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Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

July 8, 2011

This tomato basil tart screams summertime and manages to capture the best and quintessential flavors of this wonderful season.  First the star of the show: the tomatoes.  Sweet and juicy, real summer tomatoes are something I look forward to all year long.  As much as I enjoy eating them fresh on some toast with hummus, or drizzled with balsamic and olive oil in a caprese, the roasting here really concentrates the flavors and brings out even more of their sweetness.  When you throw in some warm mozzarella, garlic, and basil, you end up with what some of the most classic and loved combinations of all time.  I’m already planning on making several batches of this dough to keep in the freezer so I can easily make this anytime the craving strikes.

Basil-Garlic Tart Dough

from Ezra Pound Cake

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4-5 Tbsp ice water

1) Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.

2) Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.

3) Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water. Process until dough forms into a ball. Remove dough from processor.

4) Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)

5) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into the pan.

[optional: not part of the recipe, but I decided to pre-bake my crust like I normally do with my quiches and pies:]

6) Preheat oven to 400F.  Butter a large square of foil and press (butter side down) onto crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes.

9) Remove foil and weights. Pierce bottom of crust all around. Bake another 10 minutes till golden. (can make this up to 6hrs ahead) Let cool.

Once you have the dough, the rest of the work is just slicing, assembling, and baking:

Tomato Mozzarella Tart

  • 1 recipe basil-garlic tart dough
  • 8 oz sliced mozzarella
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut into thin slices (crosswise would probably be prettier)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

1) Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella.

2) Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. (I also covered up the edges of the tart with aluminum foil while baking so the edges didn’t burn).

3) Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing.(The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.

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