Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Fresh Basil, Ricotta, and Balsamic Fig Drizzle

It astounds me sometimes how beautiful food can be. Just a plain old tomato can come in so many different colors and provide unique flavors and textures depending on the variety. I think that's what originally attracted me to food, being an artist first and foremost, it seems natural that I was attracted to visually pleasing food...

With tomato season coming to an end, I had to grab these beautiful heirlooms before the fall season. I wanted to highlight the tomato first and foremost, so by combining it with some fresh herbs and creamy ricotta all held together by a vessel of flaky buttery goodness, it's the perfect summer dish.

There are multiple ways you can prepare this tart depending on your preferences. I personally like cooked tomatoes over raw so I pre-baked the tart dough then spread the ricotta blend, followed by the tomatoes and topped with a little more cheese, balsamic, and salt and pepper then finished baking it in the oven. I also want to give a shoutout out to Oli+Ve olive oil and vinegar store in Atlanta, GA this balsamic fig vinegar is amazing!

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Fresh Basil and Ricotta

serves 8-9

for the dough...

Makes one 11 inch tart crust

1/2 cup (one stick) of COLD unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 tsp fine salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 cup grated swiss cheese (any mild cheese will do)
1/2 cup ice-cold water

for the filling...
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tsp orange zest (you can also use lemon if you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

for the topping...
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS honey
Fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to top it all off


1. To prepare crust - stir together the flour, cheese, and salt. Add the butter, tossing with your fingers to smash each piece into the flour. Stir in the water and knead until a dough forms (don't overmix). Transfer to a generously floured work surface and roll into a 14-inch round. Brush off the excess flour and drape the round over an 11-inch tart pan, making sure the dough is flush with the pan. Press a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to trim any excess dough. Chill for at least 1 hour (this will help the dough keep its shape during baking). Preheat the oven to 425°.

2.  While the oven preheats, make the filling. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and purée all the filling ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

3. Dock the dough by poking it all over with the tines of a fork. Line the dough with foil and fill with baking beans or pie weights. Bake until puffed and lightly golden along the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil, and continue to bake until the bottom of the crust is lightly golden, 10 minutes more. Remove and let cool.

4. To Assemble the tart: Pour the filling into the tart shell and smooth with an offset spatula. Layer the tomatoes in a concentric circle over the filling. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, and finally the balsamic (if using) and then season the tomatoes with flake salt and pepper. Put the filled tart back into the oven and bake until the tomatoes are wilted and the filling is set, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

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