Cherry Tomato Tart

Cherry Tomato Tart Recipe

An odd and unusual thing happened to us this summer in our garden. Something almost out of science fiction. [Cue otherworldly music.]

Let me back up. Before this year, The One’s and my vegetable garden took up all of a 10-foot circle around an old tree stump. We would dutifully divide it into quarters and fill it with herbs, tomatoes, kale, and a few nasturtiums. That was it. Nothing to write home about. And, since Papa Leite is a consummate gardener, I literally never did write home. The last thing I wanted was for him to raise a grayed eyebrow and wonder, did my boy learn nothing during those long summers at Silvia’s Farm where he worked as a teenager? But this year, overcome by some deep yearning to be real men of the earth, The One and I broke ground on a garden that was more than five times the size of our old garden. In total, four raised beds, all filled with our yard guy’s organic soil.

Here’s where it gets a little weird. In no time, the plants were off and running, even though we got them into the ground more than a month late. I mean, they were ALIVE! The cilantro, which never, ever survived our hands, was huge. The five parsley plants—we planted five because at least half always die—burst into bushes more than two feet tall. Same with the potatoes, squash, cantaloupes, watermelon, cucumbers, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, beets, and the rest of the herbs. I finally did write home to my father and send him photos. He kept saying, “I have no idea what you’re doing, son, but keep doing it.” The thing is: We did nothing!

The most peculiar were the cherry tomato plants. The One loves those yellowy Sun Gold tomatoes, and this spring he bought five plants, which was down from 10 plants a few years ago, thank you very much, because we were always inundated with baskets and baskets of cherry tomatoes by season’s end, no matter what we did. But this spring, as The One was digging in the new organic soil, he realized he accidentally bought five red cherry tomato plants. When he discovered his mistake, he looked like an investment banker who just lost his four-million-dollar bonus. I felt so sorry for him that I went back to the garden store and picked out six Sun Gold plants. I figured we’d lose half of everything anyways, as we always did, so the 11 plants would net us five in the end.

Sun Gold Tomatoes

Just eight of the millions of seemingly innocent tomatoes we picked this year.

No such luck. All 11 suckers grew. And grew. And grew. In no time, they were up to my waist. Then my shoulders. The stakes we have are only six or so feet tall, so then the plants began growing downward. And, ultimately, across the white gravel paths. I measured one monster, and it was longer than 10 feet! I was starring in my own version of “The Attack of the Killer (Cherry) Tomatoes!” They were insatiable!

I walked out back several times, hedge clippers in hand, determined to cut these behemoths in half.

“Oh, no you don’t!” The One said, blocking the gate with his body.

“But this is unnatural. We have to do something. They’re overtaking the garden.”

“That’s fine.”

“But look at the kale,” I said, pointing to the northernmost plant nearly consumed by the tomatoes. “It looks like a bridal bouquet compared to the others.”

“I don’t care.” He had a mad glimmer in his eyes. Something was amiss. The One would never forsake kale. He’s too much in love with it.

I had no choice. It was either them or me. That’s when I sprung into action. I harvested as many tomatoes as I could—we’re talking three or four gallons some days—and turned them into purée, sauce, and paste.


I mixed and matched, making red, yellow, and orange versions of everything.


I foisted them on friends. I insisted that Annie, my lovely assistant, take home bagfuls for her family.


I cower inside now, afraid to walk in the garden. “What the hell else do you want from me? I’m exhausted!” I scream at them. Looking out the back window, I swear I can see them waving.

Next year, we grow nothing but potatoes.

David Leite's signature

Tomato Cheese Tart With an Herbed Crust Recipe

Cherry Tomato Tart

One of the ways The One and I tried to fend ourselves against the Great Tomato Attack of 2015 was with this tart. It only calls for a few dozen cherry tomatoes—that’s not enough to put a dent in even the most modest of gardens, but it’s a start. I chose to use only red tomatoes, but Sun Golds or a mix of both red and gold will work just as well. The yellow tomatoes just don’t show up as well against the filling. Oh, and make sure to use fresh soft goat cheese. And don’t even think of using pre-grated Parmesan cheese. I have a few hundred thousand bloodthirsty tomatoes I will sic on your lazy ass.–David Leite

LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note

“A perfect cherry tomato tart.”  “Beautiful, flavorful, and delicious.” “What a great way to use all those cherry tomatoes that come flooding in at the end of summer.” That’s what folks are saying about this cherry tomato tart recipe.

