Saturday, April 7, 2007

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

The regular Auburn session at Latitudes restaurant will not be happening on Easter Sunday so we are going to do a house session, hosted by Pete and Phyllis Grant. It will be a pot luck session so I decided to take a half baked tomato tart, vegetarian finger food.

Like most of the recipes I have been using these days this one if from the America's Test Kitchen show. I plan on making the shell before session (assembly Step #1) and taking the baked shell, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil for the final baking at the Grant's.

Serves 4 to 6

The baked tart is best eaten warm within two hours of baking. If you prefer to do some advance preparation, the tart shell can be pre-baked through step 1, cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temperature for up to two days before being topped and baked with the mozzarella and tomatoes. Use a low-moisture, shrink-wrapped supermarket cheese rather than fresh mozzarella. To keep the frozen dough from cracking, it's best to let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight.


  • Flour for the work surface
  • One (1.1-pound) box frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm), thawed in its box in the refrigerator overnight
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes (about 3 to 4 medium), cored and cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices
  • Salt
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces low-moisture whole milk mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Making the shell

  1. Brush egg along one edge of one sheet of puff pastry. Overlap with second sheet of dough by 1 inch and press to seal pieces together.
  2. With rolling pin, smooth out seam. Dough should measure about 18 by 9 inches. Use pizza wheel or knife to trim edges straight.
  3. With pizza wheel or knife, cut 1-inch strip from long side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side.
  4. Cut 1-inch strip from short side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side. Transfer pieces of dough to parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg.
  5. Gently press long strips of dough onto each long edge of dough and brush with egg. Gently press short strips of dough onto each short edge and brush with egg.
  6. With pizza wheel or knife, trim excess dough from corners.


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Dust the work surface with flour and unfold both pieces of puff pastry onto the work surface. Following the illustrations attached, form 1 large sheet with a border, using the beaten egg as directed. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the bottom of the shell. Using a fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in the bottom. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes longer. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.

  2. While the shell bakes, place the tomato slices in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle them evenly with ½ teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place a second double layer of paper towels on top of the tomatoes and press firmly to dry the tomatoes. Combine the garlic, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

  3. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the bottom of the warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle the tomato slices widthwise on top of the cheese (about 4 slices per row). Brush the tomatoes with the garlic oil.

  4. Bake until the shell is deep golden brown and the cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with the basil, slide onto a cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.

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