farmhouse tomato tart

August 30, 2010

A fresh tomato tart with mozzarella, basil and a kick of pesto seems to be pretty much the epitome of the end of summer to me.

I took my own advice and biked down to the farmers’ market for the last half hour of trading and picked up a ridiculous amount of tomatoes for $3. Note to self though: check all your tomatoes before handing over your cash. The majority of mine were verging on bad. Luckily I got handy with a knife and chopped around the bad parts to make a batch of homemade tomato sauce. Waste not, want not!

The main reason for buying all those tomatoes though was this rustic summery tart. You could make something very similar using goat cheese and thyme, with a mustard base, instead of pesto. Then you’d have a very French tart on your hands. This is a decidedly more Italian affair and the flavours and textures are actually quite similar to pizza. You could almost mistake it for one if it weren’t for that crust.

About that crust. Me and dough are not always friends. Remember my epic tart fail? Yeah, me too. So, when I realised that my dough was not going to play fair and slip into the tart ring easily, I decided to make it “free style” by placing it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and leaving about 2 inches round the edge of the dough free of filling and then folding those dough bits on top of the filling before baking. It worked a treat!

Farmhouse Tomato Tart


For the tart filling

  • One unbaked tart dough (see recipe, below)
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 2 tsp fresh basil pesto (jarred is fine too)

For the tart dough

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water


  1. Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly texture.
  2. Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring the mixture until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add more ice water, a little at a time.
  3. Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough about 14 inches across on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
  4. Roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  5. Layer fresh pesto onto the bottom of the un-baked tart shell, spreading evenly and leaving two inches around the outside of the dough. Let it sit for a minute to dry out slightly.
  6. Layer on tomato slices and sprinkle about 2 tsp chopped basil on top. Drizzle olive oil and then add fresh mozzarella slices to the tart. Sprinkle some more basil and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places.  Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
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