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Tomato Tarts with Basil and Fresh Goat Cheese

For the best flavor, prepare these tarts at the height of summer when all of the colorful heirloom tomatoes are at the farmers’ market. Select a goat cheese with a rich, creamy consistency and a full, tangy though not overly assertive flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 20 to 25 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
  • Salt, to taste  
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, about 10 by 12 inches, partially thawed 
  • 5 oz. fresh goat cheese 
  • About 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 large red tomato  
  • 1 large yellow tomato  
  • 6 medium tomatoes, quartered 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, combine two-thirds of the basil, the garlic and the cherry tomatoes. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil, season with salt and toss gently to combine. Set aside.

Place the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 6 rectangles, each about 4 by 5 inches. Place the rectangles on a baking sheet and prick them all over with a fork to prevent the pastry from rising. Bake until light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on the baking sheet. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, using a fork, mash the goat cheese. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring until the cheese mixture has a smooth consistency but is not runny. You may not need all of the milk. Cut the large tomatoes into slices 1/2 inch thick and season with salt. Gently spread a heaping tablespoonful of the goat cheese mixture onto each pastry rectangle. Using only the large, center slices of the large tomatoes (reserve the remainder for another use), place a slice on each tart. Bake the tarts until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Place the tarts on individual plates. Season the tomato quarters with salt and scatter around the tarts, dividing them evenly. Top each tart with a mound of the cherry tomato and basil mixture, again dividing evenly. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Garnish the tarts with the remaining basil and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).