Tomato Tarts – Tomato overload & left over dough

7 A.M.: Sitting on the plane waiting for take-off, Diane turns to me with concerned, sleep deprived eyes, “We have to have my brother water the tomatoes! It’s supposed to get hot this week.”  Nevermind the fact that in the upcoming week, we had 2.5 days to shoot almost 40 recipes plus get footage for 3 videos.  Or that we’d be dealing with 115° heat in Scottsdale.  The only concerns running through that pretty mind of hers was of our precious tomatoes back home.

After several hit and miss years of growing tomatoes, this is the first year we’ve be raising them.  Going beyond plopping them in the ground, setting up the drip irrigation, and hoping for the best.  Despite that our schedule has been a travel filled, back-to-back-shooting-jobs summer, these tomatoes have been nurtured, coddled, fed, pruned, and continually watched over.  As soon as we get home, it’s rub Sierra and Dante’s heads, put down the bags, and check the tomatoes.

The tenacious care has given us overwhelming bushels of tomatoes. Sun Golds, Kentucky Beefsteaks, Brandywines, Anna Russians, Yellow Perfections, Sweet 100’s, San Marzanos, Black Zebras, Jaune Flammes.  The variety, quality, and abundance has been ethereal.

fresh tomato tarts from left over nectarine cobbler dough

Breakfast, lunch and dinner have been laced with the tomato bounty.  Determined to allow as little loss of these precious orbs as possible, we’ve continually rediscovered favorite and found new ways to savor them.  While baking for one of our latest posts, the Nectarine & Raspberry Cobbler, inspiration led to an easy and delicious way to serve them for appetizers.

While making the cobblers, we had quite a bit of extra biscuit dough left over.  Not wanting it to go to waste, I rolled the dough out, cut it into fluted rounds using a mini-tart mold, gave them a few playful stabs with a fork, then blind baked the rounds.  After the culinary alchemy yielded golden, fluted rounds, we topped them with a spread of fresh pesto, slices of tomato, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, then finished with lovingly pinched tips of Italian Basil.

At a loss for a name, Diane put up a photo on the Garden portion of WORC and there were several fantastic names people came up with.  My favorite, Stephanie’s “Gone in 60 seconds!”  Call ’em what you’d like, they are delicious. Of course, like bruschette or similar appetizer fare, the topping options are only limited by your imagination.  Go crazy with your creativity.  However right now, we have some tomatoes to eat!

It’s good to be home and in the garden. Now back to puppy ear rubs…


5 from 1 vote
Tomato Tart Recipe
Total Time
45 mins

If you find yourself making a cobbler or similar dough, make a little extra for these summertime appetizers. We used a 3" tart mold to cut the shapes, but any cookie cutter will work.  This pesto is one of our favorite variations.  Use a good quality olive oil.  It makes a huge difference. Some like to add pine nuts, or use another nut of choice, or adjust the ratios. Make it as you like best. We tend to make our pesto using a mortar & pestle,  but you can easily make the pesto in a food processor.  If you do have a large mortar & pestle, you may like the rustic texture from making the pesto in it better.

Servings: 9 servings
Tart Dough
  • 1 cup (160g) all-purpose Flour
  • pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) cold unsalted Butter , cut in small chunks
  • 3/4 cup (195ml) Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup fresh Italian Basil Leaves , chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic , crushed
  • 1/4 cup fresh, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1-2 Tablespoons toasted Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt , or to taste
  • fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Olive Oil
  • fresh Lemon Juice , to taste
  • fresh , flavorful Tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
  • fresh Italian Basil leaves , for finishing garnish
  1. Make the Tart rounds: Preheat oven to 375° F.  Line sheet pan with parchment paper or silipat.

  2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.  Add brown sugar and butter, then pinch butter with flour until it is the size of small peas.  Pour in heavy cream and mix to form a soft dough (be careful not to over-mix).

  3. On a well floured surface, roll dough out to approx. 1/8" thick.  Cut into rounds using 3" tart mold or cookie cutter.  Poke holes in dough with a fork.  Carefully lift rounds onto lined sheet pan.  Place in oven and bake for approx. 15 min or until golden. Set aside to cool.
  4. Make the Pesto: Combine basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a food processor or mortar & pestle.  Start food processor, or pound the ingredients then slowly add olive oil. Adjust olive oil amounts to your preferred texture. Season with fresh lemon juice to taste and mix a little more. Cover and set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.

  5. Final plating: Spread a nice layer of pesto on the crust rounds.  Layer the sliced tomatoes on, the finish with some freshly grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and the small basil leaves.
{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. bill of lading

    Water comes in my tongue, after seeing the pictures & the recipes, surely i’ll made all this food in my home.
    thanks for this kind of website.

  2. Poor Taste

    These looks so tasty and delicate. Lately, I’ve been really into the combo of tomato, rosemary, and goatcheese. I think a split batch is in my future…

  3. kwpang

    this tomata tart look not only beautiful, but really delicious too.

  4. Liam O'Malley

    Those tarts look delicious. I’ve still got some tomatoes coming in off my deck, but they have slowed to a trickle. I’m thinking with the horrendous heat we’ve had here in the DC area this summer we’re going to see the end of tomato season earlier than some other years.

  5. Elizabeth

    I laughed pretty hard when I read Diane’s reaction to leaving the tomatoes. I did the exact same thing two weeks ago when travelling to the Okanagan. “But the tomatoes might ripen while we’re away? What if it rains? What if it’s super hot? Who will prune them?”

