Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

by Melissa on October 21, 2011

Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella. These ingredients make this tart sound like a perfect summer recipe, but after making it last weekend, there was no way I could wait until next summer to post about it! I realize tomatoes aren’t as fresh and juicy, and basil isn’t as green right now, but this tart is still good, really good.

Buttery tart crust is made even more delicious with fresh garlic and basil mixed right in, then it is baked and topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, even more basil and baked again. I served this as an appetizer, you could also have it as a nice lunch or dinner entrée.

Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

For the dough:

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 4-5 tbsp. ice cold water

For the filling:

  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp. minced fresh basil

To make the dough, combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely minced. Add the flour and salt; pulse briefly to combine. Add in the chunks of butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add 1 more tablespoon and process for several seconds to see if the dough forms a ball. If not, add the remaining tablespoon of water and process until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough, flatten into a 5-inch disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 425° F. Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over a 9-inch round tart pan and press it into the sides. Trim the excess dough as needed. (I use this to reinforce the edges.) Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with baking beads. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil or parchment and baking beads. Return the empty tart shell to the oven to bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 375° F.

Layer the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell with the sliced mozzarella. Arrange the cherry tomato slices on top of the cheese in a single even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and minced fresh basil.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places. About halfway through baking, rotate the tart 180° and wick off any excess moisture that has collected on top with a towel if necessary. Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source: Originally from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, adapted by Ezra Pound Cake and Annie’s Eats.

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