We always need a tart recipe that is a standby, one to throw together with easily accessible ingredients, and this is mine. It is economical, everyone loves it and you can make it in reasonably large quantities.
I suggest that if you cannot find a variety of tomatoes, as with this one, you use sliced cherry tomatoes, which are always a little bit riper than others. Farmers’ markets often sell interesting ‘heritage’ tomatoes and they feature more and more in supermarkets. You can also make a large tart to cut into canapé-sized portions.
Serving dish: large board or individual plates
– Plain flour, for dusting
– 500g all-butter puff pastry or homemade rough puff pastry
– 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
– 1kg mixed coloured or ‘heritage’ tomatoes, cut in slices and/or halved or quartered
– 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 3 sprigs basil, leaves only
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/Gas 6 and line a large (30 x 25cm) baking sheet, or two smaller ones, with baking parchment.
2. Dust the worktop with plain flour and roll out the pastry in a rectangle to fit the baking sheet – about 3mm thickness.
3. Trim the edges with a knife. Pick the pastry up by rolling it onto the pin and unroll it onto the lined baking sheet.
4. With the exception of a small border around the edges, prick the tart all over with a fork to prevent the pastry rising and dislodging the tomatoes.
5. Spread mustard all over the pastry base, again avoiding the border. Arrange the tomatoes on top, making sure they overlap each other. Brush the surface with some of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and dark gold. It should be crispy underneath because the mustard absorbs juice from the tomatoes. When it is ready, remove it from the oven and allow to cool a little.
7. To serve, zigzag more olive oil over the surface and scatter with the basil leaves. Cut with a sharp knife into 6 pieces.
Options: Replace the tomatoes with curls of courgette shavings or asparagus spears, then dress either after baking with parings of pecorino cheese.
Rose Prince has been writing and campaigning about food for over 20 years and has written four cookbooks.
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