There are some recipes that are good and there are those that are amazing, this is not one of them. This tomato basil pesto tart is one that falls into the exceptional category! You know the taste that makes you speechless kind of good? You quite literally can't speak because the flavors are so complex and it's like food magic happening in your mouth! It's that good, and right now if you haven't already guessed I am clearly remembering the incredible taste!
Something came up on my feed the other day and it was Ina Garten's tomato tart and it looked fabulous! Ofcourse it did, I love her so much and I miss watching her show. For some reason Food network is not showing the wonderful Contessa anymore, she's a pleasure to watch and that's not the same for every celebrity chef. Barefoot Contessa makes everything look effortless.
This is not the same recipe in any way as Ina Garten's but it sure was the inspiration around this recipe.
First things first, I've used flaky puff pastry because it's the easiest quickest way to get good food on the table with less effort. In saying that however, if you're using a food processor to make the pastry it does make everything go faster.
Why This Recipe Works
- Conveniently easy. Prep time is 10 minutes and baking time is 25 to 30 minutes.
- Flaky buttery puff pasty
- This is a very forgiving recipe and working with puff pastry is also just as forgiving. Don't over analyze making it perfect, food is to be visually appealing but ultimately it's all about the flavor.
Ingredients For This Tart
All you need is puff pastry, tomatoes, cheese and spice.
Tomatoes: Whole fresh tomatoes and if you can find different textures and colors then go for it. In this recipe I've used 4 medium sized red whole fresh tomatoes.
Salt: Any salt that you have with preference to fine salt for the tomatoes and flaky sea salt to finish if required.
Mozzarella Cheese: Freshly grated.
Parmesan: To finsh, also freshly grated.
Vegetable Spice: Make it a generous sprinkle it adds a distinctive difference of flavorful herby notes!
Basil Pesto: This covers the base of the tart and adds all those great basil pesto flavors. You can buy store-bought basil pesto but I cannot because once you are used to making your own, nothing will compare!
Puff pastry: All butter puff pastry is even better but any puff pastry works.
Let me try and explain this image below so that you my friend can make this tart and share it with your family.
The cheese melts into the basil pesto that's already got parmesan and a host of flavor elements in itself, the tomatoes release those juices and are bursting with flavor, then you have the spice that bake into the cheese and now soft tomato, the spices cling onto the cheesy surface of the tomatoes and create a crunchy crust topping that's soooo good!
How To Make Tomato Basil Pesto Tart
With a few ingredients, the ease of puff pastry and a simple method that will give you a mouthwatering gorgeous tart!
Salt The Tomatoes: Salting helps drain excess moisture. Be sure to lay the tomato slices over a raised rack or something similar so that the water can drip into the tray.
Prep the tray: Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Thaw the puff pastry: so that you can roll it out. Sprinkle a little flour on a work surface and roll the pastry out just enough to fit the baking tray. Puff pastry can take between 25 minutes to an hour to thaw depending on temperatures.
Grate the cheese: Preferably both the mozzarella and the Parmesan can be freshly grated.
Vegetable Spice; Add a generous amount over tomatoes
TIP: Don't forget to poke holes in the base before baking it, this allows the steam to escape and you end up with a flaky baked puff pastry.
What about blind baking puff pastry, is it necessary?
Another tip from my kitchen to yours.....
This is what I know, puff pastry does not need to be blind baked, it's a matter of preference. Some cooks, home chefs etc. like to blind bake as a matter of precaution so you are sure it will be baked and wont puff up. I have found that blind baking is that 100%, that extra measure so to speak but it's still not mandatory.
Remember this, that if you don't blind bake, you must still use a fork to poke holes in it! That part you have to do or the steam cannot escape and the tart will puff up with all the filling on! Then you will remember that you forgot to use a fork to poke the base :))
I've shared in detail with pics the blind baking process when I shared this Plum Frangipane Tart. The blind baking part works for any tart.
One more thing I have to share;
If you did poke holes in the base with a fork and you just happen to pass by the oven and you notice it's still puffing up in some places don't panic … 🙂 Simply open the oven and use a fork to quickly poke on the puffy parts and immediately slide it back in to continue baking. Those puffy parts will deflate and if they don't, leave them, they will go down. Like I said earlier, this Tomato Basil Pesto Tart is very forgiving.
Also not mandatory but advisable if time permits is;
After rolling the pastry, folded/scored edges, place it in the fridge while you do a clean up. Those few minutes in the fridge keeps the butter cold and cold butter equals crispy puffy edges!
Tips and Suggestions
This recipe is pretty straightforward but a few details are always good to remember;
Thaw your puff pastry. It takes anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes temperature dependent. It's best to use your pastry when it's still cold so don't leave it on the counter until it's too soft that it's difficult to roll and sticky. However. If that happens;
Add flour: First try adding flour to see if it will roll and if not, be patient, next tip;
Be patient. If you left your puff pastry out for too long, simply get it back into the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to get cold again. Puff pastry is made up of butter, flour, cold water and salt, the colder the butter the better the results. When you get puff pastry into the oven, the moisture from the butter releases, it rises and that equals flaky puff pastry!
Use a clean pastry brush to lightly brush off any excess flour before adding the filling. Turn it over and gently brush the opposite side.
Prick/Poke the base of the pastry before baking. This creates air vents which stops it from puffing up.
What is Smell and Taste Vegetable Spice
Our Vegetable spice comes from the Smell and Taste range of artisanal spices. These spices are specifically created to enhance taste but without additives, to elevate the aroma and appetite while keeping them clean and 100% natural.
Looking For More Recipes?
If you try this Exceptional Basil Pesto Tart, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @anosmickitchen and use the hashtag #anosmickitchen because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking????
Tomato Basil Pesto Tart, Exceptional!
- 1 frozen puff pastry thawed
- ⅓ cup basil pesto
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 4 ripe medium size tomatoes sliced about 1cm thickness
- 2 tsps. salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 2 tbsps. vegetable spice
- 1 tbsp. olive oil or a generous drizzle
- Thaw The Puff Pastry: At least 30 to 45 minutes before you begin.
- Parchment Paper: Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Salt and Drain the Tomatoes: Slice the tomatoes and place them over a rack with a tray underneath to catch any excess liquid. Generously sprinkle the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons salt and set them aside for 30 minutes.
- Dry the Tomatoes The tray will have loads of water drained. Remove the slices and place over kitchen tissue paper, dab them dry and use them.
- Preheat the oven to 210°C / 410°F.
- Roll out the Pastry: Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out the pastry adding a little flour on both sides to help if it's sticks. Place the pastry over the prepared baking tray.
- Work the Edges and Center of the Puff Pastry: You can either score the edges with a knife or you can fold it over. Use a fork to poke holes into the base of the pastry.
- Use a spoon to spread the basil pesto all over the bottom of the pastry making sure to not go to the scored or folded edges.
- Sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese all over the basil pesto (leave some for the the top). Arrange the drained and dried tomato slices over the cheese. Sprinkle the tomato slices with a very generous amount of vegetable spice, add the parmesan cheese, remaining mozzarella more vegetable spice, a drizzle of olive oil and bake.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry edges turn golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!