Clara Gluten Free

Tomato Mozzarella Tart

Howdy again! It's been a while, but I'm back again. In the interim, I have been experimenting with developing a bread machine bread (which is fun), ice-cream making (which is more fun) and blow-torching (which is super-amazing-awesome-cool fun). So, I could blame my break on doing more cooking than blogging + doing more homework than cooking, or I could blame my break on having torched everything in sight, including my computer, but unfortunately, nothing is quite that cinematic around here. Or perhaps fortunately.

Anyway, I have been cooking, and I have been making recipes. Just to prove it, I made a tomato-mozzarella tart today (which of course includes basil because all things tomato and mozzarella should/do). And I torched the top. And then covered it in chopped basil. And then torched it again. 

I read up on how to do these here (sorry, login required) and here , but one of those irritating facts of GF life, is that there is no way to buy GF phyllo dough and I have not found/figured out a way to do it on my own (though if you happen to know the answer to either one of these questions, I would be very, very muchly grateful to know). So I used a regular old pie pastry, but I gave it an extra turn like the way you make puff pastry. For puff pastry (and phyllo dough, but to a much greater extent) you layer butter and dough by folding the pastry on itself and then rolling it out. Done properly, this ends up with layers of dough and layers butter, so that when it is baked, the butter melts out and the steam from the water in it evaporating makes the dough puff up. Done improperly, you get a really rich bready texture that's rich in an I'm-eating-lots-of-butter sort of way.

The main issue with the tomato basil tart filling is how to keep it from being tomato basil juice filling. I handled that a couple in a couple of different steps. First, an egg wash, which is basically the sealant of the pastry making world.Then, a layer of melted Parmesan to repel the water from the tomatoes away from the bottom of the crust so it doesn't soak in there (I got that straight from that Cooks Illustrated recipe, so thank you Test Kitchen people!!). As for the tomatoes, I salted them (to draw out the water, via osmosis), and then pressed them like tofu, to push more water out. Finally, I made sure my mozzarella was dry to the touch (I know, shocker there). 

Tomato-Basil Tart - 1 9" tart

1 prebaked pastry shell
4 medium tomatoes
12 oz fresh mozzarella
3 tbs diced fresh basil
3-5 oz grated Parmesan

1- Prepare your pastry shell, according to whatever recipe you prefer. Of course, I suggest my recipe, with one change: when rolling out the dough, first roll it to a rectangle shape (about 12 " x 18"). Then, fold in thirds the long way (like an envelope), then fold that into thirds again (you should have a small, narrow nearly square lump). Flatten it and roll out into the size circle you need for the pie shell.

2- Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes into 1/4" slices. Take a plate or cutting board and line with paper towels. Salt the paper towels, layer on the tomatoes and lightly salt those. Cover with a layer of paper towels and repeat until you are out of tomatoes. Cover with another cutting board (or similarly flat object) and place something about 5 lbs heavy onto the cutting board. Let dry for 30 min or more.

3- Grate the parmesan, cover the bottom of the pie shell and bake in 400 F oven until lightly brown and slightly bubbly, about 10 min. Slice the mozzarella into 1/4 slices and then rip into chunks. Remove the pie shell from the oven.

4- Layer mozzarella and tomatoes randomly throughout the shell. When half way filled, add some basil and any Parmesan you would like. Continue to layer tomatoes and mozzarella until you are out of materials. Return the tart to the oven, bake until cheese is melty, about 20 min.

5- Remove from oven and blowtorch until the cheese is brown (you can broil for a few minutes instead, if necessary). Sprinkle the basil on the top, and lightly dryout/crisp with the torch. Allow to set 5 minutes and serve warm. 


  1. wow! looks so good!

  2. thanks! it was great, and I am looking forward to making it again in the summer, with fresh farm tomatoes and basil!