This tart of ripe cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil nestled in a creamy ricotta filling atop puff pastry is a showstopper - and tastes delicious too. I use a rectangular tart tin, but a round tin will work just as well. It may take more or less tomatoes. - TheRunawaySpoon
Make no mistake, this a "project" recipe. But if you have a helper or feel like embarking on some meditative kitchen tasks, it doesn't take long to core, seed and stuff the cherry tomatoes with mozzarella. And the tart comes out delicious -- flaky pastry, filled with a fluffy, herbed ricotta base and crowned with sweet roasted tomatoes bearing parcels of gooey fresh mozzarella. Plus you can reserve and strain the tomato juice to make the freshest Bloody Mary of your life. Notes: Puree a smaller "bunch" of basil leaves into the ricotta base if you don't want much of a green tinge, and feel free to crowd the tomatoes and stuff them chock full of mozzarella. - Kristen —The Editors
Wash the tomatoes and pat them dry. Using a small, sharp paring knife, gently cut out the core of each tomato, scraping the inside lightly to remove seeds. I find a sturdy ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon helps with this job. Be carefully not to cut through the flesh or squash the tomato. You want to create a little cavity for the mozzarella to fit in. Place each tomato cut side down on a few layers of paper towels to drain for 20 – 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to fit into a removable bottom 10 inch round or an 11 by 7 inch rectangular tin. Gently fit the pastry into the tin, using a small ball of pastry to press the dough into the corners and sides. Poke all over with the tines of fork
In a food processor (I like the mini one for this), pulse one bunch of basil leaves a few times until roughly chopped. Add the parmesan and pine nuts and pulse a few more times to chop the nuts. Add the ricotta and egg, a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt and process to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once. Using a small offset spatula (or the back of a big spoon), spread the filling in an even layer over the bottom of the pastry. Set aside.
Cut the mozzarella into small cubes to fit in the tomato cavities. Lightly press on cube of mozzarella into each tomato. If some seeds or juice squish out of the tomatoes, carefully wipe it away. Place the filled tomatoes in rows in the prepared tart, pressing lightly into the filling. Sprinkle pepper and salt lightly over the tomatoes.
Very gently brush the top of the tart with extra virgin olive oil and place in the oven. While the tart is baking, cut about 6 of the remaining basil leaves into a chiffonade (Stack the leaves up, roll them like a cigar, then cut very thin ribbons with a sharp knife or scissors). When the tart has been in the oven 15 minutes, remove it and sprinkle the basil over the top. Return to the oven and cook a further 15 – 20 minutes until the tomatoes are shriveled and the mozzarella is melted.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle additional basil chiffonade on top if desired.