I have big love for tomatoes. When I was growing up, I used to bite into huge beefsteak ones apple-style in my grandparent’s backyard, inevitably ending each summer afternoon wearing a tomato-soaked t-shirt.
A decade later and I’m still obsessing over the vegetable (Fruit? Tomato, tomahto), only now I’m chasing after the yellow, purple and striped varieties of tomatoes that are popping up in the end-of-summer markets here in the city. You certainly don’t need heirloom tomatoes for this recipe, but the flavor variety and varying colors definitely adds something to the final product.
Two musts for this recipe? Fresh basil and really good sea salt–I swear by Maldon, which you can pick up at any Whole Foods or specialty market near you. I know you’re probably thinking, “How big of a difference can specific salt really make, lady?” but I swear to you, use this once and you’ll never go back to that other stuff.
To start, you’ll need a defrosted sheet of puff pastry–Pillsbury makes a great one. Lay it out on a baking sheet thats been covered with parchment paper. Your oven should be pre-heating to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, mix together a cup of whole-milk ricotta with two tablespoons sugar. Once combined, spread the ricotta onto the puff pastry, leaving about an inch of pastry uncovered around the perimeter. Start layering on your tomatoes, sliced thin, until you’ve covered the ricotta almost completely. Finish with fresh basil, a small drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a general sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.
Before putting it in the oven, make an egg wash (one egg and one tablespoon of water whisked together) and paint it on the uncovered pastry edges. Pop the tart into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and brown, and the tomatoes are shriveled (if you can, sneak a spatula under the center of it–it should be firm, not gummy and raw).
Once cooked, allow the tart to cool on the pan for 10 minutes–if you try to move it too soon, it can crack and shatter. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature and enjoy!