Heirloom Tomato Tart

Today, I arrived to work to find a bag filled with heirloom tomatoes sitting on my desk. I knew right away they had been left by Brian, one of the men who works in advertising for The Bulletin, who travels to the city from Lancaster, where he and his wife have a small farm. He has been bringing in his goodies all summer, sharing them with the staff, and his tomatoes are incredible. They really don’t even need olive oil, vinegar or basil — a pinch of salt does the job.

While I prefer to eat these gems raw, this recipe still allows the tomatoes to shine. Filled with caramelized onions, corn, and Gruyère cheese, and topped with a layer of heirlooms, this tart makes a wonderful summer dinner. Any leftover makes a great lunch too.

Heirloom Tomato Tart
Serves 4

1¼ C. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, chilled
4 T. olive oil, divided
¼ C. ice water
4 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
kosher salt and pepper to taste
kernels from one ear of corn, a scant cup
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ C. fresh tarragon, minced
4 oz. Swiss or Gruyère cheese, grated
basil for garnish

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal sugar and salt. Cut in the butter using the back of a fork or a pastry cutter, until the butter resembles the size of large peas. Mix 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the ice water, add to the flour mixture, and stir until the dough begins to come together. Gather the dough into a ball, pat into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the tomatoes into ¼-inch thick slices and place in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Let stand 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out approximately into a 10-inch circle, then transfer to 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. With lightly floured hands, press dough into bottom and sides of pan. Place tart pan on a cookie sheet. Line dough with foil or plastic wrap, fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Remove pan from oven, remove beans from center, and place on cooling rack.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the remaining one tablespoon of oil over medium heat until slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the corn kernels and garlic and cook for a minute longer. Add the tarragon and remove pan from heat.

Pour onion mixture into center of tart. Top with cheese. Pat the tops of the tomatoes dry with another double layer of paper towels. Arrange the tomatoes over the top of the onion mixture in overlapping circles. Bake 20 minutes longer or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden.


  1. Mrs. Eidenier says

    The crust for this tart is so good that Jerry drummed on the table and said it is the difference between “wager” and “bet” with “wager” being the more flavorful. (He had been working on a poem this morning.) Emily and I bought tomatoes, onions, fresh tarragon, and homemade Gruyere at the Hillsborough Farmer’s Market, and I made the tart for lunch with Jerry and Emily and Emily’s godmother. Absolutely delicious! And thank you very much for those clearly timed directions, because I was under a schedule crunch and needed to know those details.

  2. Alexandra Stafford says

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s so fun that Emily is home! Can’t wait for the festivities in November.

  3. Joanna says

    I cooked this on Sunday morning! :) There was a potluck dinner after an afternoon dance rehearsal, and this seemed the perfect seasonal and vegetable-centric item to bring! I bought 3 different heirlooms — a stripey one, a purple one (Brandywine?), and a green one (Green Zebra, I assume). The top of the tart was beautiful; I’ll try to show you a picture. I used shallots (because I’d bought a half-pint), and I loved everything in the filling. I was a little wary of the crust, because I’m inexperienced with them; mine did turn out slightly more crumbly than might be ideal, but it was serviceable.

    Thanks for the recipe! :)

  4. Elizabeth says

    I haven’t even tasted the finished product yet and am already planning at making it again. Crust was not quite perfect but not bad for the first time through.

  5. says

    I made this for brunch yesterday for my partner and me as a revisit to your galette recipe from last year. Stupendous! (which has become my new favorite adjective since reading in her obit that Joan Sutherland was nicknamed “La Stupenda”) Seems I can’t get it together to make this at the height of summer, but with that crust, I’m almost tempted to try it in the dead of winter using frozen corn and plum tomatoes! (Maybe!)

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