Some of my most favorite things to eat in the summer are heirloom tomatoes—in any color, shape or form. And it’s pretty much a given that I’ll make at least one tomato pie or tart of some sort. What prompted this particular adaptation was the recipe “Heirloom Tomato Tart” by Alison Ashton in the Sunday newspaper supplement, Parade Magazine.
Firm, even slightly underripe heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors and sizes are your best bet for this tart. With Farmer’s Markets in full swing, you should have no problem finding a large selection of the fruits. And if you’ve never eaten one, heirloom tomatoes provide far superior flavor than their store-bought counterparts.
What is an heirloom tomato? Many gardeners have heard the term but don’t really know what it means. By way of an easy definition: they are a variety that has been passed down from gardener to gardener. Unlike modern hybrid variations, heirloom tomatoes come true from seed, making them easy to share. If only we had the sun-filled space to grow some 😦
The main reason to choose heirloom tomato pedigrees is the flavor, where you’ll find a wide range in this esteemed tomato world, with many of these varieties prized for having an old-time taste. As mentioned, they’re a far cry from tomatoes at the grocery store, or even from many modern hybrids like ‘Better Boy’ or ‘Early Girl’—which I like in a pinch if I can’t find the heirlooms.
Perhaps the most famous heirloom tomato, ‘Brandywine’ is a classic strain that many experts rank as the best-tasting tomato around. Can’t say as I disagree. To mention a few others, ‘Gold Rush Currant’ is a delightful little one that offers lots of small but very sweet yellow-orange fruits in clusters. A big, yellow heirloom beefsteak-type tomato with fruits that can reach a pound, ‘Goldie’ features a sweet flavor. ‘Costoluto Genovese’ is an Italian heirloom that offers deep red fruits that are heavily ribbed. And so on, and so on—just make sure to get at least three different types for this tart.
The original recipe called for an even split of mascarpone and goat cheese, but because my log of goat cheese was slightly under the 5 ounces, I compensated for it with a little extra mascarpone. When it comes to the crust, make sure to purchase the rolled up refrigerated variety and not the frozen preformed type. Due to my undying love of heirlooms, I was a bit heavy-handed and used closer to 2 1/4 pounds worth.
So go ahead and make yourself an heirloom tart and sink your teeth into the savory treat!
Heirloom Tomato Tart
- ½ (15-oz) package refrigerated pie crust
- 1¾ lb firm multicolored heirloom tomatoes, cores removed, sliced ¼ inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 oz goat cheese, softened
- 5 oz mascarpone, softened
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
- Basil leaves, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Unroll dough. Fit dough into a 9-inch fluted (or not) removable-bottom tart pan. Trim edges of dough. Prick bottom with a fork.
- Place a 13-inch-square piece of parchment over dough; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes.
- Remove parchment and pie weights. Bake 5-7 minutes or until bottom is golden and set. Cool on wire rack.
- While crust cools, cover a rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. (I slanted mine to drain extra juices.) Arrange tomato slices in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Pat tomatoes as dry as possible, removing any large clumps of seeds.
- In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, mascarpone, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread in bottom of cooled tart crust.
- Arrange tomatoes over filling, overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake 20 minutes, shielding edges of tart with foil. Cool 10 minutes.
- Remove from tart pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle lightly with olive oil; garnish with basil.
Unroll dough and fit dough into a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Prick bottom with a fork.
Place a 13-inch-square piece of parchment over dough; fill with pie weights or dried beans.
After removing parchment and pie weights, bake 5-7 minutes or until bottom is golden and set. Cool on wire rack.
Arrange tomato slices in a single layer over several sheets of paper towel, and sprinkle lightly with salt. I find it best to tilt the rimmed baking sheet so any extra liquid drains away from the tomatoes. You may also need to use a few paper towels on top to remove as much moisture as possible.
In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, mascarpone, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread in bottom of cooled tart crust.
Arrange tomatoes over filling, overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake 20 minutes, shielding edges of tart with foil.
Cool 10 minutes, then remove from tart pan. It’s easiest if you place the bottom on a small round bowl and then push the rim down.
Cool completely on a wire rack, then move to desired plate and drizzle lightly with olive oil; garnish with basil.