- Arrange the tomato slices on the pastry in one layer – this is supposed to be a rustic tart so don’t be too fussed about how they look. Just make sure the slices don’t overlap too much or they won’t cook evenly
- Top with the chopped basil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper
- Bake for 60 – 70 minutes until the pastry is a medium golden brown
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 – 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Serve immediately or let cool even further to room temperature.
This tart would be perfect for brunch or lunch, served with a side salad and a slice of cheese. And a glass of chardonnay.