This is probably one of the most beautiful things that I have made in some time. A light, golden-brown puff pastry filled with mozzarella, pesto, blistered tomatoes and fresh herbs. The recipe looks a bit daunting — home-made pesto and a multi-step process. However, once you get the puff pastry in the oven it moves along quite nicely. This dish makes a striking presentation at a brunch or dinner buffet – the bright red and green colors give a festive, holiday look to the table. Wonderful warm or at room temperature.
PUFF PASTRY TOMATO TART (Serves 6)
For the Puff Pastry Tomato Tart:
- 2 sheets frozen pastry puff sheets (thawed but chilled)
- 8 ozs sliced mozzarella
- 1/2 cup pesto (see below or HERE for traditional basil pesto)
- 6 cups cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp fresh chives (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsps flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
For the Macadamia Nut Pesto:
- 2 garlic cloves (medium)
- 2 cups fresh basil (about 2 basil plants)
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
- 3/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese (grated)
- salt (to taste)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- Heat the oven to 375° F. Line a 15″ x 10″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
- Use a rolling pin to adjust the size of the puff pastry. You want the two sheets of puff pastry to cover the bottom & sides of the baking sheet once they are laid side-by-side. Press the dough into the bottom & sides of the pan.
- Using a paring knife, lightly score a border where the bottom of the dough meets the sides. Trim any pastry dough that is hanging over the edge of the pan.
- To prevent the bottom of the tart from puffing up, use a fork to prick the bottom all over. Since you scored a border, the sides should still puff up. Line the bottom and the sides with parchment paper and place dried beans on top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden. Remove the beans and the parchment paper.
- Add slices of mozzarella cheese and top with pesto. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove the tart from the oven and set aside.
- Heat oven to a broil and move the rack so that it is right under the element.
- Place the tomatoes in a big bowl and mix with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and broil 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes start to blister.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and reduce the heat to 425°.
- Finely chop the oregano, chives and parsley.
- Spread the tomatoes out in an even layer on top of the cheese and pesto. Sprinkle the herb mixture on top.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before serving.