Ina's Little Tomato Tarts

No doubt you’ve all seen this recipe in Ina Garten’s latest cookbook. Hope I am not repeating something you have already tried, but in my humble opinion, she is the best of the Food Network chefs and her latest cookbook showcases some lovely new recipe ideas. I just happen to like her style- her food- her ideas. She’s fun to watch, has a nifty sense of humor and often puts a new twist on her old recipes, although I don’t see her repeat things too often. One to drool over example: her sticky buns ( a previous post) - which she used to make the old fashioned way with yeast- Ina now uses puff pastry and I’m here to tell you these are FABULOUS and EASY. And FATTENING. Oh my.

Sticky buns aside, (although just writing about them makes me want to make some) I had some company for lunch recently and thought her little Tomato Tart recipe would be the perfect answer- I could get them all ready to go, stick them in the refrigerator and pop them into the oven when we were ready to eat. Don’t you get tired of salads all the time? With a little fruit on the side, this tart wraps things up in a clever, delicious and fun luncheon package.

Have you noticed that Ina is using a lot of puff pastry dough lately? And I read recently on somebody’s blog NOT to buy Pepperidge Farm puff pastry but to go to Whole Foods and get Dufour Classic Puff Pastry. Never dreamed I would actually find it, but there it was, in the freezer area. I really didn’t think it would make a big difference, but it was fabulous- as good as if you made it from scratch. I think for special occasions I will use it but for everyday and family cooking I will use the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry; nothing really wrong with it.

I am not a huge fan of onions for lunch, even caramelized, so I substituted shallots- which I think are milder and work just as well in this recipe and cook faster too. I bet you’re sick of my talking about Ina’s recipes, but when I find one I use a lot and it receives raves from everyone, I really want to make sure you give it a try.

Tomato Goat Cheese Tarts
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
2-3 cups thinly sliced shallots
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Method:Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the shallots and garlic. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shallots are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the shallots are lightly browned. Set aside.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place 1/4 of the shallot mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the shallots. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart. (I was overly generous here.)

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.


  1. there's no question--i can get behind anything making use of puff pastry. the fact that tomatoes and cheese are involved is just an added bonus. hooray for ina.

  2. It's hard to get sick of Ina's recipes. Thanks for the tip on the Dufour puff pastry. I'm not going to be able to resist trying it out now!

  3. wow, i can almost smell the garlic and herb goat cheese and taste the tomatoes. love this different kind of tart.



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