This Tomato Mozzarella Basil Tart holds a special place in my blogger-heart, because when I saw it on Annie’s Eats back in September of 2009, it was one of the first times I thought “Wow! That looks delicious. Maybe I should try that myself…”
Many similar moments later, both online and in the kitchen, I decided I wanted to start my own blog…so for that I celebrate this tart, and the fact that it also inspired me to purchase a removable-bottom tart pan.
I rarely use it, but having it in my pan arsenal makes me feel fancy.
In my humble opinion, few culinary combinations are as perfect as basil, tomato, and mozzarella. Whether cold in a Caprese salad, toasted in a panini, or hot and melted on a pizza…it’s a winning trio, and I am an ardent fan.
This version of the “Big 3” is in the form of a savory tart. By flavoring the dough for the crust with chopped basil and garlic, you are guaranteeing maximum flavor in every buttery, cheesy, herby bite.
Before the filling is added the crust is “blind-baked.” Blind-baking calls for the crust to be lined with foil or parchment which is then anchored down with your choice of pie weight. This process prepares the crust for its filling, while also ensuring that the crust won’t bubble or shrink.
My pie weights are dried beans, but you can also purchase ceramic balls or linked steel beads to get the job done.
The blind-baked crust (note how my crust shrank anyway from uncooked to blind-baked) is then filled with mozzarella, cherry or grape tomatoes, and basil. An optional sprinkling of parmesan on top, and you’re ready for the final bake.
I learned a valuable lesson when I made this for Easter. It should be served hot or at least warm. I was thinking it could be like quiche, and served at room temp. Must have been the Peep-Tini clouding my judgement, because that was a poor assumption.
Serve this baby hot.
For the dough:
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4-5 tbsp. ice-cold water
For the filling:
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
Ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
- To make the dough, first combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely minced.
- Add the flour and salt and pulse briefly. Add in the cubes of butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the ice 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 or overnight.
- 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.
- Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil or parchment and pie weights.
- Return the tart shell to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes. 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 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.
- Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Do not serve at room temperature!