Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tomato Tart for a Taste of Summer!

I'll admit it.  I have had problems with tomato tarts and they usually begin with the word "too"  Most of the ones I have tasted are either too mayonnaisy, too soggy, too cheesy, or too gloopy.  One thing they are never too much of is tomatoey! So, I was on a mission to make one that was fresh and full of tomato flavor without all of the gloopy mayo and cheese filling.  I found one that sounded promising in Stacy Little's The Southern Bite Cookbook. First off, his had NO mayo.  Now y'all know I am not like Lu.  I like mayonnaise, but I like for it to be in a supporting role, not overpowering all the other flavors in a dish.  In most of the tomato tarts I have had, it just seems to take over, making the tart too rich and mushy.  Stacy's tart had cream cheese instead of mayonnaise.  

Another problem with tomato tarts is that the tomatoes often make the crust soggy.  Stacy solved that problem in three ways.  First, he prebakes his crust.  Then, he drains the liquid out of the sliced tomatoes by salting them to draw out the liquid and then letting them drain on paper towels for a good 15 minutes.  Then, as an extra measure against wet crust, he spreads the cream cheese layer on the crust, so that it serves as a barrier between the crust and the tomatoes.

Finally, the only cheese in Stacy's pie, besides the cream cheese, is freshly grated parmesan. The cream cheese and the parmesan cheese are combined with some finely chopped garlic.  I also added some salt and black pepper to this mixture, just because I thought it was needed.  

I deviated from Stacy's recipe in two other ways.  He sprinkles freshly chopped basil on top of his pie before baking.  I added the fresh basil after baking to preserve more of that fresh basil taste. I also substituted Greek yogurt cream cheese to make it a little lighter and more healthy. Additionally, I added more tomatoes and basil than he did.  I wanted the pie to be about the tomatoes and the fresh taste of the basil and not about the filling.

One other thing I liked about Stacy's pie... He used all kinds and sizes of tomatoes...yellow, red, purple, large, small, cherry, grape.  It gave the pie a happy, fresh, eclectic look which I found attractive and homey.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any heirloom tomatoes, but I did have several sizes of red and yellow tomatoes.  You can't really tell it in my photo, however.  But I promise they were all there.  

Anyway, try my version of Stacy's tart and let me know what you think.  I think it has a really fresh tomato taste and a firm crust. Just the way I like my tomato tarts!

1 recipe of pie crust dough (homemade or store bought)
4-6 medium tomatoes...use different colors
1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes...use different colors
1 (8 oz.) pkg. Greek yogurt cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t. Salt and 1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh basil

Place pie crust into pie plate and pierce with fork.  Bake in oven at 450 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Slice all tomatoes to about 1/4" thick.  Place slices on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for at least 15 minutes. Blot the top of the tomatoes with more paper towels to draw out as much liquid as possible without destroying the tomatoes.

Combine cream cheese, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Spread cooled crust with cheese mixture.  Place tomato slices on top of cheese layer.  Bake for 14-15 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned and the tart is heated through.  Remove and sprinkle with freshly chopped basil. Enjoy!

Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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