Heirloom Tomato Tart with Fresh Ricotta
This no-fuss, room temperature tart celebrates heirloom tomatoes in all their glory.
The only thing as good as a Roasted Tomato Tart is a fresh tomato tart. Heirloom tomatoes are so delectable without any fuss whatsoever that there is a strong argument to be made that they should not be enjoyed any other way! This tart recipe uses a store-bought puff pastry so that all you have to do is bake it and the rest is assembly. It's all about quality in this dish, so buy only the best all-butter puff pastry you can find, in-season sun-kissed heirloom tomatoes of any size/shape/color, and fresh ricotta (not the packaged stuff next to the sour cream in the regular grocery store). If ricotta is neither your favorite nor available, try this with goat cheese, mascarpone, some broken bits of burrata.
Equipment: cutting board; rolling pin; chef’s knife or small serrated knife; paring knife; measuring spoons; large and small mixing bowls; wooden spoon or rubber spatula; microplane; fork; pastry brush; sheet pan; parchment paper
2 cups fresh ricotta
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
1 large egg + 1 teaspoon cold water (egg wash)
flour for dusting
4 heirloom tomatoes (multiple colors and shapes)
1 dozen grape tomatoes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh herbs for garnish
finishing olive oil such as lemon or herb (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Prepare the cheese spread by combining the ricotta with the zest of 1 lemon, chopped chives, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
ILOC tip: use fresh ricotta from a gourmet food store or cheese shop. It not only tastes better, but it is dryer and will make for a more sturdy tart.
3. Roll the puff pastry to an even thickness using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Lift the pastry onto a rimmed sheet pan turned upside down - or a flat cookie sheet - lined with parchment paper. Using the tip of a paring knife, create a ½-inch border around the perimeter. Dock the inside of the tart with a fork about two dozen times.
ILOC tip: if using a round piece of puff pastry, consider rolling the sides on the pastry to form a rim/border, instead of marking a border with a paring knife.
4. Brush the entire surface of the tart shell (not just the border) with the egg wash. Place the prepared tart shell in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15-30 minutes before assembling the tart.
If you use a rimmed sheet pan instead of a flat cookie sheet, turning it upside down will make it easy to remove the tart from the pan.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes. Slice the heirlooms into ½-inch slices and the grape tomatoes in half.
ILOC tip: assemble this tart only when you are ready to serve it. The pastry can be baked a day in advance and stored at room temperature, covered; the ricotta can be prepared a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
6. Spread the cheese mixture evenly within the border of the puff pastry using an offset spatula.
7. Creatively place the tomatoes on top of the cheese, being sure not to leave any space between the tomatoes, overlapping slightly if desired. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with a finishing olive oil, if desired.
8. Garnish with fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, chervil, and dill. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 main course or 8 appetizer servings.