I think we all know by now that most dishes featuring tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella are bound to be a hit, right? Right. There was no doubt in my mind that we would love this tart, and we certainly did! After all, pizza margherita with tomatoes and herbs from our garden is one of my favorite foods ever! This has a basic tart dough that is kicked up a notch by the addition of finely minced basil and garlic directly into the dough, which is a genius idea if you ask me.
I have been wanting to make a tart with tomatoes and mozzarella for quite a while, but knowing how both of these ingredients can release a lot of liquid when cooking, I was unsure of how this would turn out. Once I saw this recipe though, I knew I had to at least try it. I decided to use all cherry tomatoes because when sliced, the seeds inside squirt right out on their own, so you don’t have to spend any time removing it yourself. Plus they look cute! When I went to rotate the tart halfway through baking, I noticed that indeed it had started to collect some liquid on top so I just used a paper towel or two to wick off the excess moisture via the wonders of capillary action (high school science, anyone?) It worked wonderfully and the tart went on to bake up with great results.
My one issue though was with the baking of the crust in relation to the other ingredients. For many tart and pie recipes, sweet or savory, the recipe will call for blind baking the crust – essentially baking the empty crust without any filling for a short time to help achieve a nice texture on the bottom portion. If the filling is simply place directly onto the crust and baked with no pre-baking of the crust (as indicated in the original recipe), the bottom doesn’t crisp up quite the way it should. I have made enough tarts to have known better, but I decided to stick to the recipe for this first run and just popped it right into the oven, toppings and all. I should have gone with my instinct. It was bearable, but the texture would have benefited greatly from a little blind baking. You live and learn, right? Texture aside, this was a fantastic meal and Ben declared it, “Like pizza but better!” While nothing beats pizza in my book, I loved this and think it would make an elegant addition to a brunch, a nice light lunch or a dinner. I also think it would be wonderful made in mini-tart pans for individual servings. Enjoy!