- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, grated on a box grater
- 4–5 tablespoons cold water
- 8 ounces feta cheese (or goat cheese)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8–10 fresh basil leaves
- 3 sprigs (a small handful) fresh parsley leaves, plus more for topping
- 3 springs (a smaller handful) fresh oregano leaves, plus more for topping
- 4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into medium-thick slices
- A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Kalamata olives, sliced in half
- Flaky sea salt
- Za’atar and fresh cracked black pepper (optional)
Have you ever been to a farmer’s market and got carried away when you saw all those giant piles of beautiful, ripe tomatoes that were still warm from the farm? You gleefully buy a ton of them thinking of all the soups and sauces you’re going to create! But then you get home, reality sets in, and you realize you now have a ton of tomatoes and no idea how to make sauce or soup. Don’t panic! We have a recipe that will eat up all the veggies you impulse bought. The perfect summer dish, it’s light, pretty, and delicious! Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to the Feta and Fresh Tomato Tart.
This dish is perfect for the beginner chef who is ready to take things to the next level. It’s not overly complicated or difficult, but once you complete it, you can cross “make pie crust from scratch” off your list of cooking challenges!
The hardest part of making a pie crust is mixing the flour and butter correctly. If you mix it too much, the crust will come out tough. If you don’t mix it enough, you run the risk of biting into an unpleasant clump of flour or chunk of butter. The trick preventing both of these outcomes is to start with frozen butter! Just throw a stick of butter in your freezer the night before, then grate it with a cheese grater over your mixing bowl! Work quickly, though, so your warm hands don’t melt your butter-sicle!
Another secret baking tip you can use for this recipe is weighing down the crust with sugar! Usually, when you bake things like this, they puff up and make it difficult to distribute the filling evenly. To prevent this, before you pop the crust in your oven, lay a piece of parchment paper on top and dump a couple of cups of sugar on top! You’ll have a perfectly flat crust and some tasty toasted sugar to use for some fancy cookies later!
Once your pie crust is complete, the rest of this dish is easy-peasy! The filling is a delicious, yet simple mix of cheeses, heavy cream, fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Just dump everything into a food processor, or blender hit the button, and get a delightful, creamy tart filling! Wait until the crust cooled before pouring in the cheese! You don’t want it to get too melty, overflow the crust, and cause a truly disastrous mess.
Now comes the fun part. Get out those beautiful tomatoes and whatever other veggies you have hiding in the fridge. Slice them up, channel your creative side, and arrange them on top of the filled crust like a work of art. Have some olives or extra fresh herbs lying around? Grab those too and sprinkle them on top! This tart is your canvas, and you are a gourmet artist. This dish is the perfect thing to make for a summertime weekend brunch or mid-day meal. Serve it alongside some smoked salmon or chicken salad with a chilled glass of white wine, and you’re in heaven!
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat your oven to 400°F. Add the flour, salt, pepper, and Parmesan to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Grate cold butter on the large side of a box grater into the flour mixture. Toss together to combine.
- Add a few tablespoons of water and mix together. Add a few more tablespoons until a just moist shaggy dough emerges in the bowl. Work the dough into a loose and rough ball in the bowl just to ensure it’s well hydrated.
- Add the dough into a 9 or 10-inch round tart pan then press it in firmly up the sides and across the bottom of the pan. Lay a piece of parchment or lightly greased foil over the dough then add enough granulated sugar to fill the tart pan.
- Gently press the sugar into all the edges then bake for 10 – 15 minutes or just until the edges start to shift in color. Carefully remove the parchment with the sugar then return the tart shell to the oven to bake until golden throughout, another 10 – 15 minutes. Allow the tart shell to cool completely.
- Prepare the whipped feta filling while the tart cools. Add the feta, cream cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/3 cup heavy cream to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
- Blend on high speed until the feta begins to smooth. Add a dash more cream as necessary. Add the basil leaves, parsley, and oregano and process until the herbs are tiny bits. Spoon the feta filling to the cooled tart shell.
- Layer sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives and herbs over the cheese filling. Just before serving top the tart with flake salt and za’atar if you’d like.