Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomato Pesto Tart

This is a tart but it’s not dessert. I KNOW. Rumor has it this is a thing people do – put thought and effort and planning into making non-dessert food. 

I wanted to make something seasonal and pretty for my party a couple weekends ago, so I put on my thinking hat and meandered over to my farmer’s market. The tomatoes at Eastern Market are ridiculously delicious, which I know thanks to the fantastic farmer’s market free samples. Tomato slices with a sprinkling of salt = summertime swoon

As I paced past the stalls, my mind ran through some appetizer options -- Pizzas? Crostini? Quiche? Kebabs? Something not toooooo time/effort-intensive, that would be good at room temperature...hmmmm. 

I bought four big heirloom tomatoes (two red and two yellow), along with a clove of garlic, bunch of basil, and a bag of walnuts. Tomato Pesto Tart. Whole Wheat Olive Oil Crust. And a little bit of egg and parmesan to hold it all together. YES. 

I usually make walnut pesto because a) I like it, and b) walnuts are significantly cheaper than pine nuts. My recipe (below) makes enough pesto to have some extra (super-easy dip: ¼ cup pesto + 1 cup Greek yogurt = serve with beet chips!). But you could definitely make things easier on yourself and use jarred pesto instead.

Tomato Pesto Tart

Olive Oil Tart Crust
Adapted from Pastry Affair.
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup cold water, plus extra if necessary
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Spray or butter a 10-inch tart pan.
  2. In a medium bowl or food processor, mix the flours, salt, and basil. Add the olive oil and water and use your hands to mix until it comes together (or if you’re using a food processor, pulse with a regular blade until begins to come together.) If it’s not coming together, add more water in teaspoon increments until it forms a ball. The dough should not be sticky and wet.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12 inch circle. [Turns out I don’t have a rolling pin, so I used a bottle of wine to make a rough circle-ish, then transferred it into the tart pan and just kind of pressed it into shape. Rustic. #win] Transfer to tart pan, and press into the sides. Prick the dough with a fork before baking. Bake for 20 minutes before removing and allow to cool slightly before filling.
Walnut Pesto
Yield: ¾ cup
  • 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Toast walnuts either on the stove or in the oven until they start to smell nutty (pay attention -- the line between deliciously toasted and burnt is very fine! This is not the time to get sidetracked!).
  2. In a food processor or blender, process all the ingredients until smooth. (You can make the pesto in advance - just keep it sealed and refrigerated.)
For the filling:
  • 4 medium or large-sized tomatoes, sliced (I used red and yellow)
  • ½ cup Walnut Pesto (recipe above)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, plus a bit more to sprinkle on top
  1. Spread pesto evenly in the bottom of the slightly cooled tart crust.
  2. Arrange tomato slices on top of the pesto.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, and parmesan, and pour over tomatoes. 
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs set. 
  5. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top for serving.

Isn't it beautiful!?! Also, this tart, re-heated in a toaster oven, makes excellent lunchtime leftovers!