• Kate

Tomato Tart

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

I am my mother’s daughter. Like her I love garlic, I love the smell and I love the taste. My mom had this trick with the bulb to make it soft and spreadable like a gourmet cheese. By wrapping the whole head in foil and baking it in oil she would fill the house with a warm rustic scent.

She would spread it on pizza or simply on a cracker and indulge in the flavors. I honestly completely forgot about this until I was talking about the wonderful being that is garlic with Zara. I was instantly bombarded with the memory of that smell and my mom working with the soft cloves.

So I bought a head of garlic, prepped it the way I remember my mom doing so, and popped it in the oven! A perfect base for a tomato tart.

Tomato Tart

For Crust

  • 1C Flour

  • ½ Tsp Salt

  • ⅓ C Vegetable Shortening

  • 1-4 Tbsp Water

For Filling

  • 1 Head Garlic

  • Olive Oil

  • 2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Basil

  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • 2 Tsp Orange Zest

I have stated this once before, I am not a wiz at baking. I can turn out a cookie when I want but those beautiful cakes and pies you see are not about to come out of my kitchen. How I wish!

I won’t back down from baking and will try my best at it. But I won't seek it out. I will happily give a bakery my money and save myself the stress. Because to me, baking is stressful. Reading the recipe over and over again. Flour getting everywhere. Watching the oven. Measuring every little thing….oh wait….that happens with cooking too.

But I find peace and joy with cooking. Even when there are a lot of the same components. Some people find that peace in the nuance of baking. I believe my friend Bill is one of them. He has made a pie crust for My Tiny Cook Spot before and it was flaky heaven. For this tomato tart, I was hoping he would be willing to do it again. And he was!

The following is passed along by my friend Bill for his pie crust. He wanted me to warn you that every time he makes a crust his measurements are different, it all depends on the day. You may laugh. I know I did, but he was serious. Depending on how dry or wet the day is will highly affect the dough.

He begins by cutting chilled shortening into cubes and using a fork to mix the cubes into the flour and salt. You want to break up the shortening into tiny gravel sized pebbles covered in flour. These bits help create the layers in the crust that allow the crust to be light and flaky.

He says that no matter what you want to try not to overwork the mixture, you don’t want to melt the shortening.

Next, you add ice cold water A LITTLE BIT at a time. This meaning one Tbsp at a time to avoid making the dough too wet. When the dough is sticking together, but not wet, form into a ball and set into the refrigerator for a few hours.

When it is time, flour your surface and your rolling implement and roll in every direction from the middle. We are aiming for a circular shape large enough that when you place in your pie dish there is enough extra hanging off the sides to crimp.

Bill had a large dish, more of a cake pan by my standards, so we were making a deep pie. If you are using a traditional pie pan you will not need as many tomatoes as I used, adjust accordingly.

While your dough is in the refrigerator you will preheat your oven to 400℉. Take your whole head of garlic and remove some of the skin. Taking a sharp knife cut off the top of the whole head (not the root end) so all cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. When it is cooled you should be able to squeeze the garlic out of its casing and it should be pretty easily spreadable.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 200℉. Prick the bottom of the dough several times and prebake the crust for 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown. Once it is finished and cool enough to handle it is time to fill it with some delicious things!

I cut my tomatoes into ½” slices then cut those slices in half so I could better puzzle piece them into my pie. As I mentioned, this was more of a cake pan then a pie dish so I ended up adding two layers of tomatoes to fill the whole thing. More tomatoes are never a bad thing!

Let’s prep the base of our tart before we fill it with our tomatoes. Remember that wonderful soft garlic we made? The one that made your home smell like an Italian kitchen? We are going to smear it along the bottom of our crust. Your hands will be the most effective instrument, time to get a little dirty.

Layer your tomatoes over top and bake for 20 minutes, or until your tomatoes are soft.

While it is still warm grate parmesan cheese over the top, I used a vegetable peeler because I wanted large thin pieces. Also, sprinkle whole basil leaves, orange zest, and with drizzle oil and vinegar.

I honestly couldn’t get over how it all came together and how something so simple and easy could look so elegant once completely put together. Fantastic warm familiar flavors landed on my tongue and reminded me of home.


Hear all about this adventure in Episode 5 of My Tiny Cook Spot

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All