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Delectable Heirloom Tomato Tart

I swear I look forward to Summer all year so I can make this wonderful tomato tart! What a treat. This is my husband’s favorite out of all the things that I have made!

Heirlooms!

Firstly, you need to start with incredible heirloom tomatoes. What makes it an heirloom? It’s not a mass produced hybrid tomato that turns out tasteless and very uninteresting. Most “regular” supermarket tomatoes are semi-artificially ripened with ethylene gas. Ew. No thanks. I prefer my tomatoes vine ripened. I’ll post on what to do with the measly ethylene ripened tomatoes later on. They can serve a purpose, but this tart is certainly not it! So, stomach the $4.99 per pound price for heirlooms and you will thank yourself later.

Sliced maters

Slice your tomatoes pretty thin, but not so thin that they fall apart. Place them in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with a little salt. This is going to help draw out some of the tomato juice so our tart doesn’t end up a soppy mess. Now we need to make our pastry.

pastry ingredients

In a good sized bowl add:

1 cup of flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Also add about 3/4 cup of any finely grated hard cheese. Manchego or pecorino work well.

Mmmmm butter!

Give these dry ingredients a quick stir and then throw in 1 stick of cold butter, cut into chunks. Using a pastry blender (in pic above) or your fingers if you wanna get messy…break up and blend the dry ingredients with the butter until it looks like fine crumbs.

crumbly

Now add some ice water…yes literally water with ice cubes in it to make it super cold….a couple tablespoons at a time. The trick here is to add enough water to make the dough press together but not too much. So….

When your dough looks about like this go ahead and try pressing it down.

It presses! Yay! Now we are ready to wrap this in plastic!

Dump the pastry onto two sheets of plastic wrap stacked on top of each other in the form of a cross. It looks clumpy.

Press the dough together

And go ahead and form it into a thin rectangle. Finish wrapping it up tight and place in the fridge.

vidalia

Now chop up one vidalia onion if you can get your hands on one. If not, just use a sweet onion. Throw it in your cast iron skillet with some unsalted butter and season with some fresh cracked pepper. We want these to caramelize.

Don’t these look amazing! The trick is to let them sit for a few minutes between stirs.

Just for good measure…once your onions look all nice and caramelly…put a dash of Marsala wine in the pan to deglaze it. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Our pastry is chilling in the refrigerator and our onions are cooling. Go ahead and gently swirl and shake the colander of tomatoes in the sink to drain some juice.

Now we need to make the tart filling. A lot of recipes call for mayonnaise…I just use a little and use plain Greek yogurt for the rest.

In a bowl combine (approximately):

1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh grated mozzarella (save a little for garnish)
1/2 cup of grated hard cheese (save a little for garnish)
1/4 cup of panko or bread crumbs
dash of salt (just a small dash…the mayo and cheese is salty)
fresh cracked pepper (I like to use a coarser setting for this)

The mixture will look something like this!

Fresh herbs!

Now it’s time to chop up some fresh herbs. Basil, parsley, and chives work really well in this.

Set aside your fresh herbs and keep them in separate bowls for now. Preheat oven to 400°.

Next, prepare the pan you are going to use. A regular pie pan works great! But I am going to use this awesome French tart pan my stepfather-in-law found for me at a yard sale. I haven’t had the chance to use it yet and I’m so excited! It’s really going to make this tart look extra elegant.

This is going to be so handy for removing the entire tart from the pan because the bottom pushes out!

Sprayed and floured pan

Spray and flour your pan or pie dish.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and open up the plastic. Now this pastry has a lot of butter in it and we need to transfer it once we roll it out thin….so I found it to be easier to just roll it out in the plastic wrap. Flour the top and the rolling pin.

Once you get the pastry rolled out into a rough rectangle about 1/4 thick you’re ready to transfer this to the prepared pan. Dust the top with flour and gently fold the pastry over with the plastic wrap.

Peel back one half of the plastic and place dough on the pan then remove the rest of the plastic and discard.

You see there is a crack down the middle? Don’t fret. Just press it back together as you form the pastry to the pan.

Working gently begin to press the pastry into the pan.

Looking good!

Now it’s ready to go in the oven…but first grab a fork and poke holes in the bottom of the pastry all over! Bake at 400° for around 10 minutes. Just check the pastry a couple times to make sure it isn’t cooking too much. The goal here is to cook it enough and very lightly brown it.

Now take your yogurt cheese filling mixture and add the cooled onions and the herbs. Be sure to reserve a little of each of the fresh chopped herbs for the top of the tart. I like to use mostly chives on top.

