Tomato and basil tart
Updated: Mar 6
I tend to have a love affair with savoury tarts and pastries, especially those with puff pastry. I came across this recipe and decided to make it as the fall tomatoes are still fantastic. The recipe is very simple, essentially assembly and baking, so it made for an easy dish.
I also became quite fascinated by the history of pastry. The first known reference to pastry is from ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman literature as filo. The Romans advanced the use of pastry as a shield for meat to keep it moist and prevent burning. The earliest use of pastry in English literature is from the fourteenth century and describes the addition of egg yolks and saffron for pies and tarts. Puff pastry as we know it today was created by French painter and apprentice cook, Claude Gelée, in about 1645, when he accidentally created a laminated dough when trying to make a form of rolled butter cake for his sick father.
I adapted the recipe to use heirloom tomatoes of different colours, green, yellow and red in this instance. I thought that the tart came out looking gorgeous with the variety of colours. You can also get creative on how you arrange the tomatoes on the pastry, either in a pattern or as a random mix of colours.
I love the cooking of Diana Henry, she has numerous cookbooks, and I have them all. Her recipes go from simple and delicate, like this one to more exotic and involved recipes. She is one of the chefs that has influenced the way I cook making me want to be more adventurous and creative.
Also, check out these amazing recipes for savoury tarts on this blog Mixed mushroom tart and Fig tart tatin, also on this site.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
1.2kg (2lb 12oz) plum tomatoes
200g (7oz) mascarpone
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g (31/2oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
75g (21/2oz) Gruyère cheese, grated
40g (11/2oz) basil leaves, torn, plus more to serve
Salt and pepper, the cheese has a lot of salt so be careful
500g (1lb 2oz) ready-made puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200°C/425°F..
Slice the tomatoes about 5mm (1/4in) thick. Discard the slice that has the core (you can use this and the other end piece for a tomato sauce); you need only the clean slices for this. Mash the mascarpone with a fork and add the garlic, cheese and basil. If the mascarpone is directly from the fridge it tends to be harder to mix, either leave it on your kitchen counter to soften or zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Season.
Roll the pastry out to make a 33cm (13in) circle, or a square and put it on lightly floured parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the mascarpone mix over this, leaving a 5cm (2in) rim around the outside. Now place the tomatoes on the pastry, starting from the outside edge. Place them in overlapping concentric circles or squares, ending up with one slice in the middle of the tart. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Put into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 150°C/300°F and cook for a further 25-35 minutes. The tomatoes should be slightly caramelized. Scatter with some basil leaves and serve immediately.
Note: Cooking times may vary a bit depending on the size of the tart you have made. I tend to make smaller tarts that serve as individual servings, so the cooking times were reduced by 10 minutes in total from the original times above.