This was the easiest tart that I've ever made ... and in fact, Silent Bob and I are having a debate on whether it is a tart or a pizza. I say tart because the crust is made with freezer-aisle puff pastry and not yeast dough. SB says it doesn't have the depth of a tart, is baked flat on a pizza pan, and has cheese and tomatoes,not to mention copious amounts of basil. It's a pizza in his eyes. Whatever the case, it is a simple affair to make, looks dramatic, and tastes wonderful!
Start this tart by thawing a box of puff pastry sheets on a rack. When they are soft, unfold them and lay one on a floured rolling surface. Unfold the other and lay it right on top of the first so that the folds of the first sheet are perpendicular to the second sheet. Flour the top and roll the pastry sheets to make a large square. Lay the square over a parchment paper-lined pizza pan. My pan is about 16 inches round. Trim the pastry to the shape of the pan and lay the trimmings around where the crust is a bit thin. No waste allowed here.
Next, make the cheese base by smashing a small (8 oz.) container of Mascarpone cheese, a huge handful of chopped basil leaves (a generous cup), Kosher salt and black pepper, about a cup of grated smoked Gruyere cheese, and about a cup and a half of grated Cheddar or Parmesan (a hard cheese). Add a few drops pf cream or milk to loosen things up a bit. Then drop the cheese by spoonfuls onto the crust and use the back of the spoon to spread it into one layer. Leave a bit of an edge of pastry exposed around the edges of the tart.
Slice about two and a half pounds of plum tomatoes into quarter inch coins and begin laying them in concentric circles. Start at the outer edge and work your way in a spiral to the center of the tart. I overlap the coins just a tad. Sprinkle the top of the tart with salt and plenty of black pepper and pop the tart into a 400 degree Farenheit oven. Bake the tart for a half hour and then slide it out onto a counter top, sprinkle a teaspoon or two of sugar over the tomatoes (this helps caramelize the juices and glaze the tomato tops) and pop it back in the oven for another half hour. Lower the heat in the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit for the second half of the baking time.
And voila! A work of art tart! We dressed ours up with boiled lobster and corn on the cob to celebrate Labor Day weekend, but you could have a simple salad with yours ... just slap it together and enjoy! This simple tart came from Diana Henry's cookbook called Plenty - Good Uncomplicated Food For the Sustainable Kitchen. I highly recommend that you get the book. It's an awesome addition to your cook book collection! Just sayin ...