Fresh Tomato Tart with a Basil-Garlic Crust


Italian, Main Courses, Meatless, Pie, Summer / Monday, June 29th, 2009

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Grocery tomatoes are like child prodigies, forced into service while they’re still all-potential.

And toothy.

By comparison, homegrown tomatoes are allowed to lollygag in the sun, just growing. Getting redder and riper until they develop something akin to personality.

Most grocery tomatoes aren’t fit to top a taco, but a homegrown tomato can stand on its own. You won’t find a summertime supper at my mother’s without a plate of sliced tomatoes, simply but tastefully dressed in olive oil and vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Homegrown tomatoes are the prize of patience.

So, while the tomatoes are good and plentiful in home gardens, farmers’ markets and Topsy-Turvys® across the land, it makes sense to enjoy them center-stage, not just as a condiment but as part of the main event.

I love a tomato sandwich on sourdough or an Italian grilled cheese (with sliced tomato, provolone and fresh basil), but my favorite way to enjoy homegrown tomatoes is sliced, seasoned and baked on a bed of bubbling mozzarella inside a basil-garlic crust.

Think of the tart as a Pizza Margherita in her Sunday best. The rich, buttery crust, which is bright green before baking, sings with basil. The saltiness of the melted mozzarella brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.

It’s a perfect example of how much pleasure can be reaped from humble ingredients in their prime.

Fresh Tomato Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust

Adapted from Jack Bishop’s “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook”

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 recipe Basil-Garlic Tart Dough (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces sliced mozzarella
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Prepare the dough, and press it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella. 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.
  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.)

Basil-Garlic Tart Dough

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
  • 4-5 tablespoons 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. Trim the dough, and proceed with the recipe as directed.

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56 thoughts on “Fresh Tomato Tart with a Basil-Garlic Crust

  1. I was sighing on my way over from Twitter, but now I'm practically fainting. And I even have some fresh basil! And it's a press-in crust! THANK YOU!! :)

  2. Basil garlic crust – nice! We're weeks away from local field tomatoes here in Ontario and, given how sad my plants are looking, perhaps it will be next year before I have enough harvest to make your yummy sounding recipe. Sigh.

  3. Oh. Mah. Gah. is so right! I think I have to go and cook this right this very moment. Got a load of both yellow and red tomatoes fresh from the garden. Perfect!

  4. The tart looks delicious. I made a fresh tomato tart too today, but I cheated. I used puff pastry for the crust. Yours sounds divine. Must try. Thanks for sharing and enjoy those tomatoes while they last :)

  5. I am allergic but my hubby adores tomatoes and I make him Martha's tomato tart at least twice during the summer…I'm going to give this a try once our New England tomatoes have reached their peak.:) Thanks for sharing!!!!!

  6. Oh. Mah. Gah. is right. Holy moly! How you had any restraint to not eat the whole tart straight out of the oven is amazing. That looks simply divine.

  7. Darn! Two post s in row where tomatoes play center stage. The tart (& yesterday's gazpacho) both look really good but I still can't do tomatoes. :(
    ~ingrid

  8. I have my doubts that this can beat a simple fresh tomato sandwich, but I am certainly willing to try since it looks so amazing! Beautiful pictures.

  9. you had me at "fresh"! I have to tell you that I had this bookmarked as soon as I saw the first picture. This looks so totally delicious!

    well done!

  10. […] probably want to enjoy them as close to their natural state as possible. Ezra Pound Cake’s Fresh Tomato Tart with a Basil-Garlic Crust is a good way to do that, and a nice change from making just another salad. The tart is filled with […]

  11. You always have the best recipes… recipes that make me want to run straight to the fridge and pantry to see if I have the ingredients on hand to throw whatever it is together… this recipe is no exception. Sadly, I haven't been able to get my hands on good tomatoes yet, but maybe this weekend's farmers' market will surprise me. This looks absolutely amazing, and I know I'd cut a slice all warm and gooey, straight from the oven too!

  12. Unbelievable! We're getting great field tomatoes here in Texas now, so I can see this gorgeous tart in my near future! I can only imagine how incredible this crust must be with the cheese and tomatoes!

  13. […] That said, Caleb, if you’re on the East coast Saturday for 4th of July festivities, drop me a line. My chocolate zucchini cake will make another appearance at a little shindig I’m hosting Saturday. 6pm. In NJ. The rest of the menu will probably include some grilled something-or-other, corn salad, zucchini salad, tossed salad with homemade balsamic dressing and maybe an Israeli couscous dish and this lovely looking tomato tart. […]

  14. Ooo I have that cookbook and this is a recipe I've been wanting to make! It looks just amazing. You've convinced me I must try to make it soon!

  15. usually i spread garlic on the bottom, love the idea of baking it right in the crust. once tomatoes come to the market, i'm definitely making this!!

  16. This looked so good, I had to try it (and use up the basil coming out of the garden), This tart is fabulous!! I guess mine was more of a pizza, because I don't have a tart pan, but the 12" pizza pan seemed to work fine. Thanks for another wonderful recipe -even the carnivorous husband loved it and didn't seem to miss the meat in his supper. Served with grilled veggies and fruit salad, this was a great meal for this scorching Texas summer!

  17. Made this for dinner tonight – it was absolutely divine. The tomatoes did make the tart a bit wetter, but it was still great. I think I might try blind baking the tart dough for a few minutes before adding the cheese and tomatoes. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  18. this is heavenly! I can’t afford to have my meal without this tomato tart. I ate it with a flat bread. Delicious!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you for this recipe!

  19. Tried this recipe last night with fresh basil and tomatoes right out of the garden – it is OMG good and so easy!

  20. This tart turned out so good that my family stood up and clapped at dinner! This is definitely a crowd pleaser..thank you so much!

  21. I made this today and it was FANTASTIC! Thank you for the awesome recipe. I found you through Foodgawker when I was looking for a way to use some of our garden fresh tomatoes and basil.

    My husband, who prefers meat with everything, took a bite and said, "This is really good for not having meat in it." (That's a huge compliment coming from him!)

    ~ Jennifer

  22. Looks great! I made the dough last night whch was oh-so easy. But I'm making this as I type. It cooked for 35 minutes and the cheese browned nicely, but the moisture that accumulated on the surface should have given me a hint as to what was going on underneath. The tart dough was still too raw. We have it on a pizza stone at the moment hoping to stiffen it up. I'm not deterred though. Next time I try I'm going to cook the dough for a few first, plus salt the tomatoes (is it possible the pre-baking step was accidentally ommited?). That should solve the wetness issue. Smells fantastic in any case :)

  23. I'm gonna try this, but with all whole wheat flour for the crust….think I should try whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour?

  24. […] create my own take, but as it happens, a follower of Ezra Pound Cake on Twitter baked her wonderful Fresh Tomato Tart with a Basil-Garlic Crust and posted it. Tomatoes? Check. Cheese? Check. Homemade crust? Check. No mayo? Check. Perfect! I […]

  25. […] here’s the Fresh Tomato Pie with Basil Garlic Crust recipe. Have a great weekend, y’all! Kirby and I are having a 90′s birthday party […]

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