Heirloom Tomato Tart
This celebration of late summer heirloom tomatoes is a deep dish tart with a creamy base of ricotta that sandwiches soft strips of prosciutto, all topped by thin ripe slices of heirloom tomatoes.Jump to Recipe
The Most Beautiful Word
Heirloom might be one of the most beautiful words in the world. A word denoting any cherished object that stays with a family over generations. Heirloom tomatoes are the equivalent in the world of tomatoes.
Summer sweats itself into a sweltering sky week after week, but then–once we hit that final half of summer sometimes in early August, when Heirloom tomatoes are sitting comfortably in a basket in your farmers market or grocery store.
Just looking at them, they are more sensual and curvy than their other tomato cousins. Heirloom tomatoes come about due to the tradition of saving seeds, but, in addition to this origin, they are cultivated via a long list of special conditions and care, and do not last as long as other tomatoes. Like all truly beautiful things, they are fleeting.
If anyone reads my words here, you know I love tarts. I have made tomato tarts multiple times before, including my Tomato Bechamel Tart, made with an ombre of cherry tomatoes.
This tart became a simple way to make a fine tart lunch using my newly acquired, treasured deep dish tart pan. Being a Croatian and not using prosciutto is more than a cardinal sin, so, since I left it out in the last tomato tart, I brought it into this one.
There is such little process beyond making the pate brisee that I always use, and blind baking the crust, since the cheese filling, watery tomatoes, and blanket of prosciutto don’t allow the tart much breathing room. The salty prosciutto, the buttery crust, the ricotta filling made as my mother taught me, and the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes in the world (at least to me), make for a far-too-easy-to-eat late summer tomato tart lunch.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure to blind bake this tart crust. My deep dish pan demanded it, but, unless you are putting together a shallow, folded galette, any fluted tart pan requires a short blind bake if using tomatoes and cheese. Just make sure to double wrap with foil and use some kind of baking weights (I have used the same mason jar full of pinto beans for as long as I can remember. I hope they let me know when they need to retire.)
- Slice your tomatoes thin, so they cook through and don’t leak too much. Heirlooms in particular can be extra juicy.
- If making right away, give your brisee dough at least 30 mins in the freezer, or you can prep the dough days before. You can even line your greased tart tin with the dough the night before as well and freeze.
- For making the ricotta, I always blend in an egg, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. It lightens the ricotta flavor and de-blands it a bit:)
Heirloom Tomato Tart
- 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
- 3-4 slices prosciutto
- 8 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Drizzle olive oil
- salt, pepper, red pepper to taste
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese
- 1-2 heirloom tomatoes, thin sliced
- Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
- basil, for garnish
For the Pate Brisee recipe from James Beard Foundation
- Add the flour, salt, butter, and egg/lemon juice mixture into a food processor. If doing by hand, add to a bowl. Pulse/mix until the dough adheres to itself and forms a ball. I add additional 1-3 tablespoons of ice water if the dough feels too dry. It took closer to a minute for me, but make sure to not over mix.
- Remove the dough and knead for a moment by hand, forming it into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate–I sometimes freeze–for 30 minutes or more.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Once the dough is ready, leave it out for a few minutes and flour a work surface, along with your rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a ½ inch thickness and fold over the rolling pin. Gently lay the dough over the greased tart tin. Unfold the other half of the dough and gently tuck into the bottom and sides of the tin. Roll your rolling pin over the top to cut the dough at the edges, and move around the tart, pressing each groove in a bit more, allowing for a little extra dough to pop above the flutes.
- Add your double layer of foil and baking weights and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and blind bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remember, you will be baking further so do not allow the tart to bake too dark.
For the Filling
- In a bowl, add the ricotta, egg, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper/red pepper. Whisk vigorously until combined. You want the ricotta to be creamy and not to stiff, but not loose or watery.
- In your blind baked crust, lay your strips of prosciutto. Add in the ricotta mixture, followed by the mozzarella. You can sprinkle a little parmesan over the top, and then lay your layer of tomatoes. Do not overcrowd them or over layer them too much.
- Sprinkle more parmesan over the top and any additional oil or salt/pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for an additional 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the filling is bubbling, tomatoes soft.
- Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the tin. Garnish with basil. Can keep refrigerated for a few days, and is one of the best ways to enjoy your late summer heirloom tomatoes.