Ruskin is located on Florida’s west coast midway between Tampa to the north and Sarasota to the south. Soil in the area consist of a muck top layer over a layer of marl (a mixture of limestone and clay) beneath and is an exceptional base for growing tomatoes.
Ruskin tomatoes are ripe when purchased from the produce market and need to used within a week, or so. I had three on the counter so a tomato tart seemed a great way to enjoy these. The tart also includes goat cheese, capers and fresh herbs of your choosing. Fresh tarragon and oregano were used for this version.
I had intended to make a fresh pie crust for this tart, but ran out of time. Some puff pastry dough in the freezer was pressed into service. The puff pastry was pre-baked in the tart shell before the tomatoes were layered on. Because this pastry does in fact “puff” it needed to be “deflated” before the adding the other ingredients. This would not be a problem with ordinary pie dough.
Tomatoes are layered on the pre-backed pastry starting from the outside and working inwards. The tomatoes are seasoned then topped with chèvre (goat cheese), capers, herbs and a drizzle of good olive oil. Bake the tart in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are bubbly and the goat cheese browns. Serves three to four.
- 1 package of frozen puff pastry
- 3 fresh tomatoes cored, cut in half and sliced about 1/4” thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 6 ounces of fresh chèvre
- 2 tablespoons of capers
- Fresh tarragon sliced into chiffonade
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough so that it generously covers a 9” tart pan. Place the dough in the pan using fingers to press the dough into the corners. Roll over the tart pan to cut the dough hanging over the sides and remove the unneeded pastry. Using a fork, pierce the dough in the bottom of the pan multiple times so that trapped air can escape.
- Back the dough in the over for 20 minutes. Remove to let cool. If using puff pastry the dough will need to be deflated. A large glass tumbler can be used to deflate the pastry
- Placed the sliced tomatoes around the pan in overlapping layers beginning on the outside and working to the center. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place slices of fresh chèvre around the perimeter of the pan, sprinkle capers over the top, add herbs and drizzle olive oil over the tart.
- Bring the oven temperature to 400 degrees and then bake the tart for about 20 minutes or until the chèvre browns and the tomatoes are bubbly.
- Slice into wedges to serve