Oh, Tomato Tart, how you haunt my dreams! (Divine and wicked, from Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell's The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.) Couldn't you have been less flaky, less creamy, less juicy-tomatoey? Or couldn't you at least have been more arduous or taken longer to put together? Then I wouldn't have blinked and devoured half a sheet of buttery puff pastry awash in milky ricotta and goat cheese. (At least there were those gorgeous tomatoes and generous fresh basil, but I'm pretty sure you still don't count as a salad.) Then I wouldn't want to make you again as soon as I have any excuse whatsoever to justify cramming pastry and cheese down my pie-hole. Alas, you are one delicious temptress.
Why I picked this recipe: Look. At. That. Picture.
What worked: It would be hard to go wrong with the classic flavor combo of creamy cheese, tomatoes, and basil, and this recipe gets the balance and the seasoning just right, too. The addition of eggs to the cheese mixture helps create a barrier to keep the roasting tomatoes from sogging up the crust. And it is wonderfully easy and surpassingly beautiful.
What didn't: They call for "one sheet (7 to 8 ounces)" of puff pastry dough. I'm not sure what brand they used, but the commonly found brands' sheets are larger than that. Dufour's (my choice and recommendation) is a 14 ounce sheet, and Pepperidge Farm's is just over 8 ounces and pre-rolled to the size they specify. Once I trimmed my Dufour sheet to the correct weight and rolled it out to 10-by-15-inches, it was very thin and didn't have enough bulk to support the toppings, resulting in a (very tasty) knife-and-fork situation.
Suggested tweaks: I would ignore the weight of the dough; just roll the pastry to 1/8th of an inch and trim to the specified size.
Reprinted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Copyright (c) 2014 by Beekman 1802, LLC. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
- All-purpose flour, for rolling the pastry
- 1 sheet (7 to 8 ounces) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound tomatoes, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out to a 10 x 15-inch rectangle and transfer it to the baking sheet.
With a paring knife, score a border 1 inch in from the edge all around the rectangle, cutting into, but not through, the dough. With a fork, prick the dough inside the border all over (this is so the border will rise higher than the center that’s been pricked). Brush the center with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Spread the mixture over the center of the puff pastry sheet. Top with the tomatoes, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.