This fresh tomato tart is laden with slices of summer tomato—preferably heirloom—on an herbed crust topped with creamy goat cheese and finished with a pesto vinaigrette. Elegant and impressive yet (shhhhh!) really quite easy.
For the past several years, nearly every day in August, The One has walked into the house with bowls full of the most amazing tomatoes. (Me, I’ve sadly had to stay out of the garden due to a pernicious and long-standing bout with Lyme disease.) And while we’ve canned the tomatoes and made freezer tomato sauce and homemade tomato ketchup and tomato-you-name-it, we still tend to have quite a lot piling up on the kitchen table. Nothing compares to the taste of fresh tomatoes (although I can do without the gooey seedy part as I’m not a fan of that texture). So I came up with the simplest of simple recipes. I used my favorite herbed tart crust, some goat cheese, slices of profanely plump and juicy tomatoes, and a pesto vinaigrette. Terrific anytime late summer, whether you devour it as lunch, a starter, even a midnight nosh.–David Leite
Fresh Tomato Tart
For the herbed crust
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 tablespoons (6 oz) unsalted butter cold, and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
For the tomato tart filling
For the pesto vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade pesto
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the tomatoes
- About 1 pound heirloom tomatoes any color, large and small, sliced about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
Make the herbed crust
- 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 again until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with chunks of butter no bigger than small peas, 10 to 15 one-second pulses.
- Dump the tart crust mixture into a large bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons ice water.
- Using a fork, gently mix just 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.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Place the oven rack in the middle position.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch (33-cm) circle. Ease it into an 11-inch (28-cm) tart pan, fitting it snugly against the sides and bottom of the pan, and trim the excess.
- Prick the bottom with a fork and cover with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill the tart with pie weights or beans.
- Bake the tart crust for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment or foil and bake until pale golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let cool.
Make the tomato tart filling
- In a medium bowl, mix the cheese and cream until smooth. Season with pepper and mix in the pesto.
Make the pesto vinaigrette
- In a medium bowl, combine the pesto vinaigrette ingredients and stir until smooth and loose.
Assemble the tomato tart
- Smooth the goat cheese and pesto mixture on the herbed crust.
- Top with the tomatoes, arranging them however you please and creating a couple layers.
- Just before serving, drizzle with the pesto vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Everything went off without a hitch in this recipe. The crust is perfect (even if you don’t have a tart pan—I used a pie plate!), the filling is creamy and full of flavor, and the addition of herby, garlicky pesto is simply lovely. A wonderful cold summer dish! And as a bonus, it’s completely breakfast worthy, too.
I used a 9-inch pie plate, but there was enough extra dough that I know an 11-inch tart pan would have been just fine, too.
For the pesto, I kept things seasonal with a garlic scape recipe with basil and pine nuts. The pesto vinaigrette was perfectly loose—a good, saucy texture.
This crust…wow. It turned out SO PERFECT. I’d almost say it’s foolproof.
This blew me away. I was looking for a good summer dinner that I could both make ahead and that wouldn’t warm us up too much, and this fit the bill. So delicious–rich, creamy goat cheese, juicy sweet tomatoes, and tart pesto vinaigrette absolutely delivers!
It’s a fantastic way to use some of those big, fat heirloom tomatoes from the weekend farmer’s market! I’m also a pesto freak (I used plain old store-bought pesto) and always have some on hand, and this lets you put it to use two different ways.
Tomatoes and goat cheese? Yes, please! Super easy to put together, this can really elevate your brunch, lunch, or dinner. I promise your guests will love it and think you went to all kinds of trouble just for them. My husband did the shopping this week and chose only 2 types of heirlooms but next time I think I would choose a variety of smaller ones to get more color.
The herbed crust really steps this up and was super easy, just make sure you plan ahead to let it chill for an hour and make sure you put it back in the oven after removing the pie weights and parchment. This really helps to have a firm crust that doesn’t go soggy when you add the tomatoes. The goat cheese mixture made quite a bit and I put most of it in the tart. Next time, I wouldn’t use all of it, just try to get equal parts cheese to equal part tomatoes. Enjoy!!
Elevated loveliness, guaranteed, whether brunch or dinner or picnic. Oh, and what a gardener’s bliss! This recipe sent me right out to my garden for fresh herbs, including basil for the pesto. And when I make the tart again later in the season, it will be adorned with tomatoes straight from my backyard. Gardener or not, you’ll be enchanted by this delicious seasonal tart with luscious filling.
The recipe earns additional points for being easy and practical, too. A fresh filling, instead of a custard, minimizes the baking time in the hot summer months. The herbed crust is light and thin but sturdy enough to be sliced without crumbling. A good serrated knife is your best friend here—it cuts clean through the tomato slices of varied sizes for a beautiful presentation. Leftover portions refrigerated well. The tomatoes were still juicy and flavorful, and the filling and the crust weren’t soggy at all the following day.
One pointer: Hold the salt and pepper for the filling but add the pesto first instead and taste. Depending on how much Parmesan is in your pesto, salt may not be needed.
This fresh tomato tart is a great summer dinner or brunch dish. It’s very, very simple to make and other than baking the crust, there’s almost no cooking, which makes it perfect for hot days. I assembled the crust the day before I was serving this and let it chill overnight. Then I baked it in the morning and assembled the tart right before dinner.
I love the crust recipe and will likely use it in other tarts and quiches. It’s buttery, flaky, and savory without being too salty. I will probably like this even more when tomatoes are in peak season, which means I didn’t have a ton of options and I would have preferred smaller tomatoes than the ones I used. I used a beautiful red heirloom variety I found at a farmers market. I also would have preferred if the tomatoes had had some salt and pepper on them to begin with so it has a bit of time to marry with them, to just make them feel a bit more finished.
I really like the pesto vinaigrette. That will top many things in the future. And it was a great opportunity to use up the last of last year’s pesto in my freezer. All in all this is a very good recipe that will likely revisit in the future.
Originally published August 20, 2020