This is my variation on the heirloom tomato tart recipe that appeared in the New York Times a few days ago. Though it says heirloom tomato, any kind of tomato is fine. Heirlooms occupy a niche that has boomed over the last 20 years. Once a serendipitous find in market tomatoes, they now are easily found in almost every farmers market. We have grown many kinds over the years – Green Zebra, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Amish Paste, all good choices – but we are especially fond of orange ones. This year we grew Golden Jubilee and they have been big and beautiful, blemish-free, firm, meaty, and mild. In fact this recipe calls for allowing the cut slices to drain for 20 minutes, but these tomatoes are so meaty nothing drained off.
Buy or pick 4 of the very best tomatoes you can find, perfectly ripe. They are the stars here. If they’re a bit acidic, the custard will help mellow them. Fresh herbs are nice if you have them but I used dried Italian seasoning that contains basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. There’s usually homemade basil pesto in the freezer, but this is the one we use for pizzas when the homemade version runs out. Most grocery stores carry the Classico.
I use my 80 Proof Pie Crust recipe for the base. Using a tart pan with removable bottom, blind bake a crust using your favorite recipe, frozen puff pastry or commercial frozen pie crust. I bake the weighted crust at 350ºF for 15 minutes, remove the weights and bake an additional 7 minutes. Parmesan is my cheese of choice for this tart, but any kind that melts well is good. In my roasted tomato tart Muenster is usually used.
– Joan, 11 September 2020
Heirloom tomato tart
- 9″ crust, blind-baked till it just begins to brown
- 1½ lbs. (3-4 medium-sized tomatoes), preferably heirlooms
- ¼ cup basil pesto, homemade or purchased
- ¾ cup Parmesan or other meltable cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried*
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried*
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Cut tomatoes into ½” thick slices. Spread them out on a cooling grid set over a pan to catch any juice that drains off. Allow to drain for 20-30 minutes.
Spread pesto over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle the cheese over pesto, then arrange tomatoes over the cheese, slightly overlapping the slices. Sprinkle the herbs over the tomatoes.
Whisk the eggs and cream together, stir in the salt and pepper, then pour evenly over the tomatoes. Bake at 375ºF for about 35 minutes, until the center no longer jiggles when you bump the pan. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing the tart. Slide it off the removable bottom and allow to cool on a wire grid. Best served at room temperature.
*Can substitute 2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning in place of basil and oregano