The classic tomato, basil and mozzarella baked in a pesto tart! I served this as an appetizer to a grilled steak dinner. Instead of cutting into wedges, I cut into squares as finger food serving it at room temperature. The pesto crust complimented the mozzarella and fresh vine ripened tomatoes. I wasn’t sure how adding pesto to my basic crust recipe would work, but it turned about amazing! I like to use Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee (basic pie crust) recipe as my go to recipe. I find it always turns out perfect! This crust recipe will make two crusts, therefore, I froze the other one for future use.
This could be served warm as well with a tossed salad as a lunch or brunch entre. I love gorgonzola and thought of adding it to the tart; however, I was not familiar with my guests preferences and decided to keep it safe and classic.
Tomato, Basil Mozzarella Tart with Pesto Crust
For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted in 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup pesto 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
For the Filling:
8 oz sliced fresh mozzarella
3 vine ripe tomatoes, cut into thin slices
Fresh basil, small bunch finely sliced
Salt, pepper and garlic powder
For the crust: Make sure all ingredients are cold. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the pieces of butter and pesto pulsing for about 10 seconds or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add the ice water through the feed tube while the machine is running until the dough begins to clump together. I generally only use 1/4 of a cup of water. Do not over process.
Divide the dough in half and place on two sheets of plastic wrap. Gently form dough into a ball and flatten a bit. Wrap each in the plastic wrap and refrigerate one to use for this tart for one hour and freeze the other. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated up to one day.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the chilled dough and turn it out onto a floured rolling mat or large piece of plastic wrap. Lightly flour the rolling pin and press down on the dough. Roll out the dough from the center out, continuing to turn and flip the dough. When the dough is rolled out to fit the tart pan, gently transfer dough on rolling pin to the tart pan (sprayed with Pam) and press into the sides and bottom gently.
Prebake the pastry shell by lining the crust with aluminum foil and weighing down with beans, rise or ceramic weights. Bake for 15-18 minutes until pastry begins to brown around the edges, remove the foil and continue to bake a few minutes more to dry out and brown slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Maintain oven temperature.
Place the mozzarella slices evenly on the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle on chopped fresh basil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle on a bit more pepper and basil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes or keep at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.