Tomato tarts and pies are a sure sign of summer. This version keeps things easy-peasy.
Every summer, with the arrival of tomato season, tomato tarts start turning up everywhere. In food magazines. On blogs. All over social media. It’s easy to see why – a tomato tart is gorgeous, delicious and a perfect light summertime meal.
There are many varieties, from classic Southern tomato pie to versions with cherry tomatoes – you name it.
My favorite version keeps things super simple with puff pastry, a thin layer of cheese and heirloom tomatoes. No need to blind bake a crust; just top the pastry and go.
But one element nearly all tomato pies and tarts share is doing something to extract some of the fruit’s excess moisture or you’ll end up with a soggy mess. Some folks call for roasting them, others for salting. Some simply lay sliced raw tomatoes atop a baked pie (pretty. But I like my tomatoes to meld with the filling, which means baking them with the tart.
It’s tempting to skip that step with the tomatoes — Lord knows, I’ve tried. I’ve found salting is simplest and most effective way to draw excess moisture from the tomatoes while allowing them to maintain their shape as they bake. It’s worth it.
Serve this with a salad and white wine, or cut it into smaller pieces as appetizers.
Salting the tomatoes is a key step to prevent a soggy tart. It’s tempting to skip it — Lord knows, I’ve tried. Don’t.
- Choose tomatoes a little on the firmer side for this. Super-ripe maters tend to disintegrate as they bake.
- Use any kind of semi-firm cheese in place of the Gruyere. Cheddar, fontina, Gouda, Manchego, etc. would all be nice choices.
- This combo can shape-shift with the seasons – in spring or fall, top it with sauteed spinach and/or mushrooms with a sprinkle of blue or goat cheese. Just don’t overload the pastry with toppings.
- I call for brushing the edge of the pastry with mayonnaise, a simple sub for a traditional egg wash. Of course, use egg, if you prefer.
- Placing your tomato tart on a preheated baking sheet helps the bottom crisp up nicely. You can do the same thing when making a sweet or savory galette. It’s a similar concept to baking pizza on a preheated pizza stone.
Puff Pastry Heirloom Tomato Tart
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices
Sea salt, to taste
½ (17.3-oz) package puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (grainy or smooth) OR pesto
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon everything seasoning (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Fresh basil, for garnish
1. Line a sheet pan with paper towels. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand while prepping the rest of the recipe, turning after 15 minutes.
2. Place a baking sheet on rack of in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F.
3. Unfold the pastry on a piece of parchment paper. Roll it into a 10-inch square. (If your pastry comes in a disc, no biggie. Just make a round tart instead.) Lightly score a 1-inch border around all four sides, taking care not to cut through the pastry (it’s really just there for you to use as a guide when arranging the toppings). Spread center with mustard or pesto. Sprinkle with Gruyere. Pat the tomatoes dry, and arrangement them on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper. Brush edge of pastry with mayonnaise. If desired, sprinkle with everything seasoning. Use the parchment paper to transfer the tart (along with the paper) to the preheated baking sheet.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed around the edges. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with basil, and slice. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 1 (10-inch) square tart