Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

Sometimes choosing new recipes to make in the summer is a completely overbearing experience.  Hundreds of thousands of recipes using the freshest of ingredients – what’s a blogger to do?

In the case of this Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust, it was a no-brainer.  I’ve been hanging onto the recipe for 2 years and FINALLY made it as the local tomatoes were on their way out last summer with the full intention of sharing it with you. And you know what? The recipe totally flopped.

Womp womp. With a gummy crust and watery filling, this was generally a major fail of a meal.

But I vowed to avenge myself this summer! I knew it wasn’t the recipe. I knew it had partly to do with the fresh mozzarella that I foolishly used. So it’s obvious note to you: don’t use fresh mozzarella in this tart.

I made a special stop this weekend at a local farm stand and picked up a few gorgeous ripe local tomatoes, plucked some basil from my pots on the deck, and pulled this tart together in virtually no time. Now that I was actually able to eat this tart, I fell head over heels for the ever-simple tomato-basil-mozzarella combination all over again.

The basil garlic crust was crispy and amazing, the perfect complement to the fresh, roasted, sweet, and earthy tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella. A sprinkle of basil over the top of the baked tart is the last piece of this puzzle that no longer confounds me.

We served this tart alongside some grilled shrimp but a small salad, or some grilled chicken or sausages would be great options as well. I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to make this again as the summer rolls on and the tomatoes really come into their own later this month.

Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

  • Prep Time: 10min (dough) + 1hr to chill + 15min to assemble
  • Cook Time: 35-40min
  • Yield: 8 side dish or 12 appetizer servings

Notes

You might be tempted to use fresh mozzarella in this tart since the natural friend of fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic is fresh mozz. But in making this tart twice before getting it right, trust me when I say that fresh mozz will make this tart watery. Go for the good old packaged variety that you slice off of a block of cheese. It melts better than pre-packaged shredded cheese and won’t leave your tart a sloppy mess.

Ingredients

For the tart dough:
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp Kosher salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
4-5 tbsp ice water

For the filling:
8 oz sliced mozzarella (see note above)
1-2 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut crosswise into thin slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • 01

    To make the tart dough: Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water. Process until dough forms into a ball. Remove dough from processor.

  • 02

    Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)

  • 03

    Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into the pan. Trim the dough, and proceed with the recipe as directed.

  • 04

    Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  • 05

    To prepare the tart, filling, and assemble:  Press it into a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

  • 06

    Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.)

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  • August 1, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    This looks delicious. Isn’t it funny how you think fresh mozarella will do so well in any dish, but sometimes it just doesn’t melt the right way….That happened with a grilled chicken dish I made a few weeks ago. I love the garlic basil crust – you could use that for so many different things! Can’t beat the fresh tomatoes and walking out to your deck to get some basil – love summer:-).

  • August 1, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    Gorgeous, delicious!

  • August 1, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    This looks amazing and gorgeous!

  • August 1, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    Incredible. The perfect summer dish…and beautifully photographed, too!

  • August 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Wow that looks so good!

  • August 1, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    I love love love this tart – and if I’m not mistaken, you actually recommended it to me a few years ago? In any case, I need to make this soon. I’m glad it redeemed itself for you! 🙂

  • August 2, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Absolutely divine. Quick, easy, and really delicious. I added some onions because I had some. Thank you for sharing!

  • August 2, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    This looks wonderful!!!

  • August 2, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Wow this looks absolutely delicious! Gorgeous photos! 🙂

  • August 2, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    I’m heading towards a bumper crop of tomatoes this year (assuming the squirrels don’t eat them all, that is), so I’ve been on the lookout for interesting new recipes for fresh heirloom tomatoes… and boy, does this ever sound like a winner! It’s like a caprese salad in tart format. Love.

  • August 2, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    This looks absolutely amazing! Such great flavors for summer, basic, simple, and delicious!

  • August 2, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Ok WOW!! This is so pretty, and sounds delicious! I love the idea of a basil garlic crust!

  • August 2, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    this looks spectacular. with a nice glass of wine…perfect meal!

  • August 3, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    This tart has my mouth watering. The simple fresh ingredients look like pure perfection. That tart dough looks incredible too. Yum!

  • August 3, 2011 at 5:25 AM

    I love this combination of flavors. You present it so beautifully… you made my stomach growl!

  • RavieNomNoms
    August 3, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    That looks so yummy! Perfectly amazing for summer time. I would love to have this right now for my lunch 🙂

  • Diane
    August 3, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I had gotten this book from the library because I had heard so many good things about this tart in particular. I didn’t use fresh mozzarella, but I still felt the crust was a little gummy, and the whole thing just didn’t knock my socks off. Do you think prebaking it for a few minutes would do the trick? When you said you had a crispy crust, it gave me hope to try again!

    • smellslikehome
      August 3, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      Diane: Yes, you can definitely pre-bake the tart shell and that would probably help. You could also use a lower rack in the oven to ensure the bottom of the tart is exposed to more direct heat. The other key to a non-gummy crust is to avoid over-mixing in the food processor. I feel like this dough can be a little temperamental and it should be “handled with care.” Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes the next time you make it. 🙂

      • Diane
        August 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM

        Hey, thanks so much for the further instruction! I really appreciate the help. I’m going to put it on the bottom rack and be *very* careful with the food processor. I want to get this one right because if done correctly, I think it will be phenomenal. Thanks again 🙂
        Diane

  • August 3, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Gorgeous, Tara! The colors jump right off the page and I feel like I can almost smell the tart baking.

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