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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Caprese Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust

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Whew, the Columbia Crest dinner party posts are finally complete! Back to normal life on The Sweets Life...

I have a huge backlog of posts stored up right now, so most of what you see on the blog appears a week or two after we actually eat it. Not so with this caprese tart. We made and ate this two days in a row, because once just wasn't enough. And while I usually just post the recipes in the order I make them, I couldn't hold out on this one. Before you start making batches of pesto and freezing it with your abundance of basil, make this tart once or twice. You won't regret it!

One tip: both times I made it, the crust wasn't quite as crisp as we would have preferred. I had an extra batch of the dough on hand that I used to make a different tart, and I pre-baked that crust to see if it made a difference. Pre-baking the crust for 15 minutes went a LONG way in increasing the crispness of the crust. It is also important to make sure the crust is spread evenly in the tart pan.

If you don't have a food processor, don't let that stop you from making this. I successfully made this dough both in the processor and by hand with a pastry cutter.

Tomato, basil, and mozzarella not your cup of tea? I also used this crust to make a tart topped with spinach, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta. This tart was equally delicious, but I had a little mishap when removing it from the pan which resulted in a bit of a mess. It was good enough to eat, but not to photograph...I figured I've already embarrassed myself showing you pictures of other kitchen disasters! :)

One Year Ago:  S'mores Brownies

Caprese Tart with Basil-Garlic Crust
adapted from Pink Parsley

-1 batch basil-garlic tart dough (recipe below)
-4 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
-1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
-1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
-1-2 tbsp fresh minced basil

Basil-Garlic Crust:
-1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
-2 garlic cloves
-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
-4-5 tbsp ice water

For the crust:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the basil and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add flour and salt, pulsing to combine.
2. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until dough forms pea-sized pieces. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time, pulsing a few times after each addition. After adding 4 tbsp of water total, pulse for several seconds to see if the dough forms into a ball. If not, add the 5th tbsp of water and continue to pulse until a ball is formed. Remove dough.
3. Flatten dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for at least one hour. (Dough can be placed in a ziploc bag and refrigerated for several days, or frozen for 1 month. Defrost in refrigerator.)
4. Roll dough out on floured surface. Carefully place into tart pan and press along edges. Trim dough from edges if necessary.

For the tart:
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Press prepared dough into greased tart pan. Bake crust for 15 minutes. If crust bubbles, gently press down with a spatula.
2. Top crust with sliced mozzarella. Place tomato slices over the mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top with basil.
3. Bake 15-20 minutes, until dough is light brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.