Inspired by Jenise's post on the tomato tarte tatin and by the many tomatoes we've ended up with lately, I decided to try my hand at a tomato tart. After checking around the 'net, I found one on Epicurious with an intriguing parmesan-black pepper crust. (The recipe is here
). I really liked the idea of drying the tomatoes as per Jenise's post, though, so I decided to modify the Epicurious recipe which calls for layering mozzarella, pesto, and fresh tomatoes. First I made the crust, as specified. While it was in the fridge resting, I sliced up several tomatoes (red and gold heirloom varieties) and put them in the oven for an hour or so at about 250 degrees F. Pulled them out of the oven and let them sit while I rolled out the crust and baked it as per instructions. While it was still hot, I put on a layer of thin-sliced fresh mozzarella and then the semi-dried tomatoes. Salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or so of chopped fresh thyme were scattered over the top and it went into a warm oven long enough to insure the cheese melted. I took it out of the oven and let it rest for a half-hour or so prior to cutting into pices and serving (by then, at about room temp). It was a hit - Martha and Isabella both liked it. For a relatively simple dish, it made for some nice complex flavors with plenty of depth. Only mistake came in me not baking the crust long enough. This was my first-ever attempt at a pie crust type of thing and although I mostly got it right, I was a little paranoid about over-baking it.
Here's the recipe for the crust (taken from the URL above):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Blend together flour, butter, shortening, parmesan, pepper, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size lumps. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in food processor) until incorporated.
Gently squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together without falling apart, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) after each addition until incorporated, continuing to test. (Do not overwork dough, or it will become tough.)
Turn out dough onto a work surface and divide into 2 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather both portions of dough into 1 ball, then pat into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable rim. Roll rolling pin over top of pan to trim dough flush with rim. Lightly prick tart shell all over with a fork.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or rice. Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake until golden, about 15 minutes more. Cool in pan on a rack.