Tomato Ricotta Tart (serves 4-6)
- 1 puff pastry, thawed
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 8 oz ricotta, water drained off
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- small handful fresh basil, chopped
- olive oil
- basil leaves
2. Combine the shallot/garlic mixture with the ricotta. Add the basil and salt to taste. Don't clean the pan used to sautee the shallots and garlic, you'll need it later.
3. Place the thawed puff pastry on a lightly oiled baking sheet. As with the zucchini-goat cheese tart, lightly score the perimeter of the pastry, about 1 inch in, without puncturing through the pastry.
4. Place a layer of sliced fresh mozzarella on the puff pastry, avoiding the edges.
5. Using a rubber scraper, spread the ricotta mixture over the mozzarella.
6. Place the tomatoes on top of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes.
7. Using a pastry brush, brush any remaining oil mixture off the pan and onto the edges of the puff pastry crust.
8. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the pastry are golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature. Tuck in basil leaves among the tomatoes if desired.
Kitchen Notes: You don't need to drain the ricotta with a cheese cloth, however, removing any excess liquid that comes with relatively unprocessed ricotta is an important step, it will help the mixture from becoming waterlogged and the puff pastry from becoming soggy. Learn from my mistakes: The top layer should have more tomatoes than you think you will need. The tomatoes didn't shrink much while baking, but while cooling, the tomatoes contracted. It tasted fine, but I would have enjoyed a few more tomatoes. A slight overlap should work fine. I made the mistake (and I knew better) of placing the basil leave on top of the tart before baking, this should be done after the tart comes out of the oven.
Verdict? The texture of this is divine. The quality of the ingredients is going to drive this dish. First, you crunch into the flaky, buttery, pastry. Next, the juicy ripe tomatoes, followed by the rich (but not too rich) and creamy ricotta, and ending with the satisfyingly chewy mozzarella. Given that it's got both cheese and puff pastry, it's surprisingly light and clean tasting.