Last Sunday I woke up to an absolute gift – a free day, absolutely NO obligations, nowhere to go and no one to see (except the Fam of course). What was I going to do with this glorious and sadly very infrequent occurrence? I slipped into the kitchen and made this fantastic End of Summer Tomato and Pesto Tart. It was SO savory and delectable, it was almost like an extremely elegant pizza – except with pastry. Yes, yes, of course it was Vegan.
I had a nice selection of tomatoes, big, small, red, yellow and green and I used them all. Once they’re drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and are sitting pretty on top of a bed of pesto they truly come alive!
Admittedly there are a few steps to this tart, you can’t really skip them, this isn’t a one pot wonder, it’s a work of art and each step is equal to the sum of its parts. That’s why I waited to make it, when I wasn’t under the gun, I had the luxury to enjoy the process 🙂
What Ingredients Do I Need?
Tomatoes: are a potent source of lycopene, a carotenoid which has been shown in studies to decrease the risks of cancer and chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Lycopene is even sold as supplements these days but why on earth would you buy those when you can make this Heavenly tart which tastes so much better.
Pesto: if you have bushels of basil growing in your garden and you have the time, make your own, it’s very easy and tastes divine, click HERE for the recipe. If you don’t or you can’t be bothered go for a good quality store bought tub, Gotham Greens is my favorite.
Olive oil: healthy fats:)
Pastry: I used Bob’s Red Mill Flour which I think is the best. I love Bob’s Red Mill products.
I used Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks: in place of regular butter and it works really well BUT it is vitally important to make sure it’s very cold before using. Don’t leave it out on the counter before use – keep it in the fridge then whip it out just before you add it to the flour.
A splash of White Wine Vinegar prevents the dough from oxidizing and turning gray.
I’m lucky enough to own this gorgeous little rectangular tart pan from Sur La Table it measures 11.8″ x 8″. If you don’t own one don’t worry, any tart pan will do. With the amount of ingredients listed in the recipe, I had a little extra pastry left over.
Many people use a food processor when making pastry but I like to do it by hand, it only takes a moment and I like the feel of the velvety flour and transformation of flour into dough.
End of Summer Tomato Pesto Tart
Such a treat, it’s almost like a very elegant pizza!
For the pastry:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 sticks of butter or 10 ounces (dairy free Earth’s Balance) very cold!!!
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup iced water
1/2 lb dried beans, for “baking blind” the crust with a sheet of foil
6 oz vegan pesto
1 1/2 lb of tomatoes – a selection or any you have handy, large ones sliced, small ones cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400F
To make the pastry make sure the butter and water are very cold.
Place the flour, salt, pepper and thyme into a large bowl. Cut the butter into the bowl. Using your fingers, “rub in” the butter into the flour until you’re left with a crumbly mixture that looks like very large peas.
Make a well in the mixture and add three quarters of the water and the vinegar, gently work the pastry together, if it’s too dry and crumbly add the rest of the water.
Gently shape the pastry into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to “relax”.
Remove pastry from the fridge, remove from the plastic wrap. On a well floured board, roll out the pastry into a rectangle. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin and transfer it to the tart pan, use a knife to trim the pastry to fit the pan. Place the tart pan on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking oil and lay it gently (oil side down) on the pastry case. Pour the dried beans on top of the foil to weigh it down.
Bake the pastry case for 20 minutes with the foil and beans.
Remove from the oven, carefully remove the foil and beans, very gently prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork so you can see the indents. Be careful not to press too hard and go right through the pastry.
Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a good 15 minutes. Spread the pesto over the base of the tart shell. Pile the prepared tomatoes on top of the pesto, sprinkle over the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cool a little and serve garnished with fresh basil.