I came up with this recipe as a way to give the royal treatment to cherry tomatoes from our garden. For the crust, I adapted the dough from my Peach-Blueberry Pandowdy on this site. The step of smearing the dough (called fraissage) works wonders by creating a layered, extremely flaky, sturdy crust that holds up well to juicy tomatoes. This is sublime while still warm but nearly as good the next day, making it a great make-ahead option. —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
This is an amazing tomato tart. The extra few steps in the pastry are worth it! The recipe is a great and fun way to use up a lot of tomatoes. The pastry doesn’t taste cheesy, but the cheese definitely adds a savory note that complements the sweet tomatoes and creamy ricotta. I was looking for an excuse to make a tomato tart, and this was it!
The pastry was truly amazing! Super flaky, and the cheese and thyme made it savory, although not cheesy. The texture was somewhere between regular pie dough and a croissant. The next time I make it, I plan on adding a bit more thyme and a teaspoon of cracked pepper to the pastry.
I did blot the tomatoes dry before adding them to the tart and it was a good move. They weren’t dripping juice after salting, but I blotted up what was released. I think this helped the final product. —Lindsay
For the crust
unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
aged cheddar cheese, shredded
chopped fresh thyme leaves
For the filling
plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
large (or 2 small) Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A few large sprigs of fresh thyme
In This Recipe
FOR THE CRUST: In a food processor, pulse flours and salt to combine about 3 times. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture, then pulse until the butter is about the size of chickpeas, about 8 short pulses. Add the cheese and thyme, and pulse once or twice to evenly integrate. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over mixture and pulse a few times, then repeat with 1 tablespoon of water at a time, or just until small curds start to form and dough holds together when pinched with fingers. It’ll look kind of crumbly but that's okay. (Alternatively, you can do this by hand.)
Empty dough onto clean counter or piece of wax paper. Using bench scraper, gather dough into a rough rectangular mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Starting from the farthest end, use the heel of your hand to smear about one sixth of dough against your work surface away from you. Repeat until all of your dough has been smeared. Using bench scraper, gather the dough again into a 12-inch long and 4-inch wide mound and repeat smearing of dough with heel of hand. The dough should be smooth and cohesive at this point; if not, repeat smearing process again. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm about 1 hour, or up to 3 days. The smearing process creates long layers of butter in the dough, which translates to long flaky layers in the cooked crust.
Heat the oven to 400° F while preparing filling and assembling galette.
FOR THE FILLING: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, stirring to coat them evenly in the oil. Once the onions have started to color, lower the heat, stir in a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are a golden, amber color—about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Meanwhile, on a large plate or cutting board, sprinkle the cherry tomatoes with salt; let them sit while preparing the dough to draw the juices out.
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 12-inch round, dusting with flour as needed. (Don’t worry if your dough isn’t perfectly round.) Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the caramelized onions over the dough, leaving a 2 1/2-inch border around the edges, then top with the ricotta cheese mixture, spreading it evenly over the onions, then the cherry tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pleating it in several places to hold in the filling. Lay a few sprigs of thyme over the tomatoes. (If your dough is getting too warm at any point and is difficult to manage, return it to the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes, then proceed.)
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until many tomatoes are bursting and the crust is golden. Cool for at least 20 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.