With early September tomatoes it’s worth making a luscious tart. Who needs pizza when you can make this? The fresh tastes and combination of flavors can bring tears to your eyes. I experimented making this to bring to a music and poetry salon in the mountains surrounding Woodstock, NY. I used a rectilinear pan, like the kind used for making a French apple tart, but finding a platter long and narrow can be a problem. Make it in a round pan placing the tomato slices all around and layer them toward the center, or vice verse. Either way it will be a hit. You may want to make two. It’s the ultimate seasonal dish. Can’t freeze it. Can’t store it. Nope. Just enjoy.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar + 2 teaspoons
4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter + 2 tablespoons
½ cup ice water
Place the flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse to blend. Cut up 4 ounces or 1 stick of butter and add to the flour. Pulse to blend. Add enough water to make everything just barely stick together into a ball. Take out on to a flour sprinkled surface and knead a bit to bring together. Then make into a flattened ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate an hour or overnight.
Take out the pie dough and let it rest about 15-20 minutes or just enough so that you can roll it out. The warmth of your hand can move this process along. If you are using a rectangular tart pan, roll out the dough to fit. For a round pan, do the same. There should be an overhang in either case. Take the rolling pin and roll it over the edge to cut the dough. Put the pan with the dough into the freezer (or refrigerator) for at least 20 minutes to get good an cold. Then fill.
Set the Oven to 375°F. and allow to come to temperature.
2-3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 full tablespoon, Basil chopped
Extra-virgin Olive oil
6-8 Tomatoes, medium size, ¼ inch slice, core removed
1/2 teaspoon Thyme leaves
Ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely chopped (optional)
Coarse salt, Malden
Parmigiano-Reggiono or Grana Padano cheese
If you purchase a bunch of basil and want to preserve it without making pesto first, chop it finely, place it in a glass jar and cover it with olive oil. Use a full tablespoon of it to mix with the mayonnaise. Smear a thin but adequate layer on the pastry dough in the tart pan.
Place the sliced tomatoes on top of the basil mayonnaise in neat rows. For the rectilinear pan place about three overlapping slices across the short side and keep layering until the pan is full. See photo. Using your fingers, rub the thyme and toss over the tomatoes. Do the same with freshly ground black pepper and chopped lemon zest. (You could use a good quality lemon pepper here.) No salt yet.
Place on a sheet pan and bake in the center of the oven until golden, about 20-35 minutes. The crust will brown a bit and the tomatoes will glisten.
Remove to a rack. Sprinkle the coarse salt. Take a fork and plunk it into some honey then quickly drizzle just a little over the tart…like a wand. Using a peeler, scrape the cheese to fall helter-skelter over the tart. Finally, drizzle a bit – not too much - of condiment quality extra-virgin olive oil over the top. Let cook. Remove from the mold. Watch this disappear. (Cut a slice for yourself to be sure.)