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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Tomato Tart

In addition to loving tomatoes, I’m one of those people who LOVES the smell of tomato leaves. Tomato Leaf should be a perfume, I think. The rainbow of colors and varieties of tomatoes is so exciting too! I wait eagerly to see what varieties our farmers have grown for us each season. Black Krim, Chocolate, Yellow Taxi, Mortgage Lifter, Ananas Noir, Pineapple, Purple Bumblebee and Green Zebra are just a smattering of the names hybridizers have come up with. So fun! Our farmers at the Doylestown Farmers Market will bring tomatoes in various waves throughout the season. Trauger’s Farm has hoop houses so they are able to get a jump on the season. This is great news for us because we’ll have a wide variety of gorgeous tomatoes at the market until the end of September!

I love the way cherry and grape tomatoes burst in the heat of the saute pan with garlic to make a quick, fresh sauce for pasta, chicken, shrimp, scallops or fish. Panzanella, Tabbouleh and the classic BLT with Hershberger Heritage Farm bacon (WORLD’s Best Bacon - and you can quote me on that) are some of the best fresh tomato dishes to make after you’ve enjoyed your Caprese Salad. Remember to toast your Nord bread for Panzanella first so it doesn’t become soggy in this simple bread, cucumber and tomato salad. I also love a good grilled cheese with thick slices of salted and peppered fresh tomato in the middle. In the South, Tomato Pie is very popular and there are a variety of recipes ranging from super cheese laden to the mostly tomato centric. I’m sharing a more Northern version that balances cheese and tomato amounts in an all butter tart shell from America’s Test Kitchen. This is a great base recipe that can be altered to suit the vegetable of the season. Feel free to substitute mushrooms, zucchini or other vegetables for the tomatoes. Also, you wouldn’t be wrong to top this tart with chopped cooked bacon - if you have any Hershberger bacon left from your BLT making. I also like to add a little more grated Parmesan to the top of my tomatoes before baking.

Tomato Tart

Recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6

3 plum tomatoes, cored and sliced ¼ inch thick

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)

4 ounces (½ cup) part skim ricotta cheese

1 ounce mozzarella cheese, shredded (¼ cup)

1 recipe All-Butter Press-In Tart Dough baked and cooled (recipe to follow)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  1. Spread tomatoes out over several layers of paper towels, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and let drain for 30 minutes. Combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine Parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell. Blot tomatoes dry with paper towels and shingle attractively on top of ricotta in concentric circles. Drizzle with garlic-oil mixture. (Tart can be held at room temperature for up to 2 hours before baking.)

  3. Bake tart on a rimmed baking sheet until bubbling and tomatoes are slightly wilted, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

  4. Let tart cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. To serve, remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between tart and tart pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter or cutting board. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

All-Butter Press-In Tart Dough

Recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and chilled

3 tablespoons ice water

  1. Process flour, sugar and salt together in food processor until combined. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and continue to process until large clumps of dough form and no powdery bits remain., about 5 seconds. If dough doesn’t clump, add remaining 1 tablespoon of water and pulse to incorporate, about 4 pulses. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Let refrigerated or frozen dough sit on the counter until very soft before using.)

  2. Sprinkle walnut-sized clumps of dough evenly into 9-inch tart pan. Working outward from center, press dough into even layer, sealing any cracks. Working around edge, press dough firmly into corners of pan with fingers. Go around edge once more, pressing dough up sides and into fluted ridges. Use thumb to level off top edge. Use excess dough to patch any holes. Lay plastic wrap over dough and smooth out any bumps using palm of hand. Leaving plastic in top of dough, place tart pan on large plate and freeze tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set tart pan on large baking sheet. Press double layer of aluminum foil into frozen tart shell and over edges of pan and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake until tart shell is golden brown and set, about 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet half way through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and carefully remove weights and foil. Let tart shell cool on baking sheet.

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