Friday, August 12, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Whole Wheat Parmesan Crust

The main focus of this blog is obviously baking, but the truth is I love to cook almost as much as I love to bake and frequently whip up elaborate dinners, even if they are just for me. Now that I have my husband back full time, I will share some of these recipes more often in the future. Let's start with a tart.

Since arriving in NYC I have not been able to stay away from the Farmers markets. There are numerous varieties of fruits and vegetables not seen in Germany.

One thing I cannot get enough of are heirloom tomatoes. My fridge is bursting with them in all shapes, sizes and colors. I may need an intervention at some point. Seriously.

In the hot summer evenings here in NYC I've been sticking to creating light healthy dinners. This tart fit in perfectly. It's a barely adapted version of a recipe from Nannydeb I spotted on Food 52. The filling was perfection. I tweaked the crust and should have left it alone as it turned out to be the only element of this tart I wasn't crazy about.

A little explanation about my husband and food. He prefers simple, non-fancy, unfussy meals. Although he enjoys most of the dinners I concoct, his ideal meal is German black bread slathered with butter or Miracle Whip topped with sliced gouda cheese and maybe some tomatoes. I remember one time after I served him roasted baby potatoes with garlic olive oil, sea salt and rosemary – he pushed them away and said “Who would put rosemary on potatoes?”

After spending hours making Indian dishes like vegetable biryani, working to blend the spices just right he would ultimately smother it in ketchup.

Many wives would consider this type of behavior legitimate grounds for smacking their husband in the head with a frying pan. Somehow I find it funny and most times, laugh it off. I’m explaining all of this as the set up for what happened when I served him this tart.

As I said, the tart came out almost perfect. In Dr. B's defense, the parmesan crust was the part I was not too happy about. The consistency was ok but it wasn’t as tasty as I would have liked. However, the simple flavors of the mascarpone cheese, lemon, olive oil and garlic set off the luscious flavor of the heirlooms perfectly. 

I served it with some fresh farmer’s market sweet and butter sugar corn that I boiled for only 3 minutes so it would retain its crunch. I drizzled the corn with melted organic butter and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.

When we sat down to eat, Dr. B first announced, “I don’t like corn.” However, I was sure he had never tasted butter sugar corn so I insisted he try it. I used to eat it raw as a kid. He did admit it was good but only ate one piece. Then came the moment of truth with the tart. He tasted a forkful, claimed he didn’t like the crust at all, got up from the table and retrieved his trusty Miracle Whip and black bread (which I had procured from a German Deli.) Hubby spread the bread with the fake mayo then transferred the oiled tomatoes on top. That is what he ate for dinner.

I so wanted to take pictures of how he mangled and reinvented my poor tart but I didn’t want to make him self-conscious. I just wanted him to enjoy his reconfigured meal.

What can I say? He has no palate for the food I prefer but he does know his red wines. That sorta makes up for it. And he does have excellent taste in women ☺

I am unfazed by this whole incident mostly because it's nothing new. More practically, in the five years Dr. B has been in Baghdad, we have only spent a total of three and four months together a year. I realize now I have to get used to cooking for him again and not just make what I enjoy. I encourage him to be honest with me about everything I make. How else will I build a lexicon to prepare meals that are satisfying for both of us? So there will be new experiments in my kitchen in the months to come.

Anyway, that’s the tart story. Make this. It’s (mostly) amazing. But you might want to use your own tried and true crust recipe or do some further tinkering with this one.

Heirloom Tomato Mascarpone Tart with Whole Wheat Parmesan Crust
(Very slightly adapted from Nannydeb's recipe from Food 52)

For the crust:

  • 1+1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 +1/4 sticks cold Butter cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup organic shortening cut into pieces
  • 6 tablespoons very cold water

  • Whisk together the flour, parmesan and salt and pour into a food processor.
  • Add the butter and shortening and pulse until combined.
  • Add water one tablespoon at a time until a sticky dough forms. Do not over mix.
  • Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Remove from fridge and press into a 10" tart form.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely

For the filling:

  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 3 cups Fresh basil
  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone 
  • 1 teaspoons Lemon juice
  • 3-4 large Heirloom Tomatoes sliced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Finely chop Garlic and basil and add to oil (I didn't have a food processor on hand.) Let sit while the crust dough is firming up in the fridge.
  • Slice tomatoes and salt them.
  • Mix together mascarpone, zest and lemon juice.
  • When crust as cooled completely, spread mascarpone/lemon mixture inside.
  • Lay the tomato slices over the cheese.
  • Drizzle the garlic basil oil over and add more salt if you like.
  • Slice and serve.


  1. Have been seeing a lot of Heirloom tomatoes on blogosphere..and these wholewheat tart is what am gonna try next! Lovely.

  2. We are on the same wavelength with pies this week.. yours is gorgeous!

  3. love heirloom tomatoes! looks delicious!

  4. Yep - I'm drooling! I love heirloom tomatoes, so colorful and delicious. The tart looks perfect!

  5. Delicious and sweet, heirloom tomatoes are always so nice during this time of year.

  6. I love anything with mascarpone. Yum! And I'm totally insanely jealous of your NYC markets.

  7. The tart does look beautiful even though Dr. B passed (most of it) over for German Black Bread, tomatoes and fake Mayo! Glad you are settling in to NYC and enjoying the markets. Looking forward to more posts of your cooking for Dr. B (and his reactions!)

  8. How beautiful and oh so delicious!! Love the idea of parmesan in the crust. I want this!

  9. Dr. B sounds a bit like my husband! They have their peculiar preferences, but it's great to see you still doing what you enjoy. This tomato tart looks delicious, btw, parmesan crust and all!

  10. Mmm...I'm totally obsessed with tomato tarts this summer. Here's the one I made last night:


Thank you for your comments and feedback. I love hearing from you!