With a delicious, but super easy press-in crust, glistening jewel-hued tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, this tart makes a beautiful breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Each summer when I see the first little cartons of miniature tomatoes in shades of yellow, orange, purple and red I tend to loose all sense of self control. I bought several (well, more than several!) cartons a few weeks ago and piled them up in a bowl on the counter. Each time I walked through the kitchen, I felt like they were calling my name, prodding me on to make something wonderful.
This Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Tart was one of the inspirations that came from that pretty bowl of multi-colored tomatoes.
I used a favorite crust recipe that’s super easy to put together, as there’s no mixer, no cutting in butter or shortening and no rolling! It’s an unconventional recipe in comparison to most tart or pie crusts (in a good way) and the results are so buttery and delicious that I find myself turning to it again and again. The recipe comes from a dear friend, Paule Caillat. Scott and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Paule last spring in Paris at her cooking school, Promenades Gourmands (if you’re ever in Paris, this is something you don’t want to miss). She prepared a dessert for us with the same crust. I love that this recipe works well for both sweet and savory crusts.
The filling has a delicious combination of ricotta and fresh mozzarella cheeses.
There’s also eggs, half and half, fresh basil leaves and the beautiful-hued tomatoes are the crowning glory. The tart comes out pretty as a picture, making it perfect for brunches, lunches and casual dinners with guests.
I like to pair this tart with a simple green salad and a loaf of crusty bread.
Too hot to cook these days? Make the tart early in the day when the temps are still cool. Pop it in the oven for just 10 minutes before dinner and you’re good to go! It makes wonderful leftovers too, just warm a slice slightly or enjoy it at room temperature.
Once you try this Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Tart, I think you’ll want it in your regular menu rotation. So be on the lookout for those pretty, multi-hued cherry tomatoes and snatch up a box or two up when you see them. You might hear them calling your name too, when you get them home! Bon Appetit!
P.S. The picture below was the last one Scott took. As he clicked the shutter, he said, “This one’s for you Paule!”
Thanks Paule, for this wonderful, easy, crazy-delicious recipe, I think of you and our lovely day together each time I use it!
- For the crust:
- 6 ounces butter
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- For the filling:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, will be easier to mix at room temperature
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup small fresh basil leaves
- 10-15 colored small tomatoes, depending on size
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated
- Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C). In a medium-sized Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Place bowl in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and brown around the edges.
- Carefully remove the bowl from oven. Using an oven mit to hold the bowl, pour the flour into the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
- Transfer the dough to a 10 or 11-inch tart mold with a removable bottom (the bigger pan will give you a crisper crust. When the dough has cooled down a bit, press it to an even layer with your fingers. I like to start with the sides and then press the remaining dough on the bottom. Reserve a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball. (You can use this later to patch up any cracks after the tart is baked.)
- Pierce the bottom with a fork all over. Also press the sides of the crust gently with a fork to reinforce. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven. Use the reserved dough to patch up any cracks that might occur during baking. Allow to cool before filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375˚F. Place a sheet pan on the middle rack.
- While the crust is cooling, combine eggs, ricotta, half and half, Italian seasoning and salt. Mix well to combine then add basil leaves and stir gently.
- Slice tomatoes into quarter inch slices and place on several thickness of paper towels to drain.
- When crust is cool, add mozzarella and spread to an even thickness. Pour egg mixture over the top. Bake on heated pan for 10 minutes.
- While tart is baking, brush tops of tomatoes lightly with olive oil. After 10 minutes, remove tart from oven and arrange tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Return to oven for another 15-20 minutes or until just set and center no longer wiggles when pan is gently moved back and forth. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. May be served warm or at room temperature.