RAINBOW TOMATO TART
Simply gorgeous and colorful, this Rainbow Tomato Tart comes together fast and is a great late Summer party dish! Ripe heirloom tomatoes nestled on an herb cheese mixture finishes with the fabulous crunch of a crispy phyllo crust!
And it can be made up to 4 hours ahead to make your hostessing job that much easier! That’s exactly why I included this dish in the buffet menu of my FAIRIES IN THE FOREST TWILIGHT SOIREE theme party. This dish is the perfect way to help celebrate the last days of summer before the cool weather moves in! You should check out the whole party menu, it’s absolutely fabulous!
Because phyllo dough can be intimidating, we’re going to start with some tips on handling and using phyllo. Then you’ll feel much more confident to make this recipe. I pinky-promise!
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH PHYLLO DOUGH
Here’s a few tips that will make it easier working with your phyllo dough:
- Keep the package closed when thawing
- Thawing overnight in the refrigerator is highly recommended
- As a last resort, thaw at room temperature for 4-5 hours and use immediately
- Prepare all ingredients for your recipe before opening the thawed phyllo dough
- Make sure your hands are as dry as possible when handling the dough
- Bring the packaged phyllo to room temperature before opening and using
- Remove the thawed phyllo from the package and unroll the sheets
- Cover the unrolled phyllo with a sheet of waxed paper covered by a damp towel to keep it moist. It dries out very quickly
- Each time you remove one sheet, cover the remainder
- If you tear a piece of phyllo by mistake, don’t worry. You can patch pieces together to use in a middle layer of the pastry, and this will rarely if ever, show in the final product
- Use a pizza cutter into strips of dough if necessary
STORING REMAINING DOUGH
As soon as you use the quantity of phyllo dough you need, roll up any remaining sheets with the original protective paper.
Then cover carefully with waxed paper and plastic wrap to keep air out. The unused phyllo can be stored this way in the refrigerator for up to 8-9 days. Phyllo can be refrozen, and will last in the freezer for about 3 months.
BAKING PHYLLO DOUGH
Follow the baking instructions on the packaging or the recipe. You’ll want to get the phyllo dough creations into the oven as soon as you’re finished with the prep. Keep a close watch on them once they are in the oven. You want the phyllo to be nicely golden brown and crisp, but a few minutes past that and they will burn.
BE PREPARED AND WORK QUICKLY
The keys to working with phyllo are to be organized and work quickly. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it’s a great choice for all kinds of recipes.
If your first venture with phyllo dough isn’t super successful, don’t be too discouraged. Phyllo is a delicate and finicky item, but it’s also quite forgiving. Tears and mistakes are hard to notice once your dish is baked.
LET’S TALK TOMATO TART!
I’m going to start by qualifying what I’m going to say… This is a really simple recipe, that produces a “showpiece” when finished. But, while it’s simple, there are some helpful tips that will make it EASIER!
Now you have all the tips you’ll need to work with your phyllo dough. So lets talk about how to assemble your crust and tart.
It begins with making a fast version of garlic-lemon oil. You need to use a little oil between each layer of phyllo so it will be crisp. So why not let it help add another layer of flavor to your tart?
The garlic-lemon oil echos the flavors of the herb cheese and brings those flavors to the forefront.
You’ll be oiling each sheet as it’s laid down, then adding a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs over top. This ensures the crust won’t get soggy once baked.
MY TIP FOR OILING YOUR PHYLLO LAYERS
Now, the recipe says to “brush” the oil on each sheet. But after making this tart numerous times, I’ve found a better way that reduces the amount of tearing.
- Dip your pastry brush into the flavored oil, then hold the sheet down with a few fingers while gently “tapping” the oil onto the phyllo. Hold your brush upright so it’s vertical and tap and move along the sheet until lightly covered with oil.
