Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

Imagine that Pizza and Quiche fall in love, get married, and have a baby. Consider this the birth announcement. Welcome to the world, beautiful one!

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Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

From The New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, about 4 as a main course

The baked tart is best eaten warm within 2 hours of baking. If you prefer to do some advance prep, the tart shell can be prebaked through step 1, cooled to room temp, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temp for up to 2 days before being topped and baked with mozzarella and tomatoes. Use low-moisture, shrink-wrapped supermarket cheese rather than fresh mozzarella. To keep the frozen pastry from cracking, let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight.

  • Flour for dusting work surface
  • 1 (1.1 pound) box frozen puff pastry, thawed in box in refrigerator overnight
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (I used San Martino and Orange Banana tomatoes from our garden)
  • Salt
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • small handful of basil, chiffonaded

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Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425°. Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry onto work surface. To form tart shell (1 large sheet with border), brush some of beaten egg along one short edge of one sheet of puff pastry.

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Overlap with second sheet of dough by 1 inch and press to seal pieces together. With rolling pin, smooth out seam. Use pizza wheel or knife to trim edges straight and then cut a 1-inch strip from long side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side. Now cut a 1-inch strip from short side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from the same side.

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Transfer large piece of dough to parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet and brush with more egg. Gently press long strips of dough onto each long edge of dough and brush with egg. Gently press short pieces of dough onto each short edge and brush with egg. With pizza wheel or knife, trim excess dough from corners.

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Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over bottom of shell only (not border); using fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in bottom.

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Bake 13 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°; continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425°.

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While shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer of paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer of paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.

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Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over bottom of warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oil.

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Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.

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