This summery tart is part quiche, part ricotta pie – and wholly delicious! Perfect for dining al fresco, whether lunch, brunch, weekday dinner, or Meatless Monday – the Herbed Heirloom Tomato Tart is a summery dish that is at once creamy, luscious, and lightly filling with a delicately flaky crust. This is the first time I’ve added coconut oil and I think it made the crust even more tender than when made with only butter. The creaminess comes from using ricotta, which is also much lower in sodium than feta or aged cheese. For us, the fresh flavors of this sunny tart was a welcome departure from the rich multi-course feasts that marked last week’s festivities in China.
Our highly anticipated week in Shanghai was bursting with Grand Opening excitement, drama, speeches, interviews, endless discussion about the business climate and future prospects and, after three non-stop days, we were bursting at the seams from one business luncheon after another filled with tables of traditional Chinese hot dishes, dim sum, and desserts. Then a mere four hours later whisked by car (well, actually creeping by car through Shanghai’s gridlock of traffic) to exuberant three-hour celebratory dinners punctuated with congratulatory toasts until our minds were depleted of things or people to congratulate and we were one, as a family in the Chinese tradition, singing “We Are Family” in a private karaoke session and bonding over arm wrestling as Franklin D.Roosevelt looked on (more on this later) .
Herbed Heirloom Tomato Tart
A light and luscious creamy tart with a tender flaky crust and bright pops of colorful heirloom tomatoes nestled in herbed cheese.
½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
1 large egg
8 ounces organic heirloom cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons Colman’s mustard
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Emmi Le Gruyere*
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used Meyer lemon olive oil)
3 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Equipment: 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom
* I used Emmi Le Gruyere – one of Emmi’s premium specialty cheeses, Le Gruyère® is among the world’s most savored cheeses, made from recipes dating back to 1155 AD. To earn the Le Gruyère® AOC label, strict guidelines are followed. The farmer insures that the cows are fed on a naturally sustainable diet pastured grass in the summer and hay in the winter. The cheese is made only in copper vats, which allow quick temperature changes and impart a unique, complex character. As the cheese slowly matures in special cellars, every wheel is delicately turned, lightly brined and brushed. This careful process brings out Le Gruyères® distinctive flavor, with notes of candied walnuts, dried fruit and spice, it melts beautifully and is a luxurious vehicle for the herbs and tomatoes of this tart.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1. In a food processor or bowl, combine flour, butter and coconut oil. Whirl or cut in with pastry blender or two knives until fine crumbs form. Add egg and whirl or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Pat dough into a ball, then press evenly over bottom and sides of a 10-inch prepared (greased) tart pan with removable rim.
2. Bake in oven until crust is pale gold, about 30 minutes.
3. While the crust is baking, cut cherry tomatoes tomatoes in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, mix oil with onion, garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary and stir into the ricotta.
4. Remove baked crust from oven and turn oven to 400 degrees. Spread mustard over bottom of crust, add dollops of half the ricotta cheese mixture and spread evenly, dot with cherry tomato halves, then, sprinkle evenly with half the gruyere cheese, repeat with another layer.
6. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes. Remove pan rim. Cut into wedges and serve.