What a treat to try some savory baking, especially when tomatoes are in season. Thankfully, Martha’s new book Simply Tomato is ready to keep you busy with the bounty. Case in point, this delectable tart! This is what the author says about the recipe:
This tart is a perfect balance between buttery crust and creamy-but-light filling of ricotta, fresh herbs, and thinly sliced fresh tomato. Any flavorful tomato that’s not super juicy will work well (see below for instructions on dealing with the juice), but you’ll get the prettiest look if you use a mix of colors. If your tomato slices have a large diameter, cut them in half so they fit better in your tart shell.
Makes one 9- or 10-inch tart
- Flaky pastry dough, chilled
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- About 1 pound (450 grams) firm-ripe tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 grams) whole-milk ricotta
- 1 cup (100 grams) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 egg
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (7 grams) lightly packed finely chopped fresh mint, basil, or flat-leaf parsley
Make the Tart Crust:
- Take the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature to soften it slightly, which will help minimize cracking and ripping as you roll it out. Place a 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet (to make it easier to transport the tart into and out of the oven).
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll the dough to a 12-inch (30 cm) round. Transfer the dough to the tart pan by gently rolling it onto the rolling pin, moving it so you’re right over the pan, and then unrolling the dough into the pan, draping it so you can position it without ripping or stretching. Lift the edges of the dough to give you enough slack to line the sides of the pan without stretching the dough. Press the dough onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Trim off excess dough, leaving about ½ inch (1.25 cm) beyond the top of the pan. Fold the excess over and press the dough against the sides of the pan so the edges of the crust are thick and neat and rise just a bit above the edge. Chill for at least 30 minutes. (You can prep the crust to this point, wrap it well, and freeze it for up to 1 month. If baking from the frozen state, don’t thaw; just add a few minutes to the baking time.)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). To blind-bake the crust, line the tart shell with parchment or foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans, pushing them into the corner between the bottom and sides so the edges don’t puff or slump too much. Bake the crust until the edges seem firm and slightly dry and are beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Don’t let the crust actually brown.
- Remove the crust from the oven and take out the pie weights and parchment. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C) and return the crust to the oven. Bake until the center of the crust looks dry, about 20 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely on a cooling rack while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
Finish the Tart:
- While the crust is cooling, cut the tomatoes into ¼-inch (6 mm) slices and arrange the tomato slices on a cooling rack set over a sheet pan to catch the drips. If you don’t have a cooling rack, just spread them out on the sheet pan. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and let drain.
- In a food processor, combine the ricotta, half the Parmigiano, the egg, nutmeg, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper and pulse to blend (you can also do this with a whisk or mixer). When it’s nice and creamy, pulse in the herbs. Spread the ricotta filling into the cooled crust.
- Blot the tomatoes thoroughly with paper towels and arrange in a pretty pattern on the ricotta, overlapping the slices slightly. Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano on the surface and keep baking until the filling looks slightly puffy, the tomatoes look dry, and the cheese is starting to brown a bit, another 20 to 30 minutes. If the crust is browning too much at any time during cooking, reduce the oven temperature a bit. Cool the tart on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
- This tart reheats beautifully, so be sure to reserve at least one piece to enjoy the next day. Reheat leftovers on a baking sheet in a 375°F (190°C) oven until the pastry has re-crisped and the filling is warm, about 10 minutes.
- Look for a ricotta with a looser, creamier texture than that of many mainstream brands, which can have a pasty consistency. Bellwether Farms’ “basket ricotta” is luscious; Calabro and Organic Valley are also decent choices.
Excerpted from Simply Tomato by Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023. Photographs by Ellen Silverman.