Special Equipment: 11-inch tart with removable bottom

Cherry Tomato Tart Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6


  • For the tart crust
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
  • For the roasted cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 35)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the cherry tomato tart filling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • Handful basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus a few small ones for the garnish
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese


  • Make the tart crust
  • 1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour, rosemary, thyme, and salt until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with noticeable chunks of butter no bigger than small peas, somewhere around 13 to 15 one-second pulses.
  • 2. Dump the tart crust mixture into a large bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons ice water. Using a fork, mix until the mixture forms a “shaggy” dough. Squeeze some of the dough in your hand. If it doesn’t hold together, add enough of the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough does hold together when gently squeezed. Form the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Roast the cherry tomatoes
  • 3. While the dough is in the fridge, position the oven racks in the middle and lower thirds of the oven. Crank the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • 4. Toss the tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer and roast on the lower rack until they’re split, wrinkled, and spilling some of their liquid, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your tomatoes. Let cool on the baking sheet.
  • Make the filling and assemble the cherry tomato tart
  • 5. While the tomatoes are roasting and cooling, roll out the dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly flowered surface. Ease it into an 11-inch tart pan, fitting it snugly against the sides and bottom, and trim the excess. Prick the bottom with a fork and cover with parchment or foil. Fill the tart with pie weights or beans. (If the tomatoes aren’t done, slip the shell into the fridge.) Bake the tart crust for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and bake until pale golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly.
  • 6. Whisk the eggs, cream, sliced basil, half the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a pinch each salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the filling into the baked tart crust and distribute the tomatoes equally in the tart crust. Pinch off bits of goat cheese and place them between the tomatoes. Sprinkle the filling with the remaining cheese. Bake on the middle rack until set and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool until warm. When ready to serve, dot with the smallest basil leaves you have.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Linda M.

Oct 07, 2015

This cherry tomato tart is beautiful, flavorful, and delicious. The crust has a wonderful flavor from the fresh herbs and complements the creamy filling well. I liked the idea of roasting the tomatoes first, and they were literally bursting with flavor in the finished tart. A delicious first course, or when combined with a salad, a light lunch or dinner. The first time I made this cherry tomato tart I had larger tomatoes and left them in for the full 20 minutes, but my tomatoes were smaller the second time around, so they were ready in 10 minutes. (I had to sneak a few off the baking sheet, and they were delicious!) The crust came together easily and was perfect. It was a bit sticky during rolling, so I ended up moving it to a floured piece of parchment paper and chilling it for about 10 minutes before baking because it seemed to have gotten a little too warm during the rolling out. It baked up perfectly in 25 minutes and looked beautiful out of the oven. The assembled tart also baked for 25 minutes and was nicely browned on top. It was easy to slice and serve. It was a thin tart, not at all like a thick quiche, but it had great flavor. What a lovely way to use all those cherry tomatoes that come flooding in at the end of summer.

Tomato Cheese Tart

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Oct 07, 2015

This recipe makes a perfect cherry tomato tart. Placing fresh herbs in the crust, in the filling, and on top gives it bursts of flavor even when you're not expecting them. My tart looked exactly like the photo. The baking times are correct as stated in the recipe. Blind baking the crust was essential because the filling is pretty much all liquid. As a result of the blind baking, the crust was well-cooked and not at all soggy. The tart had great flavor, and the filling was very creamy. The tart will be completely done when the top is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. It lasted a couple of days for us in the refrigerator and was easily reheated by placing it in the toaster oven on “warm – 300 degrees” for 10 minutes. You get 6 nice slices, and they make a great lunch accompanied by a small side salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing.

  1. Joyce Colon says:

    You can also make sun dried tomatoes in the oven. Slice them thick, S & P, olive oil, layer evenly on a sheet pan and bake low and slow around 275° til dehydrated. You can also make Sofrito with them. I use Daisy Martinez sofrito recipe.

