Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

This easy recipe appears in Ina Garten's new book "Back to Basics". It is a nice simple recipe and really delicious. I happened to have almost all the ingredients on hand so I went ahead and tried it. I only had two lonely little Campari tomatoes so I added in a few Kalamata Olives. I also had no fresh basil, but I did have some wonderful French Thyme salt that a dear friend brought me back from Paris and used that flavoring instead. In fact it came from an open air Market that Ina frequents! So I did not feel so bad not having the basil. I made them a bit larger than the recipe, they were 8 inches in diameter...the size of my Blue Willow cake plates. I happened to use Pepperidge Farm puff pastry with this, but I have to say that I really prefer an all butter puff pastry. It has more puff power and much better flavor. The brand I like best is called "Du Four".
It is quite expensive. If you are lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe's their own Trader Joe's brand puff pastry is really great...all butter and actually costs less than the Pepperidge Farm.
I highly recommend it!

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
from Ina Garten
Back to Basics
yield :4 individual tarts

  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 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

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 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions 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 onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

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 onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. 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.

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. This looks simply delicious!!!

  2. Thanks Suzy! They were! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I saw this recipe in Ina' book but haven't tried it. Your version looks delicious. Thanks for the tip about Trader Joe's puff pastry.

  4. Just happen to have goat cheese in my fridge!! Looks delicious..and I love the cheese warm, has a better flavor!

  5. It is better warm, I concur on that!...I actually had plain goat cheese and used that. I am not that fond of the garlic and herb flavor...
    It worked out well for a busy night when Mike and I found ourselves alone and not all that hungry...I actually made little apple tarts with the leftover dough...they were tasty too! Baked them all together...
    add in a green salad and you are good to go!

  6. this look so good! and you vday decor is darling!

  7. Looks positively delicious! I'm compelled to make this now, too! Thanks, Linda!

  8. Thanks for the great review, and your changes... (improvements!) I would prefer the thyme, it's my favorite herb ~ and that it's from that special friend, and from Paris, well that just makes it all the more special!

    I share your feelings about PFarm Puff Pastry, it's not so healthy :( but I use it anyway ~ no TJ's within 200 miles. (And to think there were 5 within 15 minutes where I used to live!)

    Gorgeous photos, Linda. Beautiful! xo~m.

  9. Mary... the PF Puff Pastry is still good in a pinch....I am thinking about trying my hand at making some myself again. I did it many years ago and not again since I have had kids. It seems like it would be a good project to do and make a stash for the freezer. Someday soon...when my life is less crazed I guess!

    Have you tried the Du Four brand puff pastry? It is kind of pricey...but very good!

    L xoxoxox

  10. Looks delicious, Linda..
    Next time I get to TJ I will look for the pastry..It is about an hour from here, so I make my list and I am adding this!