Before we get into the post for this Puff Pastry Tomato Tart, I wanted to share with you a few sites that recently featured some of my tasty creations.
- My Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread was included in the FeedFeed’s “Dinner Party” feature. You can find it HERE along with all kinds of other delicious dishes guaranteed to impress at your next soiree. You can find the original post HERE.
- My Irish Creme Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mint Oreo Bark was included in The Community Table’s “10 Totally Amazing Chocolate Layer Cakes”. You can find this wickedly delicious compilation HERE. You can also find the original post HERE.
- My Buttery Apple Cake with Basil Cream Cheese Frosting & Apple Chips was included in the Community Table’s “10 Totally Droolworthy Apple Recipes”. You can find this autumn perfect feature HERE. You can also find the original post HERE.
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Daily commutes through mind boggling traffic, sub par grocery shopping excursions, and not-so-cosmopolitan dining experiences. Yep, that’s the daily life of the Mr. and I as we reluctantly settle into our temporary housing in the suburbs.
While I miss our light filled Victorian with its mesmerizing views of the sea as the behemoth cruise ships sail into port, I think I miss my daily walks/runs along the harbor walk the most. The peaceful lull of the waves and the whimsical call of the sea gulls were the perfect way to usher in each and every day. But all is not lost as the Mr. and I anxiously await the day we soon will be reunited with this tight knit Boston community as construction continues on our new home.
Fortunately, I quickly discovered a 320 acre conservation area that is a hop, skip and a jump away from our current abode. It’s a cute little park that gently meanders through meadows, woodlands and marshes. In some ways it reminds me of the Karura Forest, a forest on the outskirts of Nairobi. All it needs is monkeys frolicking about playfully in the tree canopies and the intoxicating scent of eucalyptus. . .and it could almost fool me for a distant cousin of this beloved Kenyan forest.
Since we moved, the dog and I have been visiting this park almost daily. The change of scenary has been a welcome addition for her as this park presents all kinds of new and exciting smells to discover. Every morning she crawls out of bed and waits in anticipation for her leather leash to be lifted off the hook. Despite her old age, she dances around as gleeful as a puppy knowing that soon she would be able to catch up on all the doggie gossip.
On a recent walk, the dog and I were enjoying the warm sun rays peaking through the tree canopy above. There was still a cool nip in the morning air which was a welcome relief to the heat that we had been experiencing days prior. Despite the shade from the forest, I still had my sunglasses on which was reducing visibility of the path. I didn’t bother removing them as we soon would be reuniting with the sun once we rounded the corner.
The beautiful day should have been my first clue to abandon all modern conveniences and completely immerse myself into Mother Nature’s bounty. But instead I was doing what we so often do in these times. . . I was checking my e-mail and sending out text messages as I plodded along the trail.
I was fully distracted by modern technology when I suddenly noticed something dark moving in the very spot I was about to place my foot.
Eeeek! I squealed like a pig and shot back a foot or so. My sneaker was a millisecond away from caressing the top of a black snack that had curled up on a part of the path that had a ray of sunlight gently warming it’s surface.
My unexpected presence startled the snake causing it to quickly slither off into a pile of leaves about six feet from its original resting location. It lifted its head and peered at me before it quickly made its way off into the brush.
My heart was still pounding out of my chest as I quickly walked (or did I run?) towards the end of the trail. As frightened as I was, the dog was barely phased by this unexpected encounter.
Despite this hair raising experience, I have continued to return to the park daily; however, I always keep a close watch on the trail and readily practice my new mantra “thou shalt not text while walking”.
With each walk in the park, I notice Mother Nature’s beauty unfolding. The trees are starting to put on a vibrant color show as their leaves transform from green to golden, crimson, and orange.
In celebration of this powerful signal that the seasons are changing and Father Winter is on his way, I only thought it appropriate to make this Puff Pastry Tomato Tart. I used heirloom tomatoes that appropriately display this autumn color show.
I topped the tart pictured in this post with fresh burrata cheese and made a second one with semi-soft Telleggio. This tart is very forgiving so you could use just about any cheese that tickles your fancy.
My cramped pantry still remains in disarray and I couldn’t find my pine nuts so I opted for a macadamia nut pesto instead. You can certainly top with a traditional pesto (see my recipe HERE) or even the jar variety if you are short on time.
Finish it off with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and you have an elegantly rustic autumn inspired feast.
Puff Pastry Tomato Tart with Macadamia Nut Pesto
R E C I P E – B U I L D I N G – B L O C K S:
For the Puff Pastry Tomato Tart:
- 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed but chilled
- 8 ounces burrata cheese
- 1/2 cup pesto (see below or HERE for traditional basil pesto)
- 6 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the Macadamia Nut Pesto:
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 2 cups fresh basil (about 2 basil plants)
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
- 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated)
- Salt, to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
T H E – C O U R S E:
For the Puff Pastry Tart:
- Heat the oven to 375° F.
- Line a 15″ x 10″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
- Use a rolling pin to adjust the size of the puff pastry. You want the two sheets of puff pastry to cover the bottom & sides of the baking sheet once they are laid side-by-side.
- Press the dough into the bottom & sides of the pan.
- Using a paring knife, lightly score a border where the bottom of the dough meets the sides.
- Trim any pastry dough that is hanging over the edge of the pan.
- To prevent the bottom of the tart from puffing up, use a fork to prick the bottom all over. Since you scored a border, the sides should still puff up.
- Line the bottom and the sides with parchment paper and place dried beans on top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden.
- Remove the beans and the parchment paper.
- Add slices of burrata cheese and top with pesto.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Remove the tart from the oven and set aside.
- Heat oven to a broil and move the rack so that it is right under the element.
- Place the tomatoes in a big bowl and mix with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and broil 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes start to blister.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and reduce the heat to 425°.
- Finely chop the oregano, chives and parsley.
- Spread the tomatoes out in an even layer on top of the cheese and pesto.
- Sprinkle the herb mixture on top.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes.
- Allow the tart to cool slightly before serving.
For the Macadamia Nut Pesto:
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
- Spread the macadamia nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until the macadamia nuts are slightly golden.
- Set aside and allow the macadamia nuts to cool.
- To blanch the basil: Prepare a large ice bath. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1/4 of the basil to the boiling water for 10 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon & plunge it into the ice bath. Remove & pat the basil dry with a paper towel. Repeat, in batches, with the remaining basil.
- Using a very sharp knife or mezzaluna, chop the garlic. Mix a quarter of the blanched basil in with the garlic & continue to chop. As you chop, periodically scrape the basil off the cutting board & gather it back into a pile.
- Slowly add in more basil & continue to chop, scrape and gather until the basil and garlic are finely minced.
- Roughly chop the macadamia nuts & add half of them to the basil & garlic mixture. Chop, scrape & gather & then add the remaining macadamia nuts.
- Add the parmesan cheese & continue to chop until all the ingredients are fine in texture.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Gather the pesto & form a round by pressing all the ingredients together.
- Place the pesto round into a small bowl & cover it with olive oil.
- The pesto can be made several days in advance. If you are not using immediately, cover it with plastic wrap & store in the refrigerator. Be sure that the plastic wrap rests on the top & sides of the pesto round.
- Before use, quickly stir to mix some of the oil into the pesto. Add more oil as necessary.