Post by Alison Hein.
Summer has ended. The sweet, colorful heirloom tomatoes we’ve been enjoying all season are dwindling at local farmer’s markets, slowly being replaced by staunch winter squash and hardy pumpkins. Definitely time to make a few last minute heirloom purchases, and showcase some in these lovely, summer-to-fall baked tartelettes.
Make your own pie crust for a real homemade treat, or substitute store-bought if you don’t have time to fuss. I like to make a very plain filling that adds body, but allows the lush, juicy summer heirloom flavors to shine through. Warm, light ricotta plays nicely with the crisp, autumnal bite of homemade crust. Fresh basil adds color and a snap of freshness after baking. Nice for a cozy, summer-to-fall breakfast in bed.
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup butter
2 cups ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 Heirloom tomatoes, varied colors
Fresh basil, for garnish
To make crust, sift together flour and salt. Remove half of the flour mixture and add to a separate small bowl. Add water to flour mixture and stir to make a paste. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth, uniform dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut in half. Gently roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured board, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll dough to form a circle several inches larger than your pie pan, to accommodate sides and edges of pan. Fold circle of dough in half, gently lift, and place on top of pie pan. Trim, and form edges by making a fluted pattern, or you can press the dough down against the rim of the pie pan with a fork. Again using a fork, pierce bottom of dough in several places, which helps to keep dough flat as it bakes. If you like, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit pan, and weigh down with pie weights or dry beans. Repeat for second tartlette. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Make filling while pie crusts are cooling. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, rosemary, salt, and white pepper. Divide filling evenly among pie crusts. Slice heirloom tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Cut and arrange tomatoes on top of ricotta filling, alternating colors and shapes as necessary. Reduce oven heat to 325° and bake filled tartlettes for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is set. Let cool at least one hour before serving. Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy slightly warmed or at room temperature.
Makes 2 6-inch tartelettes.