Cheaters Tomato Ricotta Tart

This recipe really shows off the bounty of summer tomatoes.  I am guilty of being a perpetual over-buyer of perfectly ripe tomatoes.  I also feel the need to invite people over for drinks, apps and dinner on the fly, sometimes at even 4 or 5 pm!  This tart is perfect for those last minute gatherings.  It’s easy, delicious, gorgeous looking, perfect for a weeknight and fancy enough for entertaining.

I always keep a block of puff pastry in my freezer.  The best and safest way to thaw puff pastry is in the fridge but it takes a while.  If you want to cheat (which is in keeping with the simplicity of this recipe), you can thaw it at room temperature but make sure to follow these rules:  place the frozen pastry on a stainless baking sheet or cast iron pan; this will draw the cold out faster. Then, every 15 minutes, press it down a little and flip it.  It should be ready in 1 hr or so but don’t let it get too soft.  Once it’s thawed you can put it in the fridge if you like.

The key to keeping the puff pastry from absorbing too much tomato liquid and producing a soggy crust is cooking the tart on the bottom rack in the oven, as you would a pizza.  Or you can cook it on a preheated pizza stone or cast iron griddle sheet.

Whichever method you choose, I promise, this tart will be a treat!

Cheaters Tomato and Ricotta Tart

Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 basil leaves, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped a little
  • 1 454gram/1 pound box or bag of puff pastry, thawed*
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling
  • 3 large tomatoes, heirloom if possible, you will need 9 or 10 ½-inch thick slices
  • About ½ to ¾ cup full fat ricotta cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 12 small basil leaves, left whole
  • Flaked sea salt

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced basil and garlic.  Let this sit as long as possible, sometimes I will let this sit all day.
  • Place a cookie sheet in the oven on the bottom rack and preheat the oven to 375˚F (with the cookie sheet in it).
  • Unwrap the puff pastry and unfold it as best as you can.  Roll it out to be the size of a cookie sheet, I do this on a lightly floured parchment paper.  If you have a second cookie sheet, the same size as the one in the oven, place the rolled out pastry on the parchment on that second sheet.  This will give you a surface to work on.  Roll the edges over so that you form a crust, now the rectangle will be smaller than the sheet.
  • Brush the rolled crust with some of the beaten egg.  Brush the bottom of the pastry with some of the garlic basil oil, leaving the garlic behind.  Sprinkle with salt.
  • Lay the tomato slices on the pastry, leaving room between each one.  Dollop tablespoons of ricotta throughout and around the tomato slices.
  • Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
  • REMOVE the heated cookie sheet from the oven and TRANSFER the parchment with the tart onto the hot sheet.  Place in the oven on the bottom rack.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and the tomatoes have shrunken and coloured.  Cook a little longer if the centre of the tart has liquid pooling.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil leaves. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

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