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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The "Love Apple"

There is nothing better than a nice, ripe tomato in the summertime. I bet you never knew that the tomato (berry, fruit, vegetable, whatever it may be) has quite an extensive history. In the 1600s, Americans and Europeans actually believed that the tomato was poisonous! They kept this belief for hundreds of years and would only use tomatoes for decorative purposes. It wasn't until the French starting calling tomatoes, pommes de'amore, or "love apples", that it became popular in the culinary world. The French actually believed that the tomato had aphrodisiacal qualities so that is where the term "love apple" came from. I decided to use up some of my little "love apples" from the garden by making this Rustic Tomato Tart.  If you are a pizza lover, you have got to try this one! It will literally transport your taste buds and make them believe you are at an outdoor bistro in Paris. Use as much mozzarella as you want! The tomatoes become so soft that they almost act as a sauce. How can you ever go wrong with a recipe that uses puff pastry? Yum! I'll take this buttery, flakey crust any day over traditional pizza crust! According to experts, red wine goes best with pizza, especially Chianti. So pour yourself a glass, throw on your favorite music to relax to (mine would be Michael Buble), and pretend you're in Paris!

Rustic Tomato & Mozzarella Tart


  • 2 or 3 ripe red and yellow tomatoes, about 8 oz. total, cored and cut into slices 1/8 inch thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 8-by-10-inch rectangle of frozen puff pastry, cut in half and thawed in the refrigerator
  • 3/4 cup shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbs. grated hard cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • Olive oil for drizzling


Place the tomato slices on paper towels, season with salt and let drain for 30 to 60 minutes.

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic and butter. Place the puff pastry rectangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with the garlic butter and season with salt. Leaving a 1/4-inch border, sprinkle the pastry evenly with the mozzarella and 2 Tbs. of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Arrange the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbs. Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle the tarts with the basil and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, by Tasha DeSerio & Jodi Liano (Weldon Owen, 2010)

Alissa's notes: Seriously, use as much cheese as your little heart desires! I think I used about 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella. Also, I used Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Any hard cheese will do. I bought Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, but the sheet seemed kind of small, so I rolled it out a little bit with my rolling pin. If you bake this on a stone, you don't need the parchment paper. I'm making this recipe again this week, since we loved it and I still have so many tomatoes to use up!

RATING: 5 cupcakes 

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