I love these because they’re surprisingly simple, using store-bought puff pastry and pesto, and yet they still have BIG flavor, and wow do they look pretty! I would absolutely have done damage to myself trying to eat the entire batch – thank goodness for plenty of hungry housemates to save me from myself.
First, here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 box of puff pastry sheets, thoroughly defrosted (preferably overnight in the refigerator)
- Your favorite pesto, whether storebought or homemade. (You’ll need about 8 generous tablespoons, which is just about what this particular jar contained)
- Tomatoes! I really liked the look of these rainbow grape/cherry tomatoes when I was at the store, but you can use whatever you like.
- Parmesan, which is optional if you are dairy-free. (note that most if not all commercially made pesto contains cheese though, so if you are vegan or dairy-free, you’ll be better off making your own)
Other things you’ll need:
- parchment paper
- a bit of flour, for dusting your work surface
- a rolling pin (or, in a pinch, a can or a bottle. I’ve definitely used a wine bottle in the past when I didn’t own a rolling pin.)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and lay out your puff pastry on it. Dust the top too, to prevent your rolling pin from sticking, and just give it a few passes to even it out and get rid of the seams from the folded pastry. I’m not particularly fussy about the dimensions or the straightness of the edges – I just want it uniformly flat. Transfer your rolled puff pastry sheets to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. While your puff pastry is hanging out on your baking sheet, cut your tomatoes. If you’re not using grape or cherry tomatoes, you can just use nice slices of tomato (think about the thickness you’d put in a burger or sandwich). I like to give my tomatoes a bit of a squeeze to get out the juice and seeds, so they won’t make the pastry all wet. It seems like a minor thing, but it makes a load of difference!
3. Spread a thin layer of pesto on your rolled pastry sheet, leaving about a 1/2 inch border on each side. I ended up using around 4 tablespoons of pesto per sheet, in order to get full coverage.
4. Spread your tomatoes out evenly over your pesto. Then sprinkle parmesan over the top, if you’re using it. An optional step at this point, if you want some extra-rich goodness, is to brush some egg wash over the exposed pastry border, but I skipped that part.
5. Ready to bake! Bake your tarts in your preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious. Yum, right? Once they’re out, let them rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting. I cut mine into eight pieces per tart, but you can divide it up however you like.
For an optional brunch variation, crack an egg directly on the pastry before you put it in the oven! It will cook fully through in that time, with the barest hint of jamminess in the yolk. If you like your yolks more runny, maybe wait 5 minutes and crack the egg on when you’ve about 10 minutes left in baking.
You can serve this alongside a light salad, if you desire, or just have it on its own. Bon Appetit!