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Tomato Tart with Cashew Goat Cheese & Basil Pesto

Posted Oct 14 2009 10:03pm

Tomato Tart1

As promised, here’s the recipe I made with the not-so-firm Cashew Goat Cheese I wrote about yesterday. It’s an insanely simple, yummy, and beautiful Tomato Tart! I’d made the cheese for a get together we were having, and was thinking I’d just put the two logs out with crackers and crostini.  I realized that the second log wasn’t setting up that well, and I thought I’d maybe try to do something else with it.  I didn’t want to go to the store, and I had a bunch of other stuff to make, so I just had to figure out what I could do with what I had on hand.

A few weeks ago, the Hollywood Farmers Market had a tomato festival.  I’d had high hopes of making some sort of mini tomato tarts for that Sunday, but we had an event the night before and the week just got away from me. I’d looked up lots of recipes for tomato tarts online, though, and many of them were basically puff pastry topped with goat or some other kind of cheese, tomatoes and basil.  Those recipes must have taken root in my subconscious.  Once I realized that I already had the goat cheese – which would have been the hardest part – the rest was easy!

Tomato Tart2

We had some tomatoes laying around that hadn’t been used during the week.  (I try to meal plan, and I swear that I have every intention of making the dinners… but then life happens and I end up having cereal for dinner.)  I also had some extra puff pastry in the freezer.  Just to seal the deal, we’d bought some prepared dairy-free basil pesto from the market on Sunday for grilled veggie sandwiches.  Viola!  A tomato tart was born!

This seriously could not be easier.  The hardest part is making the cheese, which you probably don’t even have to bake beforehand since you’ll be putting this in the oven.   If you don’t have time or don’t feel like making the cheese (although you really should, because it’s so good here!), you could always mix some Tofutti cream cheese with herbs or nutritional yeast and use that as the cheese.  You could also leave it out, and just bake the tomatoes with the puff pastry.  The point is that you can do what’s easy, and what you like.  It’s more of an idea than a recipe, and you could certainly even substitute other veggies if tomatoes aren’t your thing.

Start by thawing some puff pastry.  Make sure to check the ingredients because some of them contain butter.   This one is vegan, but not health food by any stretch of the imagination – although we are talking about puff pastry here.  Once it’s thawed, roll it out so that it’s a slightly larger rectangle.  Spread your goat cheese out, leaving a border around the edges.  Then slice up two tomatoes (more or less, depending on their size) and discard as many of the seeds and liquid as you can.  Lay the slices out over the cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden.  Here’s what it will look like before baking.

Tomato Tart - Unbaked

I made the mistake of adding my pesto at this point, but I should have waited until it came out of the oven.  It still tasted good, but didn’t have that fresh bright green color.  You could also garnish this with fresh basil leaves.  If you don’t have a prepared pesto that you like, my favorite recipe is in Vegan with a Vengeance.  I often make some up when I have extra basil on hand and freeze it.  It’s so good, and nice to have for those nights when we don’t feel like cooking.  It’s also perfect to use for something like this tart.

Like the goat cheese, all the non-vegans loved this.  People kept telling me how awesome “that pizza thing-ey” was.  It went so fast that I don’t think Ryan even got to try a piece!  Next time you have people over, try this tart.  You and your guests will be glad that you did!

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