Tomato and Basil Tart
Note: From “Plenty: Good, Uncomplicated Food,” by Diana Henry. “Go cultivate some vegetable love,” writes Henry. “It will improve your life immeasurably. Just looking at vegetables makes you feel healthy, gladdened by the colors, amazed at the abundance.” As for this easy-to-prepare tart, she writes: “Large, scarlet, fragrant with basil, this is a gorgeous tart and, in terms of cooking, is not much more than an assembly job. Do make sure your tomatoes are thinly sliced or they won’t become cooked through and slightly caramelize in the cooking time.”
• 2 3/4 lb. plum tomatoes
• 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 2/3 c. freshly grated Gruyère cheese
• 1 1/2 oz. basil leaves, torn, plus more for serving
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 17 oz. ready-made puff pastry
• Flour for baking sheet
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick. Use clean slices only, so discard the slice that has the core, and the end pieces, and use them for tomato sauce.
In a small bowl, mash the mascarpone with a fork. Add garlic, Parmesan, Gruyère, and salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
Lightly sprinkle a baking sheet with flour.
On a work surface, roll out pastry to make a 13-inch circle, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread mascarpone mix over puff pastry, leaving a 2-inch rim around the outside edge.
Starting from the outside edge, place tomatoes on the pastry in overlapping concentric circles, ending with one slice in the middle of the tart. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake an additional 35 minutes. Tomatoes should be slightly caramelized.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with torn basil leaves and serve immediately.
For a variation: Prepare the tart as above, but replace the Parmesan with really strong Cheddar cheese. Omit the basil. Before baking, sprinkle the tomato slices with the leaves from 5 sprigs of fresh thyme.