Remove the pastry from the oven and allow to cool slightly. See how the edges have browned a little? Turn the oven down to 375°.

Spread the onion mixture onto the bottom of the pastry.

Voila!

Next I added some crumbles of goat cheese to the top of the onion cheese mixture. I love goat cheese and will think of any excuse to add it to a dish, but this step is entirely optional.

Press the goat cheese down with your spatula or your hand.

Now it’s time to layer the tomatoes. So, line a plate with paper towels and carefully remove the tomatoes from the colander. I sort of “sort” these as I’m removing them to separate the “ugly” ones from the “pretty” ones. We will layer the ugly ones on the bottom.

Arrange another layer of tomatoes and alternate colors, etc.

Sprinkle with some cheese…

Sprinkle the top of the tomatoes with a little mozzarella and the hard cheese. Not a ton, just for looks more than anything. We don’t want to cover up the gorgeous tomatoes! Crack some pepper over the top as well.

Sprinkle with the reserved herbs…

Yuuuum!

Brush the edge of the crust with egg wash and it’s ready for the oven! Bake at 375° for about 50 minutes. But be sure to check it at 30 minutes and then every 5 to 10 minutes after that. You want the filling cooked through and the tomatoes browned a little.

Wow! Look at that tart pan full of yumminess!

Allow the tart to cool slightly and the gently push the bottom of the tart up and slide the tart onto a cutting board or flat platter. Gently slice into generous portions and serve!

Look at those elegant ridges!

Yes please!

This heirloom tomato tart is so delicious be sure to make more than one if you have a large group! Guests will want seconds!

Enjoy!

Note: Experiment with different heirloom varieties. There are all colors and sizes! You can even try some tiny ‘looms whole mixed in with larger slices.

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

3 large heirloom tomatoes (or more smaller tomatoes)
Pastry:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon sea salt (plus more for tomatoes & filling)
1 stick cold butter
3/4 cup hard grated cheese
1/2 cup ice water
1 egg (egg wash)
Filling:
1 large vidalia onion
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh grated mozzarella (save a little for garnish)
1/2 cup of grated hard cheese (save a little for garnish)
goat cheese (optional)
1/4 cup of panko or bread crumbs
fresh cracked pepper
chopped basil, parsley, and chives

Thinly slice tomatoes, if you are mixing in tiny tomatoes try using them whole. Place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Add flour, cornmeal, and sea salt to a bowl and mix. Add hard grated cheese. Add cold butter, cut into chunks, and use a pastry blender or your fingers to break up into small chunks until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Next, mix in ice cold water a few tablespoons at a time until you can press the dough down. Dump onto two sheets of plastic wrap criss crossed on top of each other. Form pastry into a rectangle and press firmly together and wrap in plastic. Place in the fridge to chill. Preheat oven to 400º.

Chop up onion and cook in cast iron pan with melted butter or olive oil on medium high heat. Add some fresh cracked pepper. Once the onion is a nice golden color and has begun to soften and caramelize, add a few dashes of marsala wine to deglaze the pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl combine mayo, yogurt, mozzarella, hard cheese, bread crumbs, and pepper.

Prepare tart or pie pan by spraying with cooking spray and dusting with flour. Give tomatoes in the colander a little swirl and shake to drain off some liquid.

Remove chilled pastry from the fridge and roll out in the shape of a rectangle on top of plastic wrap. About 1/4 thick is perfect. Dust the top with flour and gently fold in half to transfer to the prepared pan. Working carefully, form the crust to the pan and press together any cracks. Trim the top off or, if you are using a pie plate, pinch the edges into a pretty design. Poke holes in the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Bake at 400º for about 10 minutes or until crust is mostly cooked and edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 375º.

Chop herbs and be sure to reserve a little of each. Add to the yogurt mixture. Add cooled onions and stir. Spread into the bottom of the pastry lined pan.

Line a plate with paper towels and gently remove tomatoes from colander. Sort broken ones from pretty slices. Arrange the first layer of tomatoes on top of the onion mixture. Use “ugly” or broken ones on this layer. Next, arrange a second layer and alternate colors and sizes for visual appeal.

Sprinkle with coarse cracked pepper and a little cheese and herbs for presentation. Brush edges of pastry with egg wash.

Bake at 375º for about 50 minutes. Begin checking the tart at 30 minutes and every 5 to 10 minutes after that. The tart should be cooked through and the tomatoes and cheeses browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for just a few minutes. If using a tart pan, carefully remove the tart by pushing the bottom up and transfer to a flat platter or cutting board. Slice and serve!

Enjoy!