Every single summer, fresh tomatoes win me over from the first moment I spot those plump, vibrant, pristine spheres at the market.
Perfectly round, red, meaty, and bursting on the inside – they deserve to be the main feature of many summer recipes.
But before you rush over to the dairy department to get a few tubs of fresh mozzarella for that caprese salad or pasta salad, I advise that you take a second look at the other offerings from the cheese counter to make something wonderful.
This tomato and cheese tart will give you the best, most refreshing comfort food vibes this summer.
You can use your favorite tomatoes for this recipe: Early Girls, grape, cherry, heirloom varieties – whatever you have that is at its ripest, juiciest, and most flavorful.
If you are using larger varieties, I recommend that you cut them into slices. It will be far more manageable to eat with slices, rather than attempting to bite into a big, roasted tomato bursting with hot juices!
Let’s talk about this beautiful spelt flour pastry crust…
If you’re used to baking your crusts with all-purpose flour, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this variation. Spelt flour gives the pastry a hearty taste and beautiful light brown color.
The high amount of butter in the crust may take a few tries when you’re prepping, since it has a tendency to melt quickly in the humid summer heat.
Especially if you’re like me with no air conditioning in the apartment. At least the small fan I set up next to my oven provides a small comfort with a weakened airflow indicative of its $15 price point.
My main piece of advice is to keep the dough cold. Follow the steps below to chill the dough before and after shaping into the pan to prevent the fat from melting prematurely before baking.
Once you learn all the techniques to master pastry dough for tarts and pies, you’ll soon be rewarded with a flaky, buttery, delicious crust that is just as good as the tantalizing filling.
Slice into wedges, and serve to your salivating guests outside on a cool summer night.
You can have that salad another day. Indulge for just a moment, just one meal, with this summery comfort food dish you won’t soon forget.Print
Looking for some comfort food vibes with fresh summer ingredients? Make a spelt flour tart with tomatoes, cheese, and caramelized onions.
For the Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups white spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
For the Filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1/4 pound (4 ounces) aged gouda, very thinly sliced
- 8 small tomatoes (such as cherry, grape)
- 4–6 leaves fresh basil
- Freshly cracked salt and pepper, to taste
For the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk together the spelt flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, a food processor, or a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the flour and salt until it is broken into pea-sized pieces.
- Add the ice water and yogurt, and mix until the water is absorbed.
- Turn onto a clean counter and knead lightly one or two times, to form one smooth disc.
- Wrap the disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill the butter.
- Once the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it will fit the base of a tart pan, with a little bit of excess up the sides. Press the dough into the pan, and trim any excess around the edges. Place back in the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes before filling.
For the Caramelized Onions:
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and stir them together with the oil.
- Let this mixture cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions are soft and translucent, and just starting to turn light brown around the edges.
- Remove from the stove and transfer to a separate bowl or plate.
To Assemble and Bake:
- Evenly spread the chilled dough with the caramelized onions. Evenly distribute the slices of cheese on top of the onions. Place the whole tomatoes on top, arranging them around the tart.
- Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and garnish on top. Evenly sprinkle the tart with freshly cracked salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden and tomatoes have slightly shriveled and burst.
- Remove from oven, and let cool for 15 minutes before serving while still warm.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Tart
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: tart, tomato, basil, onion, cheese, Gouda
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Make and Chill the Dough
For the crust, follow our detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to make the perfect pie dough.
While we use spelt flour in this recipe, you can easily use the same amount of all-purpose flour instead.
The yogurt helps to reinforce the tart dough, making it more pliable to roll out.
Form the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill it in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This helps to relax the gluten and firm up the butter.
Step 2 – Shape
Once the dough is chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin until it will fit the base of a tart pan, with a little bit of excess up the sides. Press the dough into the pan, and trim any excess around the edges.
I like to use the rolling pin to gently roll it onto the top of the pan for a quick, clean, and precise method of trimming away the excess dough.
Place back in the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes before filling. It’s essential to chill the dough again after it has been formed in the pan – your hands will begin to melt the butter while you are shaping.
Chilling for a second time after it is in the pan will re-harden the dough, and will help the dough maintain its shape inside the pan as it is baking.
Step 3 – Caramelize the Onions
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, translucent, and browning on the edges.
Remove from the heat and let cool before placing on the dough – you don’t want the onions to be too hot, or else you’ll risk softening the dough too much!
Step 4 – Assemble
Spread the chilled dough with the cooled caramelized onions.
Next, evenly distribute the thin slices of cheese on top of the onions. Use a cheese slicer or knife and cutting board to get very thin slices.
Want something different than Gouda? Many styles of aged chees will work well. Try Parmigiano Reggiano, or an aged sharp cheddar instead.
Place the whole tomatoes on top, arranging them around the tart. I like to leave small tomatoes whole, as they each will provide a big, juicy burst of flavor when you take a bite. However, if you are using larger fruit, cut them down to an appropriate size.
Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and garnish on top. Evenly sprinkle the tart with freshly cracked salt and pepper.
Skip your typical table salt for this recipe! There are some beautiful large-flake sea salts you should use that create the best textural contrast with the soft tomatoes.
Step 5 – Bake
Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the tomatoes have slightly shriveled and burst.
Remove from oven, and let cool for 15 minutes before serving while still warm.
Try with Other Veggies!
Savory exploration of ingredients is nearly limitless – with all of the fresh produce now available this season, why don’t you try to experiment with other vegetables?
What vegetables do you think you’ll use for this recipe? Going with the original, or your own mix of ingredients? Let me know in the comment section below!
For more savory pies and tarts, try some of our favorites:
- German Onion
- Tomato and Egg with Goat Cheese and Herbs
- Buckwheat Harvest Tart
- Chicken Curry Pie
- Chicken Pot Pie
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 27, 2014 by Shanna Mallon. Last updated: November 11, 2020 at 14:11 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.