Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Tart
Sitting outside on the patio, a glass of wine, a crisp green salad, and a slice of this tomato tart… these are the makings of a perfect summer dinner. On Saturday morning Julia and I braved the heat and took a trip to the farmer’s market. We bought a variety of berries, peaches, zucchini, and some ripe, juicy tomatoes which were destined to be made into this tart.
The tart’s crust is seasoned with fresh basil and garlic. I made my crust with half whole wheat flour, since I opened my all-purpose flour canister to find it almost empty. The whole wheat flour worked well and the crust turned out flaky and delicious.
I used a variety of tomatoes for my tart- some heirloom and some not. You can use whatever kinds you like. I just love the looks of the tart when it’s made with tomatoes in a variety of colors. Whether for a light summery dinner, a side dish, or an appetizer, I do hope that you’ll try making this tomato, mozzarella, and basil tart.
Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the crust:
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
- 4-5 tbsp. ice cold water
For the filling:
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated (or slices of fresh mozzarella)
- Ripe tomatoes, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tbsp. minced fresh basil
- To make the dough, combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely minced. Add the flour and salt; pulse briefly to combine. Add in the chunks of butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add 1 more tablespoon and process for several seconds to see if the dough forms a ball. If not, add the remaining tablespoon of water and process until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough, flatten into a 5-inch disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over a 9-inch round tart pan and press it into the sides. Trim the excess dough as needed. (You can use the excess dough to reinforce the edges, if needed.) Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with pie weights. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil or parchment and pie weights. Return the empty tart shell to the oven and bake for 5 minutes more. The crust should be lightly browned. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 375 degrees. If the tart dough has puffed up during baking, prick it with a fork a few times.
- Layer the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell with the mozzarella. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with freshly grated Parmesan.
- Bake about 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places. About halfway through baking, rotate the tart 180 degrees and wick off any excess moisture that has collected on top with a paper towel. Once you have removed the tart from the oven, sprinkle it with the fresh minced basil. Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.