Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato Basil Tart

I'd been wanting to make a savory tart for quite a while. I love fruit and dessert tarts, but I was anxious to try my hand at a savory tart like this one. Once I saw the ingredients--tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil--I knew it would be a hit. How could it not be?

I really liked this. I loved that the crust stayed buttery and crisp throughout, and it also gave me a great excuse to use more tomatoes and basil from my garden! The fresh ingredients really make this meal, so I encourage you to use the fresh stuff before you grab that bottle of dried basil. It made all the difference!



And look! Basil! In! The! Crust! I mean seriously. This is some sort of sin, I think....


The dough and the tart are easy to make, but they can be a little time consuming if you need a quick weeknight meal. If you can, I advise making the dough beforehand, so all you need to do is roll it  out and bake, instead of throwing this together all at once.

Tomato Basil Tart (With Basil & Garlic Crust)
Adapted from Annie's Eats

Dough:
1/3 c. fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 equal pieces
4-5 T. ice cold water

Filling:
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced (Pick up the stuff floating in water)
Ripe tomatoes
Salt & pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese
1-2 T. fresh basil, chiffonade

For the dough, combine the basil and garlic in the food processor. Pulse a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until basil & garlic are finely minced. Add flour and salt, and pulse twice to combine. Add the chilled butter and pulse about 10 times, until the butter is approximately pea-sized and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add 3 T. water and pulse a few times to mix together. Add 1 more T. water and process for about 5 seconds. If the dough forms a ball and comes together on its own, you can omit the 5th T. water. If not, the add the final T. water and process until a ball of dough forms. Remove dough, flatten into a 5 inch disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refridgerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Transfer chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over a 9-10 inch tart pan and press into the sides. Trim excess dough as needed and use dough pieces to reinforce the sides, bottom, edges...wherever you need to reinforce. Lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the tart and fill with baking beads or kidney beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove tart from oven, carefully remove the foil & beads/beans. Return shell to oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, allow tart shell to cool, and lower the heat to 375 F.

Layer the bottom of the tart shell with sliced mozzarella. Arrange tomato slices on top in as close to a single layer as possible. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil (approx. 1-2 T.) Top with grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Bake tart 30 minutes, until dough is golden brown and cheese is bubbling and lightly browned. Rotate tart 180 degrees halfway through baking. Allow tart to rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving, and wick off any excess moisture if necessary. Top with extra basil for garnish, and serve.

Notes:
  • I'm a huge fan of using my fresh herbs anytime I can, but I'm usually not a food snob when it comes to fresh vs. dried herbs. However, the fresh basil really makes a difference here, so use it if you can.
  • I used a 12 inch tart pan and wished I had made a little extra dough. Next time I'll make a double batch, just in case. However, the 12 inch tart was plenty for two of us.
  • Keep in mind that your tart shell will shrink with baking. Consider this a helpful FYI.
  • Using fresh mozzarella really helps make this dish, too. The shredded stuff in the bag is great, and I use it all the time, but it's loaded with preservatives and extra junk. The fresh cheese is easy to slice and just tastes better. For a meal that uses fresh herbs and fresh tomatoes, using fresh cheese makes it that much better.
  • The crust was my favorite part. It was thin and crispy throughout, and the addition of fresh basil and garlic was really great. It made us feel like we were eating something special.

2 comments:

  1. I think I will ahve to try this recipe. I have recipe on my blog too. Come over.

    ReplyDelete

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