When I first saw this recipe in Food & Wine I thought it looked incredibly boring. Cherry tomatoes piled onto a crust with nothing else? Right. But then I read the rave reviews and decided I had to give it a try, besides, the cherry tomatoes were piling up fast.
I modified the recipe a little. For starters, I made individual tarts. I brushed the bottom crust of each tartlet with egg yolk to seal it (a tip from Therese). When the tarts were done, I drizzled some spicy olive oil, a little kosher salt, and a few drops of this balsamic glaze I picked up the last time we were in Cape Town. I then offered a creamy French feta to anyone who wanted it. The tarts were delicious—with and without the feta. The tomatoes burst in your mouth loaded with flavor. Do heed the magazine’s warning: Don’t serve this when it first comes out of the oven. Let it cool a little. The tomatoes are like little bombs and will pop and burn when stuck with a fork.
You can follow their crust recipe or use your favorite. I like Julia Child’s recipe that uses both butter and shortening (gasp, shortening! I know, but it’s PIE we’re talking about). I use it for sweet and savory pies. The recipe (see below) makes a lot of dough. Just wrap leftover dough in plastic or vacuum seal and freeze.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
7 TBS cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
2 TBS shredded basil leaves
Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In a food processor, pulse the flour with a pinch of salt and the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and pulse until the dough nearly comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325. Roll out the dough to a 14-inch round. Press the round into the tart pan; trim off any excess. Mound the tomatoes in the shell. Bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, until the dough is evenly browned. Let cool. Season with salt, garnish with the basil and serve.
Flaky Pie Dough
5 1/4 cups pastry flour
1 TBS kosher salt
6 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter and cut it into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Break up the shortening and cut it in until mixture has small clumps and curds. Add ice water, stirring with a spoon to incorporate. Turn dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself a few times. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Dough may be frozen. Defrost in refrigerator.