Sunday, September 16, 2007

Charming Tomato Tarts

My dear friend Peabody is going to be annoyed with me. Another post about tomatoes. If she ate these tarts she would end up in the hospital, so Pea, these are not for you. I bet you could replace the 'maters with squash circles or asparagus spears and it would still be yummy.

Minis are so much fun. There is something about a smaller version of foods that we like that is somehow more charming than the larger version.

Tomato tarts are one of the nicest ways to capture the essence of warm tomatoes now that harvest season for tomatoes is in full swing. Smaller tomato tarts, like the ones I made tonight, have the added delight of being made with just one type of tomato in each tartlet and of being small enough to eat in a few bites, held in the hand, so that you can smell that great tomato fragrance each time you bite into the tart.

The inspiration came from an article in the Press Democrat, our local paper. Since they are part of the New York Times stable, they often carry articles from that paper. This is one. Melissa Clark wrote about 'A week's worth of sweet, summer tomatoes', published in the P.D. on Sept. 5.

Her tartlet recipe used mascarpone cheese for the filling. I used ricotta cheese mixed with an egg, and then I folded in chopped basil and freshly ground pepper. I pinched my little tartlets up around the tomato slices, but they decided to flatten out during baking. Even so, they were delicious. The pastry was flaky and buttery, which combined well with the sweetness of the hot tomatoes and the nutty Parmesan cheese, lively basil and mellow ricotta. We each had three and I sure wish I had made more.

Multicolored Tomato Tartlets

2-3 small firm but ripe heirloom tmatoes, preferably in different colors
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted but cold
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 small to medium egg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper - about 1/4 teaspoon
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the puff pastry sheet on the parchment paper and cut out circles using a small sharp knife. (I used a wide mouth canning jar lid) Set aside the rest of the puff pastry that isn't circles, or cut rectangles from the scraps if any are large enough. Set each puff pastry circle or rectangle evenly apart on the baking sheet.

In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, basil, and pepper. Set aside.

Slice stem and bottom ends from the tomatoes. Save for another use or discard.

Slice remaing tomato crosswise into rounds 1/2 inch thick. You will need 6 or more nice rounds. (You may have to trim the slices to fit the rectangles if you are using them, or slice cherry or small pear tomatoes in half for the rectangles.) The tomato slices should be about 1 inch smaller in diameter than the pastry rounds.

Place about a tablespoon of the ricotta cheese mixture in the center of each pastry piece, spread out to about 1/2 inch from the edge. Place a tomato slice on top.



Pinch edges of pastry up around the tomato slice edges. Scatter parmesan over the pastries.

Bake until the pastry if puffed and golden, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

15 comments:

Anh said...

Elle, these surely are charming. I just love the colors of tomatoes there. Perfect!

african vanielje said...

LOVE these!!! And so quick and easy too.

Deborah said...

How delicious!! And I agree, the minis are adorable.

Peabody said...

See, this is what I hate about being allergic...they look so good!!!!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That is a very lucky looking tomato!
Your tarts look beautiful. I bet they were yummy too.

Elle said...

Ahn, Thank you! It is fun to use different colors.

Inge, Very quick and easy (but they look impressive...shhh, don't tell).

Deborah, Yay for minis!

Peabody, Sorry, but do try it with another veg.

Sandi, They were yummy and juicy...wish I could send you one Sweetie.

Tartelette said...

They look wonderful, perfect for a light lunch on the porch!

Cynthia said...

Elle, this is such a great idea. I love the minis. I've bookmarked the page so that I can return when time comes for me to try them. Totally poppable!

veron said...

anh is right! They are charming! And I love tomato tarts, there is nothing as delicious like it.

Kelly-Jane said...

I've said it before you are so lucky with all those gorgeous tomatoes!

Inne said...

Wow, these li'l tarts look incredibly delicious, Elle. Easy but impressive. Btw, I tagged you for a meme, have fun.

Brilynn said...

Those are charming tarts indeed! Puff pastry is such a life saver...

Anna Haight said...

Do these ever look good! And very charming too!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

These look so good! You're right about the miniatures.

Elle said...

Helen, Yes, these are light and easy.

Cynthia, This shoud be the kind of thing that you can change by throwing other veggies on instead of the tomato. Let me know if you make it.

Veron, Never tried little tarts before,but you are right.

Kelly-Jane, Tell Sweetie that...he has been watering them while it has been hot. Good thing he likes tomatoes, too. :)

Inne, Thanks for the meme and the nice words.

Brilynn, You ae so right...puff pastry is the bomb.

Anna, Maybe we can share some in October?

Amanda, Thanks! Love the minis.