Make Ahead

Summer Heirloom Tomato Tart with Herb Crust

July 27, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Makes 1 medium - large tart, or several smaller tarts
Author Notes

Fresh tomatoes are one of the delights of summer, and the heirloom tomatoes now available offer us so much more variety in their flavors, colors, and textures. For this tart, I like best to use red, black, or chocolate tomato varieties, which have deep and sweet flavor. For green, lemon, or orange heirlooms, which are bright and tart in flavor, I'd skip the cheese filling, and just spread the bottom of the crust with softened butter instead (creating a sort of " 'mater biscuit"). Already there are several tart recipes posted, here's mine. Herbs flavor the crust, and I like to keep the cheese and filling mild, so that you can really taste the flavor of the tomatoes. —SallyCan

What You'll Need
  • For the crust
  • 1 teaspoon each minced fresh chives, oregano, parsley and thyme
  • 2 teaspoons minced basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter or lard, or a mix of the two
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water, about
  • For the Tomato Tart
  • 4 - 5 pounds fresh summer tomatoes~ go for sweet varieties such as Japanese Black, Russian Black Plum, any red or chocolate variety, sliced in ¼ inch slices; currant, cherry or grape tomatoes can be cut or left whole
  • 1 cup minced shallots
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, whole if a small leaf variety, or torn into small pieces if large leaf.
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  1. For the crust
  2. Mix together herbs, salt, and flours.
  3. Cut in oil and butter orlard until it is coarse crumbles.
  4. With a fork, mix in just enough ice water, mixing just until it comes together.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper.
  7. Gently press into a tart pan, round or oblong, or make a freeform crust on a baking pan, crimping the edges up about 1/2 inch on the edges.
  8. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour. Preheat oven to 375.
  9. Prebake tart shell. Lightly cover top of shell with foil, fill with dried beans or rice, and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove foil with rice/beans, prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork, and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Remove and let cool on a rack.
  1. For the Tomato Tart
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and add shallots and garlic. Cook on low until they are soft and brown, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Process cottage cheese, salt, chives, and cream in food processor until very smooth.*
  4. Spread cheese mixture evenly on bottom of prepared tart shell. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon basil leaves.
  5. Arrange tomato slices on cheese and herbs, overlapping slightly.
  6. Dot with cooked shallot/garlic mixture, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper the tart.
  7. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes for small or medium tarts, or 15-25 minutes for a large tart, until crust is browned and cheese has puffed. Tomatoes should be soft, but not too cooked.
  8. Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle remaining basil leaves on top.
  9. * This is also a nice sauce for pasta, tossed with summer tomato chunks and fresh basil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • fraîchement
  • AntoniaJames
  • healthierkitchen
  • pauljoseph
  • lapadia

16 Reviews

fraîchement July 29, 2010
Wow, this looks utterly delicious. That crust looks excellent. Well done!
SallyCan July 29, 2010
Thank you. Pleast try it, and tell me what you think.
AntoniaJames July 28, 2010
Ooooh, la la! Sally, this is gorgeous!! I've been away, not able to check the recipes (or anything else online) regularly, so I'm just catching up. This looks so delicious. Your recipe is very well written, too. Love it!! XOXO ;o)
SallyCan July 29, 2010
Thanks! Do try it.The small tomatoes are a currant tomato, one that reseeds well. The tomatoes are very tiny, and extremely flavorful, and the plant vines out everywhere with these beautiful clusters of fruit ; )
healthierkitchen July 28, 2010
this looks beautiful!
SallyCan July 29, 2010
Thanks! The long tart pan I used for it has turned out to be one of my favorite kitchen items~nice for an onion or a plum tart, too.
pauljoseph July 28, 2010
excellent recipe
SallyCan July 29, 2010
Thanks! Now I'm wondering how we could put an Indian spin on it...switch out the cottage cheese for paneer...but what spices in the crust and in the cheese? Maybe some onion seed and/or cumin in the crust? Maybe add some chickpeas with the tomatoes...what spices would you do?
pauljoseph July 30, 2010
Sally try my GARAM MASALA
why no reply for my mail?
SallyCan July 30, 2010
Your Garam Masala sounds great, I will try it. Thanks for the reply, though I didn't see your e-mail~ I changed the spam settings, so please try again. I'll be away for a few days, so I'll check in when I get back ; )
lapadia July 28, 2010
Looks and sounds great!
SallyCan July 28, 2010
Thanks~I hope you try it : )
Sagegreen July 28, 2010
I only mix by hand...but at long last a stand mixer is en route. I have always wanted one! Thanks for your tips.
SallyCan July 28, 2010
I've been using my stand mixer for yeast doughs, which works well, but not for pie crusts. Enjoy your mixer when it arrives!
Sagegreen July 28, 2010
I love your presentation. This looks wonderful. I also appreciate the way you are combining pastry flour with regular flour. That seems to be a great solution. I debate with myself over using one or the other when I make my tarts, so of course this would be ideal.
SallyCan July 28, 2010
Thanks~do try it! Have you had problems using pastry flour or regular flour for tarts? I've found that when I use all whole wheat pastry flour, pie crusts can be a little dense and strong in flavor, so mixing it with regular flour lightenes it up. I do like a whole wheat pastry flour crust with a chocolate pie, but sometimes I just want the crust to support the filling. So often the crust is a secondary player. I'm also an advocate of mixing by hand...