We’ve reached that time in the summer when heirloom tomatoes are beautiful and affordable and my herbs are growing like crazy on my terrace. I like to make do-ahead meals and when the temperatures are in the 80’s and 90’s vegetarian meals are especially welcome. The produce will never be better than it is right now.
I came across this recipe for a tart that with a few tweaks of my own is a perfect dish for a light summer supper or brunch. All it needs is a green salad and a crisp Chardonnay and you couldn’t ask for a more satisfying summer meal.
My recipe for the crust makes extra so you can throw together a quick galette for two later in the week.
Yield: One 11-inch tart plus enough extra dough for a 7 to 8-inch galette
For the crust
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus up to 1/4 cup more for dusting
1 cup grated cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan, Asiago or Pecorino Romano)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling
8 ounces whole milk ricotta
8 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
1 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago or Romano
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used 1 large lemon)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 large egg
Healthy pinch of red pepper flakes
1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt
About 1 pound of heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I also used some multi-colored grape tomatoes to fill in spaces and because I liked the look)
1 Tablespoon olive oil (I used a lemon-flavored EVOO but any will do)
1 Tablespoon honey or Agave
Flake sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling
Fresh basil and mint leaves for garnish
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, cheese and salt together. Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the food processor. Pulse at 1-second intervals until butter is the size of peas—should be about 10 quick pulses. Add the ice water and pulse again about 10 times until the mixture is crumbly but holds together when pinched. Lay a clean tea towel on a work surface. Dump the crumbly dough mixture into the center of the towel. Grab the four corners of the towel together and twist to create a beggar’s purse, pressing the dough into a round. Use your hands to pack and flatten the round. Transfer to plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour. Any unused dough can be frozen for a future use.
- When you are ready to bake, roll out the dough on a floured piece of parchment or a pastry cloth to about a 14-inch round. Brush off any excess flour and drape the dough over the rolling pin to transfer to the tart pan. Press the sides against the pan. In making this again, I would create a bit of a rolled over edge to my crust as I do for all my pies. [The original instructions said to use your rolling pin, run it across the top of the tart pan to trim any excess dough. I did this, which is what you see in the photo, but personally, I prefer a somewhat higher edge and will create one in future.] The excess dough can be frozen and used for a small galette. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour to reduce shrinkage.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. [The original recipe said to bake at 425 degrees F. but I found that to be too high for my oven and my crust is a little darker than my ideal.]
- Make the filling by combining all of the filling ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Set this aside until you are ready to use it.
- Using the tines of a fork, pierce the dough all over. Line the dough with foil and fill with baking weights or dried beans which can be stored when cool to use over and over. Bake until the dough is puffed and golden along the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue baking for about 10 minutes more. Remove the tart shell from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Do NOT turn off the oven.
- Pour the filling into the tart shell and smooth it with a spatula. Layer the tomatoes in a concentric circle (or any pattern you like) over the filling. Drizzle with the olive oil and the honey and sprinkle the tomatoes with the flake salt and cracked black pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are wilted and the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Allow the tart to cool completely. Garnish with fresh mint and basil leaves, then slice and serve.