  2. Val says:

    I have experienced this, too! My parents planted 3 full garden rows of the little monsters (maybe 24 plants?), and then left the country for an extended trip to Europe. That Florida summer was especially ideal for tomato growth, so I plucked and picked, under the moonlight, and I swear, I would have to start again at the beginning of the first row after being done with the last plant at times.

    I still have not discovered my inner green thumb, even as I approach 50, but I did garner some lessons that summer:

      – Late night gardening can be especially peaceful, especially if you are parenting young children.
      – Heirloom varieties can place you squarely back into your childhood.
      – Horses do not like tomatoes, even heirloom ones.

    As I have read about your gardening this summer with The One, I have renewed hope that one day my mother’s gardening gifts will come home to roost. Until then, harvest a bit for me!

    • David Leite says:

      Val, at least I’m not the only one. And I love the idea of late-night gardening. Must be beautiful by the light of the full moon. and I, too, hope your mama’s gift come to you. I have so much to learn from my dad….

  3. three feathers says:

    hey, if you’ll sic a couple of baskets of those delish looking ‘maters on my arse, i promise i’ll go out tomorrow and buy some of that grated parm! ;0)

    love cherry ‘maters & we all love ‘mater tarts, thank you for sharing yours, organic cherry ‘maters are on sale this week, am looking forward to making yours…..the herby crust sounds wonderful. ;0)

    blessed be-

    • David Leite says:

      threefeathers, you are more than welcome. And you can use any herbs you have on hand for the crust. Just make sure they’re fresh. And send a picture of the tart. Love me some tarty snaps.

  4. Halah Attar says:

    would replacing goat cheese with feta cheese change anything besides the taste? don’t like the gamey taste of goat cheese, thank you.

    • David Leite says:

      Halah, it would make the tart saltier, and the texture would be a bit different. If you want to use feta, use the mildest you can find and break it up well.

  5. Julie Guggenbiller says:

    Hi there… I’m not food blogger and I’m no chef, so I know I’m way out of my league when it comes to leaving an insightful, inspiring comment, but I just made this tomato tart and it’s so completely delicious that I just can’t help myself! I used what I had on hand, which meant I used the last of my garden’s Roma tomatoes cut into fourths (and not cherry tomatoes), feta cheese (and not goat cheese), and a pie plate (not a tart pan)… Yet even with those changes it is still so yummy! I’d upload a photo but there’s a piece missing (ahem!) and mine didn’t come out quite as pretty as yours… I wouldn’t want my photo to stop anyone from trying it…

    My kids are asleep, but I’m fighting the urge to go shake their beds so they can get up and enjoy a piece while it’s warm! :) Thank you… ps: I love your weekly email…

    • David Leite says:

      Julie, now THAT’S what I like to hear. So glad that all the changes worked out, and that you enjoyed the tart so much! And never fear to send in pictures. We love to see them.

  6. Kitchenbeard says:

    My dear Mr. Leite – Recently at a friend’s brunch, I was served a small glass of pinkish liquid that I was told was the liquid that had been drained from chopped tomatoes and cucumber with a little vodka….. well, ok alot of vodka… added. It was bright and really refreshing and a nice alternative to a bloody mary which I often find to be overwhelming. Perhaps as you prepare a few jars of tomato jam, the reserved liquid could fortify you as you process the jars? Or perhaps something to nip at during an Indian Summer evening?

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • David Leite says:

      Mr. Kitchenbeard, when have you ever seen me turn up my nose at a wee bit of vodka? I think the combo is swell. I’m scrounging for a tomato and cucumber as I write….

  7. Ling Teo says:

    So wonderfully visual! :D

  8. Michelle says:

    Hi! Let me tell you, this tart is amazing. I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes from the garden and wanted to try something different. Because of my food allergies, I swapped out a bunch of ingredients for others ( example – full fat coconut milk for heavy cream, goat butter for regular butter and a gluten-free flour blend for regular flour) and it still came awesome. Great recipe! Thank you! I posted photos on my blog – it taste and looks amazing.

  9. Margaret says:

    I also went a little nuts with the cherry tomatoes so this sounds like a great way to use some up. Do you think this tart would be good to freeze after baking?


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