Listen to those tomatoes sing! It’s springtime and today we are talking about a mouthwatering and pretty to look at cherry tomato tart. This recipe was one of the many recipes I made while working at Iowa State University as a chef consultant a few weeks ago.
Cherry tomatoes taste just like they sound. They are sweet and best left in their natural state in order to really enjoy them. In this tomato tart recipe, they are the star of the show. The egg-based custard is lightly seasoned and not overbearing with flavors. The idea is for the custard to uplift and to complement the special sweet flavor of the cherry tomatoes. This is a great recipe to make for a light springtime lunch. The custard and the tomatoes can be prepared in advance and kept in your refrigerator until ready to use. All that is left to make is the crust. This can be made in advance too. Now, all you’ll need to do is preheat your oven, fill the tart shell and bake your cherry tomato tart to perfection.
Cherry Tomato Tart
(makes 3-4 tarts depending on the size of your tart mold)
- 24 ounces butter
- 8 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral-flavored oil
- 24 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
For the filling
- 16 large eggs
- 4 cup ricotta cheese will be easier to mix at room temperature
- 4 cup half and half
- 4 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cup small fresh basil leaves
- 40-60 colored small tomatoes depending on size
- 32 ounces fresh mozzarella coarsely grated
To make the crust
- Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C.)
- In a medium-sized oven-safe bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Place bowl in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and brown around the edges.
- Using an oven mitt, remove the bowl from the oven and pour the flour into the butter mixture. Stir until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
- Once the dough has cooled down transfer it to a 10 or 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Then press the dough into an even layer with your fingers across the bottom and up the sides of your tart mold.
- Pierce the bottom with a fork all over. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven. Use the reserved dough to patch up any cracks that might occur during baking.
- Allow for the crust to cool before filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375˚F. Place a sheet pan on the middle rack in your oven.
- While the crust is cooling, combine eggs, ricotta, half and half, Italian seasoning, and salt.
- Mix well to combine then add basil leaves and stir through gently.
- Slice tomatoes into half or quarter-inch slices depending on their size.
- Place cut side down on paper towels to drain some of the excess water.
- Add mozzarella to cooled crust and spread to an even thickness. Pour egg mixture over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- While the tart is baking, brush the top of tomatoes lightly with olive oil while they are still draining on absorbent paper.
- After 10 minutes, remove the tart from the oven and decoratively arrange tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until the tart has just set.
Tip – To check for doneness gently wiggle pie. If the center barely moves it is done. A slight movement is fine it will carry over cooking once it is out of the oven.