As a long-time lover of Italian food, especially their abundant use of fresh produce, I decided to christen this simple summer-time tart ‘Caprese Tart’ as it is filled with roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella. It’s simple in design and execution but aren’t those jewel-bright reds and greens so striking against the soft white of the filling? I think I enjoyed looking at it almost as much as I enjoyed eating it.
You could also replace the roasted tomatoes with roasted peppers, fresh or from a jar. You could also replace the mozzarella with feta or parmesan (in the latter case use around 50g, grated). These cheeses might ‘lift’ the flavour of the tart a little more – the mozzarella needs a generous amount of seasoning to bring out the taste and even then, it was a little more delicate in flavour than I would have liked, though still a nice foil to the rich tomatoes and peppery basil.
Remember, a tart like this will cut much more easily if you let it chill down in the fridge for a few hours before slicing. I photographed mine whilst it was still warm and it fell apart a bit when cut.
500g block of ready-to-roll short crust pastry
300g cherry tomatoes
drizzle of olive oil
150g fresh buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn or chopped into small pieces
284ml pot double cream
handful of basil leaves, torn, plus a few small ones left whole for scattering
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round about 5cm larger than a 25cm tart tin. Use your rolling pin to lift it up, then drape over the tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides. Using a small ball of pastry scraps, push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 20 mins. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
In a small roasting tin, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the tomatoes in a low shelf of the oven.
Lightly prick the base of the tart with a fork, line the tart case with a large circle of greaseproof paper or foil, then fill with baking beans. Blind-bake the tart for 20 mins, remove the paper and beans, then continue to cook for 5-10 mins until biscuit brown .
When you remove the tart case from the oven, take out the tomatoes, too.
While the tart is cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Gradually add the cream, stir in the basil and season well. When the case is ready, sprinkle the cheese over the base, scatter over the tomatoes and pour over the cream mix.. Bake for 20-25 mins until set and golden brown. Leave to cool in the case, trim the edges of the pastry and remove from the tin. Scatter over the remaining basil and serve in slices.