Ok, let’s talk about Caprese Pesto Tart. All you have to do is pinterest (yeah I’m using it as a verb) that, and you will see that most recipes have you use roasted tomatoes. Why? Tomatoes are juicy. Very juicy. And crust is absorbent. Juicy tomatoes + absorbent crust = soggy mess.
Roasting them helps to remove a lot of this moisture.
Of course, I don’t like soggy crust, but I DO like the taste of fresh tomatoes in caprese salad…
I didn’t like the idea of roasting them first, because it’s another step, and this little beauty has enough steps as it is.
So, I decided to take the soggy risk. Two things I did to combat the sogginess risk: I completely baked the crust during blind baking, and I covered it with water repellent, oily, oh so delicious pesto.
These were both good ideas (sometimes I have them). The bottom crust does get wet, but if eaten right away, it’s a delightful custard consistency, rather than just a soggy mess. If eaten the next day, however, soggy city. So don’t make this a day ahead. You could make all the elements a day ahead: blind bake your crust, make your pesto, cut up your tart ingredients, and then it would be cinch to throw it all together under the broiler!
Just don’t actually put it together and expect the texture to hold up.
The good news is, it’s so tasty, that it’s worth rearranging your schedule to make it. This needs to happen in your kitchen!
Form your crust and poke it all over with a fork, but try not go all the way through. If you get a crack or a tear, patch it up with dough scraps, but don’t stretch the dough to cover the crack. When it bakes, it will shrink back to it’s original size, leaving a huge gap in your tart!
Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, or in my case, dried beans. I couldn’t find my pie weights…
Bake it up and spread that tasty pesto on the bottom of the tart. I didn’t add cheese to this pesto recipe. I promise, after you eat this tart, the last thing you’ll be saying is, “if only there was more cheese…”
Layer the stars of the show into your tart. It’s easy. Tomato, mozzarella, tomato mozzarella, tomato, mozzarella until it’s filled to the brim. If you can find different colored tomatoes, it’s fun have a contrast.
Drizzle with all your oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. I didn’t take measurements, because it’s really hard to go wrong. Just drizzle until it looks like there’s enough. You can always add more after you heat it.
Under the broiler it goes. I sat in front of the oven and watched it, because I was so worried the crust was going to burn.
Garnish with fresh basil.
I ♡ melty mozzarella cheese!
OK, now eat it quick before we get to the soggy stage! Oh man, by the time I am writing this post, the tart is all gone, and I’m sad.
Caprese Pesto Tart is one of those recipes you won’t be able to wait to share with your friends!
Now, everybody go get your ingredients, and make this tart a reality in your kitchen! You won’t be sorry.
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ sticks (12 tbls) unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
- 4½ tsp ice water
- 2½ tsp white vinegar
- 1 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 6 medium tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch rounds
- 16 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into ⅛ inch rounds
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Add flour and salt to a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add butter, and pulse a few times until mixture resembles course meal, and largest chunks are about the size of peas.
- Combine water, vinegar, and egg yolks in a small bowl. Pour over butter mixture in a slow steady stream with food processor turned on.
- As soon as the liquid runs out, turn off the food processor. Squeeze some of the dough. If it holds together, it's ready. If it's too dry and won't hold together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it holds together.
- Pour dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and quickly pat into a rectangle shape. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a well floured work surface, roll chilled dough out into about a 10 inch by 13 inch rectangle. Form crust into 8 X 11" tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Pierce crust all over with a fork, but try not to go all the way through.
- Put parchment paper in tart pan over crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans, and bake for 10 minutes on a middle rack.
- After 10 minutes, remove parchment and weights and bake for another 10 minutes. You want the bottom of the crust to be dry and golden brown.
- Cool on cooling rack for at least 20 minutes.
- Add to food processor, basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Process until you have a smooth, consistent mixture, about 30 seconds.
- With food processor running, add olive oil in a slow steady stream.
- Spread all the pesto on the bottom of cooled tart crust.
- Starting at one end of the tart, add your tomatoes and mozzarella, alternating until you have filled up the whole tart shell. I went from right to left, rather than top to bottom.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Move oven rack to the second highest position in the oven.
- Heat under broiler on high for 5 minutes, or until cheese melts and tomatoes dry out a bit. Watch carefully, because the tart crust will burn easily if you're not careful.
- Cool five minutes, and serve immediately.