Here I show you how you’ll be laying down your sheets, offsetting some to form your raised crust. I’ve given you complete instructions on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Once your crust is assembled, it’s popped into the oven to become a golden brown nest to hold the yummy herbed cheese and tomato toppings!
A FEW MORE NOTES ON HOW TO BEST ASSEMBLE YOUR RAINBOW TOMATO TART
- When chopping your fresh herbs, keep some small basil leaves to use as garnish.
- Don’t worry about tearing as you assemble the crust, just use a small piece of phyllo for a patch! (cut with pizza cutter)
- To easily spread your cheese onto the baked crust, gently space dollops of the filling over the crust. Spread out with a spoon. BE VERY GENTLE! You can fill in the gaps with small amounts of the cheese, while leaving a 1/2 border around the edges for a lovely presentation.
- Pick a selection of different colored heirloom tomatoes in various sizes. Make sure you get a few Roma tomatoes to fill in the small spaces between large slices.
- Once your tomatoes are thickly sliced, you’ll want to drain them on paper toweling for a few minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step, as the tomato’s juices can make the tart soggy after a bit of time.
- The tart can be made up to four hours before serving. Lightly cover the tart with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. If you’re making it ahead of time, you’ll skip the drizzle of oil and seasoning step until you’re ready to serve it.
LIKE I SAID, SIMPLE, RIGHT?
Now that you’ve gotten to the end of the recipe, it doesn’t sound nearly as intimidating, does it? I told you!
Don’t let the summer end without enjoying Mother Nature’s bounty of ripe, juicy tomatoes in this fabulous Rainbow Tomato Tart!
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10 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 large strips of lemon peel (take off a much white pith as possible)
Heirloom tomatoes in various colors and sizes (a few small to fill in gaps too!)
2/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
16 oz. ricotta cheese
2/3 cup fresh parmesan or asiago, grated
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons mixed fresh herbs (oregano, marjoram, basil, thyme & chives)
3 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Pour oil into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When oil is warmed, add garlic and let heat for 2-3 minutes (don't let it boil).
- Turn off heat, squeeze each lemon strip to release the oils and drop into garlic oil mixture.
- Let cool completely with garlic and peels. Hold until ready to use.
- READ PHYLLO HANDLING TIPS IN POST BEFORE MAKING CRUST (keep phyllo sheets covered with damp towel while working with them)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tsp. of the garlic-lemon oil. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the center of the baking sheet.
- Brush sheet of phyllo with flavored oil and sprinkle with a little of the bread crumbs.
- Offset the second and third sheets along one side so their long edges are laying on rim of pan (you're starting to form the raised edges of the crust). Brush with oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
- Repeat with two more sheets on the other side. (stagger the 2 sheets to cover the entire length of the pan) Brush with oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
- The next two sheets will be placed along both ends to form the short edges of the crust. Repeat oil and bread crumbs on the end sheets.
- Place the last sheet in the center to complete the crust, brush with olive oil, but omit the crumbs on the center sheet.
- Bake the crust on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. ROTATE THE PAN HALF WAY THROUGH COOKING TIME. Remove from oven and let cool completely. (don't cover)
- Place the cheeses and garlic in the food processor and pulse a few times until smooth and combined.
- Place the cheese in a medium bowl and add fresh herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Slice tomatoes thickly and let drain on dry paper towels for 5 minutes to absorb the excess moisture. (don't skip this step, otherwise your tart can get soggy!)
- Spread the cheese mixture gently over the crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
- Arrange the tomato slices on top, garnish fresh basil leaves and drizzle with a bit of the flavored oil. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
- SEE NOTES
The tart can be assembled up to 4 hours before serving and refrigerated (lightly covered with plastic wrap). IF MAKING AHEAD - Don't drizzle with oil, or season with salt and pepper until you're ready to serve your tart. The salt will make the tomatoes start to release their juices.
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 401Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 38mgSodium 819mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 15g
Fat and calorie counts will vary with size of portions.