Remember a couple of weeks ago when I made that basil salt? The one that I sprinkled all over my pesto pizza? Yeah, that one. I’ve been so addicted to that basil salt, sprinkling it on everything and anything. It is so summer-y, so bright and refreshing. Who knew that peaches and nectarine with basil salt was so good? Or rimming a margarita with basil salt could bring such a punch of flavor?
One thing I was very sure of, tomato with basil salt would be amazing.
I love cherry tomatoes. I look forward to the end of summer when tomatoes are abundant and cheap. I find that cherry tomatoes, especially yellow cherry tomatoes are far sweeter and flavorful than their larger, regular red tomato counterparts. Especially in a tart like these, small tomatoes work perfectly. With each bite you get a little tomato, a slather of cream cheese and a mouthful of crust. Its perfect, just perfect.
Flakey and buttery crust that is very sturdy and holds up well. Sweet, aromatic roasted tomatoes. Rich and creamy pesto cream cheese. And just a hint of provolone cheese with a surprising pop of basil salt. Put these components together and you have my new favorite tart.
This tart was intended to serve 6-8 people. I brought on picnic to the Hollywood Bowl with my boyfriend and my parents. Between the four of us, we easily devoured it. It was that good.
Not to mention, it’s such a classy looking tart. It’s such a pretty and delicious way to showcase summer’s cherry tomatoes.
This is by far the simplest and easiest tart dough I have ever made. I have been in love with Smitten Kitchen for the longest time and I finally tried out one of her recipes. I used the tart dough from her Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart. I was drawn to this tart dough because it does not require par-baking! Anything to save me time is a winner in my book.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Add chilled butter cubes and cut them into the flour using a fork (or pastry cutter) until it resembles coarse sand. Next, add an egg. Use a spatula to fold the egg into the flour. It may take some folds, so don’t get discouraged. Eventually, the dough will come together into a cohesive ball. And if it doesn’t, dump out the flour mixture onto a clean surface and knead the dough until it comes together.
The dough will be pretty firm at this point. Use a rolling-pin to roll the dough into a thin 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Gently lift dough into 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Press dough into the pan and remove any air bubbles. Trim the excess dough along the edges. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let tart chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add a heaping tablespoon of pesto and mix until combined.
Remove tart sheet from fridge and scoop pesto cream cheese onto the tart. Smooth into an even layer using a mini offset spatula, or the back of a spoon. Distribute provolone cheese on top. Then arrange cherry tomato halves cut side up on top of pesto cream cheese. Season with basil salt, as needed.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until tomatoes begin to wrinkle and tart shell is a nice golden brown.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, chilled
- 1 large egg
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened, room temperature
- 1 heaping Tbsp pesto
- 1 slice of provolone cheese, crumbled into small pieces
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- basil salt
- fresh thyme leaves and basil leaves, to garnish and season
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt. Add butter cubes and cut into flour using a pastry blender, or a fork. Combine until mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add egg and fold into flour mixture using a spatula. Fold or knead on a lightly floured surface if you are having a difficult time mixing dough in bowl.
- Roll dough out into a 1/4'' thick- 12 inch circle. Transfer dough to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough into pan and remove any air bubbles. Trim edges. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add pesto and mix until combined.
- Remove tart shell from fridge.
- Scoop pesto cream cheese onto tart and smooth into an even layer. Distribute provolone cheese on top.
- Arrange cherry tomato slices cut side up on top of pesto cream cheese. Season with basil salt, as needed.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until tomatoes begin to wrinkle and tart shell is a nice golden brown. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before unmolding.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with additional basil salt and thyme leaves/basil leaves.
tart shell dough adapted from Smitten Kitchen pesto cream cheese filling- The Little Epicurean original