• Heirloom Tomato Tart

Guest Feature: Heirloom Tomato Tart

Last  Sunday morning, I was enjoying coffee and  pancakes with my family over an episode of “Goldie and Bear.”   Usually I’m half tuned in to my daughter’s cartoons, but one of the scenes in this episode caught my eye.  “Goldie’s Do-Over Day,” a story about a spell “that lets you do things over. lt comes in handy when you make a mistake.”

I flashed to several years ago,  one Friday night, when I attempted to make  homemade pizza for my friends. I’ll never forget my roommate Amber and our friend Josh, who kindly ate the toppings off of raw, burnt pizza dough, to spare my feelings.  Thinking about that night, I started to have memories of about a million other baking mishaps. Like Goldie, I would have used “do-over” potion again and again, if I had it.  

But as the episode continued, the  spell began to backfire. Goldie became increasingly  more obsessed with being perfect. Re-doing everything just led to different mistakes, even worse than the original.  And ironically, the more attempts at being flawless, the more flaws.

When I think back to my pizza gone wrong, I don’t feel any disappointment.  I only remember laughing with my friends. Amber and Josh’s willingness to endure indigestion sealed our bond for life. It also set me on a mission to find an alternative. The result of my research: an easy and creative twist on  homemade pizza….An Heirloom Tomato Tart.

This recipe is one of my favorites because it allows some wiggle room, a little margin for error.   The measurements and the ingredients don’t have to be exact and the tomatoes can be mixed and matched. Any grated cheese will do.   I’ve never made it exactly the same way, mostly because I measured something wrong, or ran out of this or that. But, flaws and all, I’ve never needed a “do-over.”  

When my friend Nicole told me she would be in town with her family, I knew this Tart was the exact dish that I wanted to make for them.  And just as I had hoped, our kids couldn’t resist joining in on the process. A little too much flour, an extra scoop of mustard, and a few uneven  handfuls of cheese later, the tart was still…perfect, my favorite version yet.

So, maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t have access to a “do-over” potion the moment we stumble.  So often, the mis-steps are what force courage and creativity that we never knew we had. And sometimes those little blunders guide us toward an unplanned evening of laughter.  To my friends Amber and Josh, it’s been 10 years since pizza night at the Irene Apartments. Since then, we’ve all come a long way. As for dinner, I think it’s officially time for a  “do-over!“

Inspired by Anna’s Tomato Tart, recipe by Ina Garten

Heirloom Tomato Tart
Heirloom Tomato Tart
Heirloom Tomato Tart
Heirloom Tomato Tart
Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 65 mins
Servings: 6


  • 2.5 Cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • ½ Cup ice water
  • 2.5 lbs ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 Cups fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 Small garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de provence
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon pepper
  • ½ Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 16 ounces shredded gruyere cheese
  • 6-8 ounces (1 cup) grated parmesan cheese


  1. Make The Tart Dough:
  2. In a food processor, add flour and salt. Pulse a few times to mix. Add in cubed butter, then pulse several times until the butter looks like little pebbles. Add egg yolks, then pulse again to incorporate. While the food processor is running, stream in ice water just until a dough forms. It should be lumpy, and craggy. Line a flat surface with plastic wrap, and turn out the dough directly onto the plastic wrap. With your hands, pat into a disk, tightly wrap with the plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to three days in advance.
  3. When you are ready to bake the dough, preheat oven to 400 degrees, and take the dough out of the fridge.
  4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Dust some flour on a flat surface, then unwrap the cold dough. Before rolling out the dough, pat with a rolling pin to soften and flatten it a bit. This helps prevent the dough from cracking when you roll it out. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle to fit the cookie sheet. Gently drape the dough over the lined sheet, cutting off any edges that spill over. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can use dough scraps like silly putty, to fill in any cracks at the edges of the cookie sheet. Place the second sheet of parchment paper directly on top of the tart dough, then layer the second cookie sheet over the parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. While the dough is baking, Slice the tomatoes, about a ¼ inch thick, then place in a bowl. At this time, you can Prepare the herb mixture
  6. In a food processor, add the basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Pulse a few times to chop.
  7. While the motor is running, stream in olive oil to create a dressing. Pour herb dressing over the tomatoes, and toss until all tomatoes are covered. Set aside.
  8. After the dough bakes for the initial 15 minutes in the oven, remove from the oven, then remove the top cookie sheet and parchment paper. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then pop back into the oven for 8-10 more minutes. You will no longer need the top layer of parchment paper or the top cookie sheet. At this time, grate the cheeses.
  9. Remove the crust from the oven, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
  10. Begin To Build The Tart:
  11. Start by brushing the mustard onto the warm tart crust. Sprinkle generously with cheeses, making sure to reserve a little bit for the top.
  12. Layer the herbed tomato slices over the cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the tomatoes, then place back in the oven.
  13. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Allow the tart to cool about 10 minutes before slicing.

Helpful Tips:

Make the dough ahead and keep it tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to three days. Dough keeps for up to 2 months in the freezer. If frozen, thaw the dough in the fridge overnight. Grate the cheeses a day ahead, and seal a freezer bag or glass container in the refrigerator until you are ready to build your Tart. Tomatoes can be marinated several hours ahead until ready to use. For example, if you plan to make the Tart for dinner, you can slice and marinate the tomatoes at breakfast-time. Cover, and leave at room temperature. Left-overs? Wrap the cooled slices in foil. Place in a freezer bag and keep in the freezer until ready to reheat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, unwrap frozen tarts and place them on a cookie sheet. Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until warmed through, and voila! Dinner is served. Why heirloom tomatoes? Because they are very flavorful and colorful. Can’t find them? Use any accessible tomatoes, any size or shape. Just make sure to slice them about the same thickness so that they cook evenly.

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