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You know I love puff pastry– it is so easy to work with and makes a weekday meal just that much fancier. There’s something so pleasing about the sound of a knife biting through the crumbling, crisp, buttery walls. This puff pastry tart celebrates the heirloom tomatoes we’ve been getting since the beginning of June, now that our Magnolia neighborhood farmers’ market is open for the summer; they come from Kittitas Valley Greenhouse and we eat one (or more) five or so days a week during the summer. They’re so good! Of course, we’re ruined for all other tomatoes and pout all winter long about the mealy, flavorless things available at the grocery store– the upside to our Tomato Drama is that we’re currently in the good time of the year and can enjoy a steady supply of juicy, sweet gems. This simple, tasty tart may join the regular rotation of tomato-centric dinners at our house.

When fresh tomatoes are at their peak, ripe and delicious, they don’t need much adornment: here they are kissed with salt, layered with basil on a garlic and oil base and topped with chevre. The ingredient list is deliberately vague because this is about your preferences: if you prefer garlicky tomato tarts, use more garlic, if you want it extra-cheesy, use more chevre. The number of tomatoes you need will be determined by their size; the only point I would hold fast to is maintaining a single layer of tomatoes, as too many will overwhelm the crust. No one wants a soggy puff pastry mess. Cut the tart into small squares for an appetizer or serve, as I did, with a green salad as a main dish. It works hot or cold, for Meatless Monday or Fearless Friday or any day in between. Happy tomato season to all.

Puff Pastry Tart with Fresh Tomatoes & Chevre

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed and laid flat
  • 1 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, preferably heirloom or garden-fresh, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 T. fresh basil leaves, torn or cut into ribbons
  • 2-3 oz. fresh chevre, plain or herbed
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly-greased sheet pan, place the thawed puff pastry sheet flat. In a small bowl, combine the oil and garlic (allow to sit at room temperature for an hour to deepen flavor, though you don’t have to) and brush this mixture onto the pastry, leaving a 1/2″ border un-oiled. Place the tomatoes in a single layer within your oiled rectangle; they can overlap slightly but should be a thin and even layer. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper; though I rarely give measurements for salt, knowing that seasoning preferences vary person to person, remember that salt is a fresh tomato’s best friend and give an extra little pinch here. Crumble the chevre over the top. Fold the exposed 1/2″ of the tart up and over to create tall edges, pinching the corners together gently but firmly. Don’t expect it to look perfect, but try to create walls, if you will, to prevent all the delicious filling from bubbling out over the sides. Bake for 20-25 mins., until the pastry is puffy (apt, yes?), golden brown and flaky. Let cool for 5-10 mins. before cutting.

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