I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to post this Tomato Pesto Tart. I’ve been thinking about it for years!I always intend to bake something savory during the summer, but I inevitably become consumed with berries and cherries and peaches, and before I know it, I’m cracking open a can of pumpkin. I’m in my third year as a blogger and I’m pretty sure that this is my very first savory, summery baked main course!This Tomato Pesto Tart is basically everything you love about caprese salad, wrapped up in crazy-flaky Rough Puff Pastry and baked until bubbly.There’s a layer of basil pesto…a layer of torn fresh mozzarella cheese…and a layer of sliced fresh tomatoes.I used some vine-ripened tomatoes that looked good at the green market, but feel free to use heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any other variety you like! Just make sure to drain them on paper towels so they don’t make the tart too wet.Drizzle the tart filling with olive oil and give it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper before baking for about half an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when the filling is a little bubbly and the crust is golden.Let the tart cool for a few minutes before slicing it up. Add a side salad and you’ve got a great weeknight meal! This would also be a good dinner party option.Oooh, or a garden party! I don’t have a garden, nor do I throw very many parties, but I could see this being absolutely perfect for a garden party.I also don’t know anyone who throws garden parties (because New York), but if you have a garden and want to throw a party in it (or if you are buddies with the garden party queen, Ina Garten) please make this tart and invite me so I can live out my Tomato Pesto Tart fantasy, okay? Okay.
Tomato Pesto Tart
makes one tart, about 6-8 servings
Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold
5-6 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup Basil Pesto (homemade or prepared)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
pinch of Kosher or sea salt, optional
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
torn fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
Make Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.
Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.
Drain tomatoes. Place tomato slices on triple-layers of paper towels. Let sit 10 minutes before gently flipping. Let sit another 5-10 minutes, or until you are ready to use them. Do not skip this step.
Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Trim any overhang to 1 inch. Dock center of the dough with a fork. Refrigerate for 15 minutes if dough becomes too sticky.
Spread basil pesto over the docked dough. Scatter torn mozzarella over the top. Remove tomato slices from paper towels and arrange them over the mozzarella, slicing them to fit, if necessary. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold overhang over the edges of the filling. Refrigerate for 15 minutes if dough becomes too sticky.
Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash over any exposed crust.
Bake 28-30 minutes, until edges are puffed and golden brown. Large bubbles may form during baking. Pop them with a fork or sharp knife, as needed.
Let tart cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use parchment to remove tart to a cutting board. Remove parchment. Scatter with torn fresh basil, if desired. Slice tart into pieces. Serve immediately.
Tart is best eaten the day it’s made, but may be refrigerated for up to three days. If stacking slices, use wax paper as a barrier.
If you do not wish to make the Rough Puff Pastry, you may use one sheet of frozen all-butter puff pastry that you have thawed according to package directions.