Roasted Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

Roasted Tomato Pesto Puff Pastry TartAn Easily Prepared & Healthier Holiday Hors d’Oeuvre

Fast, easy to work with and versatile. Puff pastry’s delicious buttery taste and flaky-crisp texture goes with most everything savory or sweet. Wanting to include a savory item in a recent class I taught on Pies & Tarts, I remembered a puff pastry hors d’oeuvre from my catering days in Los Angeles. Then we delighted the guests with a Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart served hot from the oven.

Improvising on the details, I created a new recipe during the Pies & Tarts class. It’s now even better than I remember with the addition of the Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. What a perfect holiday coincidence—Roasted Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart just happens to be red and green. Add this recipe to your repertoire for preparing and enjoying now and for special occasions throughout the year.

Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry TartGather together some sweet-tasting tomatoes, flavorful Pesto Genovese, soft goat cheese and defrosted puff pastry and you’re ready to go.

To make things easier the day of your party, you can prepare Slow-Roasted Tomatoes up to a few days in advance. Their concentrated flavor and juiciness make for a most succulent filling. A perfect contrast to the flaky puff pastry.

Puff Pastry
Multi-layers of butter and flour folded together perform an incredible feat in the oven. They puff up perhaps 4-6 times their original height. Rather miraculous how the steam from the melting butter puffs up the layers of flour. Ever since my first batch of puff pastry at the Cordon Bleu, I’ve been fascinated with it. Often times I still turn on the oven light while the pastry bakes so I can watch the action through the window on the oven door.

Most puff pastry recipes call for quite high baking temperatures. I feel a steady 375 degree oven works best. The pastry becomes gorgeously golden-brown in the same amount of time required to puff and thoroughly cook. With higher temperatures the pastry often gets overly brown around the edges before the center ingredients cook.

Frozen Puff Pastry
For this tart, commercially made puff pastry works well. Find Pepperidge Farm puff pastry in the freezer section of most grocery stores. As a once a year treat its fine. Just don’t look at the longer than necessary list of ingredients. The best option for all butter puff pastry, when you can find it, comes from Dufour Pastry Kitchens. I understand Whole Foods carries their puff pastry. As does a small independent market here in Bozeman.

Fast and Easy
Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry Tart Easy does it for this Roasted Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart. First scallop the edges as explained in the recipe below. Then with a sharp paring knife, score the inside of the pastry about 1/3-inch in from the edge all around. Next use the tines of a fork to “dock”—put holes in the center of the pastry (inside the scoring). This allows the steam to escape and keeps the pastry from randomly puffing up in the center of the tart.

The day after the Pies & Tarts Class, I made an even quicker Tomato and Puff Pastry Tart using up the leftover puff pastry and pesto. Thick, overlapping slices of fresh ripe tomatoes replaced the slow-roasted tomatoes. Made for a light and luscious dinner.

Other hors d’oeuvres for holiday entertaining
Healthier hors d’oeuvres seem difficult to come by this time of year. Consider serving any of these vegetable-rich appetizers:

Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry Tart Savory Roasted Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

Makes 25 1½–inch squares as an hors d’oeuvre; and six 3 x 4½-inch rectangles to serve 2-3 as a light meal
Active time:  15 minutes
Total time:  40-45 minutes

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the fridge (or 40 minutes at room temperature)
1/3 cup pesto, i.e. Pesto Genovese, Arugula Pesto or other pesto of your choice
1 recipe Slow Roasted Tomatoes, or 6-8 fresh tomatoes, such as Campari tomatoes
¼ – 1/3 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, feta, or shaved Parmesan or Pecorino
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves if using fresh tomatoes

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll the defrosted sheet of pastry and place it on a parchment paper-lined baking pan.

Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry Tart Here’s the classic way to finish the edges of puff pastry. Use the little finger of your left hand and the back side of a paring knife (held in your right hand) to scallop the outer edge all around the pastry.

Use a paring knife to lightly score the inside of the tart 1/3 inch all around.
Use the tines of a fork to dock the inside of the tart.

Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry TartSpread the inside of the tart (within the score lines) with a thin, even layer of pesto.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry TartCover the pesto with slow-roasted tomatoes, cut side up so the fresh herbs and garlic show.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry TartDot with the crumbled soft goat cheese.

Alternatively, core the fresh tomatoes and cut ¼ inch thick slices (about 5 slices per tomato depending upon their size). Overlap these slices as the tomatoes will shrink while they cook in the oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dot with the goat cheese and the fresh thyme leaves.

Refrigerate the tart until you are ready to bake it.

Roasted Tomato/Pesto Puff Pastry TartBake the Roasted Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart for about 35 minutes. The pastry should be a beautiful deep golden brown.

Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool slightly before cutting with a serrated knife. Serve hot or at room temperature.


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6 thoughts on “Roasted Tomato and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

  1. I tried this recipe few days ago, didn’t have time slow cook the tomato, so I use the fresh ones. still was a hit at the dinner, my husband and kids all liked!! Thanks Janice!

    • Thanks, Linda, so glad you all enjoyed it. I was just thinking how even more beautiful this tart will be in the summer using different colored heirloom tomatoes. . .gorgeous.

  2. I prepared this and we all loved it. It’s so easy. And true to form for me, I was missing a few key pieces, so improvised proving it’s just about foolproof. Delicious, easy, foolproof. Perfect! A question: Is the garlic on top a new addition? Will give that a go next time.

    • Oh, Maribeth, so glad it worked well for you. I’ve been slow roasting the tomatoes with the garlic for awhile along with the herbs most of the time. I just stick the thin slices of garlic and a small sprig of herbs under the tomatoes when they are cut side down. Then keep them on the tomatoes when turned cut side up. . .a nice look.

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