I have always felt that heirloom tomatoes are the crowning jewels of late summer. Just as with winter citrus, they remind us of the colors that the next season will soon bring. Heirlooms’ deep reds, greens, golds, and yellows seem to foreshadow autumn’s change of scene.
We haven’t been able to go to the farmer’s market this last month without grabbing a few of these heirloom beauties with each visit. A couple weeks back we spoke to one of the farmers whose stand was just brimming with the fruit. The farmer, old and weathered and kind, talked with us at length about his growing process, the varieties (so many!), and the care that goes into each. I pretty much wanted to buy all the tomatoes by the time we were done chatting, and did make it out of there with one of each type to try at home.
While most tomatoes this time of year don’t make it past the slice and eat stage in our house, I was able to hoard a couple away for this tart. Making a variation on the the kitchn’s cornmeal millet crust, this crust is a rustic and savory blend of cornmeal and almond meal. Think of this as a “flavor your own adventure” kind of tart – salt and pepper to taste, use more or less basil if desired, add a touch or more of the olive oil. Heck, I think a little balsamic vinegar would taste great with this as well.
- For the crust:
- ½ cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill medium stone ground)
- 1½ cup almond meal/flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into ¼ inch pieces, plus extra to grease pan
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water
- For the filling:
- 1 cup ricotta, full fat (part-skim works too)
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste, plus more for garnishing
- 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or more if desired
- For the crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 14x4 inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom.
- In a food processor, add cornmeal, almond meal, and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter pieces and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add ice water, pulsing between each tablespoon until it starts to look like wet sand. With your fingers, pinch a bit of the mixture to make sure it holds together. If it doesn't, add more water a teaspoon at a time.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared tart pan, and press in with your fingers. pressing it no more than halfway up the sides of the pan (a little less will lessen crumbling).
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the crust starts to turn golden brown. Place on cooling rack when done.
- For the filling: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta and most of basil, leaving a little aside to garnish the top of finished tart. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the tart crust has cooled completely, spread ricotta mixture into crust. Top with tomato slices. Garnish with remaining basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender or your hands to mix the dough for the crust.