Some things are just meant to be.
Normally, I make nearly everything from scratch – yogurt, cakes, cookies, soups, breads. But one thing I’ve never tried is puff pastry. It’s a lot of work and the frozen Pepperidge Farms sheets are so tasty, I doubt I ever will.
I recently watched an episode of America’s Test Kitchen featuring a TOMATO TART using puff pastry sheets instead of the usual pie dough, which can become soggy from the moisture in the tomatoes. Since I had one sheet left in the freezer from ages ago, I decided to try it – halving the recipe.
It was super easy, it was beautiful, it was absolutely delicious. KISMET!
Note: This is the full recipe. If you want a smaller amount (even though TOMATO TART makes for fabulous leftovers), just cut everything in half, skipping the patching together of the 2 sheets since you’ll only need 1.
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1/8 tsp + 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 oz (1 cup) Parmesan Cheese, shredded
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz low moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 T fresh basil
Note: Make sure you use low moisture mozzarella to prevent a soggy crust.Set out package of pastry sheets for an hour or so to thaw. (Overnight in the fridge is best.)
Preheat oven to 425º Fahrenheit.
Slice tomatoes into 1/4″ circles, discarding stem and bottom ends. Lay slices on 3 layers of paper towels and sprinkle with a total of 1/2 tsp salt. (I lay the paper towels on an old terry towel for extra absorbency.) Let set for 30 minutes. This will draw out excess liquid that would make the crust soggy. After 30 minutes, blot tops firmly with another paper towel.When pastry sheets are soft enough to unfold, remove them from package. Cut a piece of parchment paper (NOT waxed paper!) to fit a rimmed cookie sheet. Lay just the parchment (not on the cookie sheet yet) on the counter. Very gently unfold one of the pastry sheets and place it on one side of the parchment. (If the pastry tears, repair by pinching dough together with wet fingers.)
Paint a 1″ strip of beaten egg along the side next to the empty part of the parchment.Overlap the other square on top. Press dough together firmly with fingers.Using a pizza cutter or knife, trim edges so they’re straight. (You may not need to do this step.)
Cut 2 1″ strips down long side and leave in place. Cut 2 1″ strips along short side.Paint entire rectangle with egg wash, but not the strips.Place long strips on top of long edges and paint them with egg wash. There will be an excess of dough, which will be cut off.Place the short strips along short side edges and paint them with egg wash. Cut off and discard overhanging dough strips. To help the border to rise straight upward (as opposed to up and out like mine did), press dough along inside edge of border.
Carefully, scoot the parchment onto a rimmed cookie sheet.
Sprinkle Parmesan evenly on tart, excluding the border strips – these will rise and act as a dam to prevent leakage.Using a fork, liberally dock holes through cheese and pastry, excluding the border. You want the border to rise, but not the center. Bake at 425º F for 12 minutes. Remove from oven. If the center has puffed up, deflate by poking it with a sharp knife in a few places and gently pressing dough down with a fork.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper. Set aside.Sprinkle mozzarella evenly in cooked pastry, excluding the border.Layer on the tomato slices. Using a pastry brush, dab tomatoes with all of garlic/olive oil mixture.To prevent the borders from over-browning, cover with strips of foil. Bake at 425º F for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil. Let set a few minutes before slicing.