If you are extremely lucky when you are making this tomato tart, you’ll have free run of your mother-in-law’s tomato jungle. Maybe she’ll even forage for the best beefsteak tomato for you.
I suppose if you are luckier, you will have your own tomato jungle. But I don’t know how you could be luckier than having a mother-in-law like Pat. Unless you’re Sam and you have a mother-in-law like Diane. Sam and I both won the lottery on mother-in-laws!
I first created this tomato tart when my Becca was here visiting last month with her boyfriend/SO. We threw a barbeque for them, and in addition to my normal potato salad, baked beans, and veggie tray go-to’s, I thought this up.
Two days ago, we brought a surprise dinner 3 1/2 hours across the mountains to surprise my mother-in-law for her birthday on Thursday :) It was fun! Totally my hubby’s idea and I’m so glad we did it. Friday we had leftovers and this Fresh Tomato Tart.
I wanted to make my creation for her with her amazing tomatoes which are in full production right now. Eastern WA rocks for tomatoes and she’s an incredible gardener. I knew there would be lots of perfectly ripe tomatoes to choose from and I was right.
If you have a good place to grow your own basil, I hope you are doing so! I rely on my Trader Joe’s store to supply me with basil plants all summer if mine don’t do well. Our western Washington weather is unreliable for basil, cilantro, and those herbs. At least for me. But these basil leaves were fresh-picked off my plants that we’ve had growing for weeks now. I love fresh basil on tomatoes! When I have both pesto AND fresh basil I am very happy :)
Five of us managed to eat about 3/4 of this tart. I think it turned out better than the first time I made it, but that time I had a yellow tomato, an orange tomato, and a basket of crazy-looking varieties of tiny tomatoes to use. So it looked pretty cool then, but these tomatoes tasted SO much better!
I did find 4 lonely tiny tomatoes in Pat’s refrigerator I halved to include on this tart. Little yellow pear tomatoes are a particular favorite of mine. Isn’t it cute?
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 1 cup ricotta, part-skim milk or whole milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced finely (use a garlic press)
- 1 scant tsp. dried basil or scant 1 Tbsp. fresh, chopped fine
- 1/2 tsp herb and garlic seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash
- 1 - 2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, optional
- OR 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. pesto (or more to taste)
- halved cherry-sized tomatoes and sliced tomatoes to cover the surface of the tart: the more variety, the better. This is the place to splurge on heirloom and unusual tomatoes! (One beefsteak, 1-2 Romas, and a handful of cherry/grape style tomatoes is more than adequate)
- Basil leaves to garnish: cut in chiffonade and/or whole mini individual leaves
- Also, fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil can be used on top (not shown.)
- Stir filling ingredients together and let stand while preparing the crust.
- Prepare and bake one sheet of puff pastry according to package directions* on a large baking sheet lined with parchment. Be sure to prick the central area with a fork before baking.
- *Remove from oven 5 minutes before it is done.
- Spread with prepared filling to within 1/2" or so of the edge. Return to oven for 10 minutes at 400F.
- Let cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Top with sliced tomatoes, puzzle-piecing whole slices together to cover the filling well.
- Scatter small dollops of pesto around randomly. Sprinkle with basil leaves if using. Use fresh ground pepper and/or olive oil drizzled lightly if desired.
- Cut into 9, 12, or 16 pieces with a large sharp knife.
- 1 1/2 sheets of puff pastry and 1 1/2 times the filling and toppings work well for using a half-sheet baking pan.
- Serve extra pesto, pepper, and olive oil alongside if desired, as not all pieces will have an equal share of toppings.
- For best appearance plus ease of serving, the crust/filling can be cut before topping with tomatoes, etc.
- Will be soggy if kept as leftovers, but still delicious.
I hope you find some amazing tomatoes and enjoy this tart. Or, if you are overrun with tomatoes from your personal tomato jungle, I hope that you’ll appreciate a different way to use them. Be sure to use the fresh ground pepper and olive oil drizzle listed in the recipe to finish this off if everyone can have it! YUM!
PS Don’t be afraid of puff pastry!