    My husband quelled my fears by moving some inside and asking a neighbour to care for the rest. Whew! I just can’t let all that work get away from me! This is our first year as well actually “caring” for tomatoes and we are seeing a HUGE amount of them…though up here in the Pacific Northwest, ours are still mainly green. We’ve gotten a few, but not many.

    I envy your haul of heirloom varieites, and this appetizer looks amazing!

  6. Chocolate Shavings

    I made very similar tarts this summer
    It’s really one of the best ways to enjoy ripe summer tomatoes!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      chocolate shavings- those look great!

  7. Gabriel Hummel

    Is there such a thing better as a ripe tomato? I often bite into them like apples.

    Alas, you have one upped my taste buds by introducing pesto and bread, two of my most favorite things.

    Damn you and your misdirecting blog posts.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Gabriel- glad to keep you on your toes. haha! and great for you to eat them like apples. They’re definitely amazing fruits!

  8. Sues

    So beautiful! I’ve been making dough up the wazoo lately, so I need to make some extra for these! And then snag some tomatoes from my parents’ garden 🙂

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Sues- yes, go be a tomato thief and bake tons of tomato tarts! and of course, share with your parents too.

  9. matt

    wow, you guys are busy aren’t you! Good on Diane, you guys have put so much love in to the tomatoes, it would be a disaster if they weren’t taken of when you are away!

    Great looking tom. tarts. Gorgeous photography and styling as always. Love the simplicity here, which we know really isn’t simple at all.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      matt- thanks matt! hope your tomato harvest went well this year. xo

  10. Jessica

    Can’t say as I blame her. Love my little tomatoes and I covered them up the other night when temps dipped below 40 degrees. Way too much love and care went into those sweet morsels to let a little thing like cold get to ’em.

  11. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Such pretty appetizers! I love how you guys have like a freakin’ Farmer’s Market growing in your backyard. I’m pretty jealous about that!

  12. Amy

    The secret to the best tasting tomatoes: water them only as they are on the brink of death. Okay, maybe I’m being over-dramatic, but you don’t want to water them too much. I like to see mine sagging a little bit before giving them a nice drink, and the tomatoes thank me with a divine taste! Truthfully, they’d probably like to cause me a slow death, but I like to think their thanking me!

  13. Cooking in Mexico

    What a beautiful presentation! Nothing compares to home grown tomatoes and you seem to be making the most of them.

  14. Miranda Merten

    Welcome home! Those are beautiful tomatoes indeed!

  15. Stephanie Schamban

    Hey Todd & Diane- I’m happy you liked my suggestion!!! I’ll make you a deal: you guys keep coming up with delicious recipes and beautiful photos…and I’ll keep you well supplied with names. You in?


    1. White on Rice Couple

      We’ll do our best!

  16. TheKitchenWitch

    Welcome home! Those are little beauties, there! I wish I could say the same for my tomatoes–pathetic little blobs.

  17. Kristie

    Please share your tomato raising secrets. We would dearly love to produce bushels, too!
    BTW, the tarts look lovely. I think we have enough tomatoes still in production to give them a try.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Kristie-
      This is what we’ve done here in So Cal, and keep in mind that each tomato variety has been a bit different in their needs but in general all of the tomatoes have benefited from the following care:
      Lots of feeding- We’ve been using a fish based liquid-y fertilizer (basically fish droppings in a bottle!) about every other week.
      They are on drip irrigation 4 days a week, but when it gets warm, they all get extra deeper hand waterings.
      Treated with Neem oil whenever they start to develop mildew.
      No ugly leaves. Anytime some leaves start to turn ugly they are taken off. Helps the vines from wasting energy unhealthy parts and refocuses on growing good stuff.

      That’s the jist of it. Hope it helps! Plus, don’t forget to plant tomato varieties which like your area.


  18. Hannah

    I had the exact same thought when I went off on vacation! Sadly, we had no one to take care of the tomatoes, and I came back to devastation when I got home. All of the plants had toppled over from wind and rain, and birds had feasted upon any ripe tomatoes. Luckily, they’re still more or less alive and producing some tomatoes. No great harvest, but I’m still happy to get small handfuls of cherry tomatoes each day.

    Beautiful tarts, and very creative use of tartlette pans to cut out those rounds of dough.

  19. Victoria

    I can’t say I have bushels of tomatoes – I haven’t even had time to go to Moses farm (yes, Grandma Moses) to pick two bushels to make into sauce and freeze for winter – but after last summer when all my tomato plants got some horrible blight, I am very happy that the tomatoes I did plant have reaped enough to eat for the past six weeks.

    One of the best ways to eat tomatoes – aside from just sliced and slathered with mayonnaise thinned with a little red wine vinegar – is Marcella Hazan’s recipe for Garlic-Scented Tomato Salad. You put 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar in a small bowl, add 4 smashed garlic cloves, and steep for 20 minutes. Either slice or chunk the tomatoes, put on a platter, sprinkle with torn basil leaves, and pour the garlic-vinegar mixture through a strainer over the tomatoes. Add a little olive oil, turn gently, and serve. This is absolutely scrumptious, better than it sounds.

    I often serve this next to arugula salad on the same white plate with thin pork chops on the bone, which I have pounded a little, dipped in strained, beaten egg, rolled in plain dried breadcrumbs, and cooked in hot grapeseed oil. A fine dinner – delicious and beautiful.

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