TOMATO AND WALNUT PESTO TART



Make every day gourmet with this flavourful tomato tart that’s sure to satisfy your senses with the beautiful combination of Italian flavours from basil pesto and ricotta cheese filling.


This tart was entirely made from home grown organic produce. Almost everyday I’m plucking these beautiful tomatoes from my backyard and try to make use of them in all different recipes...whether it’s in soups, curries, pastas, chutneys, jams, sandwiches, wraps or in salads, pretty much in everything you wanna add that kick of tomatoes.


This exotic looking rich crust tart is filled with ricotta and Parmigiano Reggiano layered with walnut basil pesto, which is again made from fresh basil growing in my backyard. To play with the summer’s bounty, I added all different colours and sizes of tomatoes and it looked sooo pretty, and tasted divine. A subtle hint of thyme in the crust adds a different dimension of flavours to the tart.


Either make it as big tart for sharing, or just individual ones, they surely will grab the attention when served at your tea or dinner party.

SERVES: 6-8

PREP TIME: 30 minutes

BAKING TIME: 55 minutes to 1 hour

PASSIVE TIME: 30 minutes



INGREDIENTS


For Pastry:

  • 250g/2 cups of plain flour

  • 175g unsalted butter, cold and diced

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme

  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

For Pesto:

  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves

  • 75g Parmigiano Reggiano, chopped

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2-3 cloves garlic

  • 1/8 tsp salt

For Ricotta Filling:

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

  • 3 tbsp low fat creamy feta cheese

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Regianno, grated

  • Pinch of salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

For Tomato Layer:

  • 8-10 mixed colour and different sized firm tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 2-3 tsp Balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Few basil leaves for garnish



METHOD

  1. In a stand mixer bowl, sift flour, add salt, thyme and butter, blend them together with paddle attachment until it resembles breadcrumbs.

  2. Add water and blend for few seconds until the dough combines and form a ball. Do not over work the dough.

  3. Remove the dough on a floured surface, gently knead to bring everything together, take care not to over work the dough. Wrap it in a cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

  5. Take the pastry out from the fridge, remove cling wrap and place it on a floured surface.

  6. Roll the dough in a 7 x 16 inch rectangle. Lift and wrap the pastry gently from longer end around the rolling pin and transfer by unwrapping on the loose based rectangular tart pan. Press the pastry into the pan and trim any excess around the edges.

  7. Line the pastry with parchment paper, spread baking beans on top and blind bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake further 5 minutes until the pastry is crisp. Remove to cool slightly.

  8. As the pastry is baking in oven, make pesto sauce by blending all ingredients together in a bender and keep aside.

  9. Make the ricotta filling by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Keep aside.

  10. Take 5 tbsp of pesto sauce and spread on the cooked pastry. Pour and spread ricotta cheese filling on top. Arrange tomato slice, overlapping slightly on each other. Season it with kosher salt and pepper and drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top.

  11. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, garnish with basil leaves, cut into slices and serve warm.


COOK'S NOTES:

  • I made this tart with plain flour but you can certainly make it gluten-free by replacing the plain flour with gluten-free flour.

  • Balsamic vinegar gives a slight sweet note to balance the tartness of the tomatoes. If you don’t have balsamic vinegar handy, drizzle little honey instead.


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