martha mondays: tomato tart

another round of martha mondays!

i hate the end of summer. shorter days, colder evenings. it all just means one depressing thing: crappy man winter is on its way. so you'll probably see me try to squeeze in every last drip drop of summer left here in the next couple of weeks. denial is a wonderful thing! ...
and so is this tomato tart!

i bought martha's baking handbook back around the holidays last year, and this was one of the first things that caught my eye. the thought of using blah winter hydroponic tomatoes seemed a waste of the whole effort, and so i had to wait it out six long months!

tomato tart

there's nothing tricky about this tart, just your standard pâte brisée dough, tomatoes, garlic, fontina cheese, and basil for garnish. i haven't made dough in quite a long time so i decided to make it with half vegetable shortening, half butter to make it easier to work with (in case you're wondering, shortening doesn't melt so that's what makes it easier). but i still had problems rolling it out, mainly because it became a wee crumbly as i tried to stretch it to 13 inches. so the dough got manhandled when putting into the tart pan, although it still turned out pretty flaky. note to self: more practice with pâte brisée! hmm ... i see all sorts of pies in my baking future :)

tomato tart

you could say this is just a fancy pizza, and even though the preparation and assembly is easy, it is a bit of total time needed (with the garlic roasting, baking, and cooling). but pizza never looked so amazing, smelled so awesome, or tasted so delish! next time i will have to come up with a way to dry the tomatoes a bit before baking so that the crust can stay a little more firm. but make this your next lazy sunday and maybe you, too, will forget that cold weather is almost here.

tomatoes, garlic, and fontina

it appears i also need more practice with my lovely camera and studio light set-up (there is no option for "natural" light since i ain't baking or cooking until well after sun down.) do you see all those blown highlights in the tomatoes and cheese?! ugh.

tomato tart: serves 4 as main (or 3 if you are anything like me!)
from martha's baking handbook (2005, p. 268)

1 head garlic
3 tb olive oil
1/2 recipe pâte brisée (follows)
3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
1 1/2 lbs ripe, firm tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
salt + pepper
12 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

1. preheat oven to 30F. place garlic on piece of aluminum foil; drizzle with 1 tb olive oil and fold foil to encase garlic, sealing folded edges well. place on baking sheet and roast until golden brown and top of knife easily pierces flesh, about 45 minutes. remove and let cool.

2. on lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 13 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. remove excess flour and fit dough into a 10 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, pressing into edges. use rolling pin to trim dough flush with top edge of tart pan; chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. raise heat in oven to 425F. when garlic is cooled, squeeze cloves out of their skins and into small bowl. mash with a fork and set aside while tart shell is chilling.

4. spread roasted garlic evenly on bottom of tart shell. sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated cheese. arrange tomato slices in overlapping circular pattern on top of cheese, working from outside towards the center. season with salt and pepper. sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese and drizzle with remaining 2 tb of olive oil.

5. bake tart until crust is golden and tomatoes are soft but retain shape, 45-55 minutes. cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. garnish with sliced basil leaves and serve warm. (you can make this a day ahead and reheat at 300F until warmed through.)

flaky crust

a yummy slice

pâte brisée: full recipe (use half for tomato tart)
from martha's baking handbook (p. 224)
note: i used half shortening, half butter - but i'm giving the recipe as written

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cold cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

1. combine flour and salt in food processor. add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces. (to mix by hand, combing dry ingredients in bowl and cut in butter with pastry blender.)

2. with machine running, add ice water through feed tube in slow, steady stream, just until dough holds together without being sticky. do not process more than 30 seconds. test by squeezing small amount of dough together; if it is crumbly, add more water 1 tb at a time.

3. turn out dough and divide in half, shaping into flattened disk and wrapped in plastic. refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. can also be frozen up to 1 month; thaw overnight in refrigerator before using.


  1. What a perfect tart to end summer with!

  2. gorgeous! my seattle tomatoes, however, never ripened!

  3. Gorgeous in every way...yes...even the pictures. True true beauty. Went back & checked thrice...no eggs Mimi? Hmmm,what a great great tart.It's deeply beautiful!!

  4. I saw this on her show, I think recently, and thought it looked DELISH! Yours looks fantastic - nice job!!! I should try this before summer sneaks away....

  5. This looks absolutely summery and perfect!

  6. I am totally going to make this. Gorgeous!

  7. This looks so scrumptious. Those nasty mealy winter tomatoes would have been a total waste. Great post as always. I've passed along an award to you. You can pick it up here. http://lisasmagicsprinkles.blogspot.com/

  8. Great looking tart! your pictures say it all - I am sure it is delicious.

  9. This is making me hungry!! I still have 7 tomatoes growing for once at the same pace...I know how to use them now!!

  10. That looks yummy, making me hungry... but sadly I was not able to make it with you becoz I didnt had the book with me... :( Anyhoo, great job Mimi! :)

  11. just a warning for anyone who is going to make it - the garlic is pretty strong, which i loved. but if you are garlic adverse i'd suggest reducing the amount you roast ... but why would you want to do that?! ;)

  12. What a beautiful tart. Such vibrant colours.

  13. Maybe you can increase the ISO of your camera to around 300 or 400 .. it is a good substitute for natural light.
    Great looking tart.:-)

  14. Try arranging tomato slices in a colander and salting them. After tomato juice leaks out, rinse then pat tomatoes dry. This will eliminate the moisture problem.

    Good luck!