Heirloom Tomato Tart

 Last summer I arrived at the farmer's market in Copley Square in Boston and discovered that tomato season had arrived. It was a blissful day - I love tomatoes! That night I was hosting a girls' night dinner on our roof deck and the theme of the dinner was determined - tomatoes.  After searching through a few cookbooks and websites, I settled on a few recipes that utilized the amazing heirloom varieties I had picked up at the market. My favorite recipe from the night that is incredibly easy to make is the Gourmet magazine recipe for a Heirloom Tomato Tart.  I have modified the recipe slightly but the basic premise remains the same - a flaky crust with a hint of parmesan and pepper containing delicious layers of tomatoes, basil, pesto and fresh mozzarella. The other favorite recipe from the evening was a variation on Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen. The vinaigrette described in Smitten Kitchen's recipe is tasty, but I think the green beans and tomatoes (when fresh and in season) are equally delicious with a light coat of good olive oil, salt and pepper. 

When making the Heirloom Tomato Tart, it is best to have a variety of colorful tomatoes and obviously the tart is dramatically improved when made in-season. If the tomatoes don't have flavor, the tart will be bland and you'll be disappointed. So, make this tart when tomatoes arrive at your farmer's market (ours arrived this past weekend - yeah!). One more thing... the tomatoes make the crust soggy over time so it is best to put the tart together just prior to serving and to eat it when prepared rather than saving leftovers.

Heirloom Tomato Tart
Gourmet Magazine, July 2001
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Active Time: 35 min
Total Time: 1 hr


For black pepper parmesan pastry

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For filling
3/4 lb fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), very thinly sliced
1/2 cup pesto (I cheated this time and used store bought but obviously homemade pesto is better)
2 lb mixed heirloom tomatoes, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1 cup fresh basil leaves

Special equipment: pie weights or raw rice