Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Tart
If you are looking for an alternative to margherita pizza, this recipe is for you. It has the same yummy toppings that you would find on a margherita pizza, but instead of a pizza, it’s a tart. The crust consists of standard tart dough, with the addition of fresh minced basil and garlic mixed into it. This gives the crust lots of flavor, making it extra delicious. The toppings for the tart are simple- a little bit of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese (as well as a sprinkle of salt, pepper, & extra virgin olive oil for extra flavor).
One thing that’s nice about this tart is that you can make the tart dough ahead of time, roll it out, and assemble it in the tart pan. Then you just wrap the prepared tart in plastic wrap and refrigerate it if you plan to use it that day, or freeze it if you are saving it for another day. When you are ready to cook the tart, just pop it in the oven, and blind bake the crust, add the toppings, and then finish baking it.
When I most recently made this tart for Mother’s Day, I served slices of it as a side dish, but it can be a main course too (a salad or veggies would go well with it). This tart would also make for an impressive appetizer. Enjoy!
Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Tart with Basil Garlic Crust
For the dough:
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick), chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
- 4-5 tbsp. ice cold water
For the filling:
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
- Ripe cherry tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tbsp. minced fresh basil
- ¼ cup tomato-basil marinara sauce (optional)
- To make the dough, combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely minced. Add the flour and salt; pulse briefly to combine. Add in the chunks of butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add 1 more tablespoon and process for several seconds to see if the dough forms a ball. If not, add the remaining tablespoon of water and process until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough, flatten into a 5-inch disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- 2. When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 425° F. Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over a 9-inch round tart pan and press it into the sides. Trim the excess dough as needed. (I use this to reinforce the edges.) Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with baking beads (pie weights). Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil or parchment and baking beads. Return the empty tart shell to the oven to bake for 5 minutes more (crust should be lightly browned). Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 375° F. Note: If tart dough has puffed up during baking, prick it with a fork a few times.
- Spread a very thin layer of marinara sauce on the tart (The marinara sauce is optional- I like the extra flavor it provides, but since you only need a little sauce, I would only add it if you already have an open jar of leftover sauce in your fridge).
- Then layer the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell with the mozzarella. Arrange the cherry tomato slices on top of the cheese in a single even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and half of the minced fresh basil.
- Bake about 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places. About halfway through baking, rotate the tart 180° and wick off any excess moisture that has collected on top with a towel if necessary. Once you have removed the tart from the oven, sprinkle the remaining basil onto it. Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe adapted from: Annie’s Eats Blog; Originally from Pink Parsley, Ezra Pound Cake and The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook