In honor of our Sixth Annual Tomato Art Fest this past Saturday, I made these thick, savory-sweet tarts and promptly sold them by the slice out of our Local Food Tent. Slow Food Nashville, The Friends of the Nashville Farmers Market, and the Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee shared side-by-side tents at the festival, giving away tastes of Orange-Tomato-Cardamon Ice Cream, Grilled Trout and Tomato Sandwiches, Mountain Ridge and Bradley tomato bites.
We also had a huge Tomato Bake Sale to raise money for the Food Security Partners. It featured quite the array of All Things Tomato, from tomato-feta foccaccia to green tomato coffeecake, tomato-basil scones, tomato-dill bread, tomato-mozzarella calzones, purple cherokee cherry tomatoes filled with homemade ricotta, tomato-corn muffins, (beginning to seem like a Forrest Gump recitation…)
and this deep-dish heirloom peach roma-lemon basil tart!
The foundation for this recipe came to me many years ago via baker Tonya Marinelli’s mom, Gail. It became an oft-made brunch dish at my catering company, using ripe red tomatoes, genovese basil, baked in a regular pie dish.
Gigi had given me these unique heirloom romas, some peach in color, some yellow, grown in her Wedgewood Urban Gardens. These tomatoes were indeed beautiful–I’d never seen any like them–and, unlike many red romas I’ve eaten, these heirlooms were exceptionally sweet and juicy, with lemony citrus notes. That inspired me to pair them with my lemon basil in the pie, and increase the original recipe by one-and a -half to make it extra tall and rich.
Remember, the recipe can be simply altered to use any variety of tomato and basil you like. I also made one with the bold “Mortgage Lifter” tomato and pesto. It sold out before I could try it, but the word on the street was “day-um.”
Pastry Crust (PÃ¢te BrisÃ©e)
1 cup all purpose flour
6 Tablespoons chilled Butter, cut into small pieces
Â¼ teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons Ice water
pesto and pine nuts
Place flour, chilled butter and salt into a food processor fitted with the pastry blade. Pulse,until the mixture is blended and like coarse meal. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and process until the mixture gathers into a ball-like mass. Remove, shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12â€circle. Drape over your 9â€ deep pie or springform pan. Press the dough to the bottom and sides, taking care not to stretch it. Brush pesto onto the pastry surface, prick pie bottom with a fork, and scatter with pinenuts, which double as pie weights.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool before adding the filling.
Deep-Dish Peach Roma-Lemon Basil Tart
1 9â€ deep pastry shell, brushed with pesto, weighted with pine nuts and prebaked
1 Â½ cups mayo
1 Â½ cups grated parmesan
1 teaspoon black pepper
Â½ teaspoon granulated garlic
Â½ teaspoon salt
4-6 ripe Tomatoes, sliced medium thickness
1 Â½ cups chopped fresh Lemon Basil leaves
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Â½ cup shredded White Cheddar
In a bowl, mix until well combined: egg, mayo, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper.
Cover the bottom of the pie crust with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Top with a layer of chopped basil. Spoon about half of the egg-mayo-parmesan mixture over that and top with shredded cheeses. Repeat the layering. Decorate the top with tomato slices and basil leaves.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until golden. Serve warm, or at room temperature. One tart serves 12-15.