Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

November 2, 2009


It’s November and that means it’s NaBloPoMo.  That stands for National Blog Posting Month and some people will be writing a post every day.  I attempted it last year and did fairly well.  Seeing as I have already missed a day, I guess I don’t need to tell you that I will not be participating this year – just too busy of a month (and I have also come down with a nasty bug).  But with all the upcoming cooking, I will probably have lots to share.  Just not every day.

I wish I could have shared these tarts with you.  Not only were they delicious, the recipe made four of them and we only ate two.  I encouraged Randy to bring the leftovers to work with him for several days running (he just forgot) and eventually had to throw them out because they got soggy.  I hate that.

It might seem strange for a vegetarian, but I really love Ina Garten.  I have four of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and hers is the only show on the Food Network I can watch anymore.  I have made many of her recipes and they never fail.  Yes, about half of each cookbook is off limits to me, but the half I can use is terrific.

These tarts are a classic in my opinion.  The only thing that takes time is caramelizing the onions but if you have some on hand (they keep for days in the refrigerator and I’ve heard you can successfully freeze them), this elegant meal comes together in about half an hour.  Ina makes these tarts round but in order to get four, you would have to use two sheets of puff pastry and throw out the perfectly good scraps just to get a pretty shape.  I used one sheet and cut the pastry into four rectangles instead – no waste.  (Except for the finished uneaten-after-several-days product.  Sigh.)

You will notice that there is no basil on my tarts.  Sometimes I will go to great lengths to get a forgotten ingredient, like walking both unwilling boys up to our neighborhood market only to find that they forgot to carry my forgotten ingredient and then piling both boys – still unwilling – in the car to find a market that does carry it.  This was not one of those times.  I’m sure the basil would have taken these delicious tarts over the top and they certainly would have looked prettier, but I’m all right with what I got.


One Year Ago:  Baba Ghanoush

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Make 4 individual tarts

I find the best way to thaw puff pastry is in the refrigerator overnight.  For this recipe, you will only use one sheet.  Take it out, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.  Wrap the remaining sheet in plastic and place back in the box and place the box back in the freezer.  Now you have one for next time.

1/2 package (17.3 ounce) puff pastry, defrosted
Olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into slivers
3 tbsp. dry white wine
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese, such as Montrachet
2 large tomatoes, cut into 8 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tbsp. julienned basil leaves
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and roll it slightly to an 11 x 11-inch square.  Cut the pastry into four quarters.  Place the quarters on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic.  Sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned.  Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/2 inch-wide border around each pastry square.  Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each square, staying inside the scored border.

Place one-quarter of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge.  Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions.  Place two slices of tomato in the center of each tart.  Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and spring with basil, salt and pepper.  Finally scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.  Serve hot or warm.


  1. DE-LI-CIOUS Dana! You managed to have all my favorite ingredients in this gorgeous tart – And I love the thyme here too!

    Comment by Viviane Bauquet Farre / food & style — November 2, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  2. I watch Ina’s show, I look up her recipes on the FN site, and I have three of her books. Yet, I was just thinking I’d like to get her first book and the most recent one. She’s the best, and your tarts looks great!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — November 2, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  3. I wish I could have one of these right now for lunch! I find myself eating less and less meat over time. I still like it, but there are so many wonderful meatless meals that I also want to eat. This being one of them. YUM!!

    Comment by Katie @ goodLife {eats} — November 2, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  4. Every time I stop by your site I leave hungry. These are delicious looking and so cute.

    (Did I miss the mousse or are you still planning on posting?)

    Comment by Amy J in SC — November 2, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

  5. Hi Dana
    they look great , I have to agree with you Ina Garten is the only cook worth following on the FN and I have all her books and have never had a recipe fail on me ….yet !

    This is something I will be trying out for my catering .

    btw – rumour has it another book is in the works for next year !


    Comment by Dimitra Alexakos — November 2, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

  6. I’ve made these for many a party and they are always a huge hit. Love that Ina!

    Comment by Julie — November 3, 2009 @ 12:03 am

  7. I love Ina. She has always been my favorite, and she is genuinely nice in person.
    I only have her first 2 books, which I go to all the time.
    I love tarts of any kind!

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — November 3, 2009 @ 2:31 am

  8. great flavor combination and so, so pretty! i like that ina’s recipes are consistently tasty and easy to prepare. plus, i love gawking at her gorgeous home and garden! ;)

    Comment by giao {kiss my spatula} — November 3, 2009 @ 2:43 am

  9. Yummm right up my alley. Like mini-pizzas, only better :)

    Comment by maris — November 3, 2009 @ 5:33 am

  10. I love Ina Garten, too. Her recipes never fail. And anything with caramelized onions floats my boat.

    Comment by The Leftoverist — November 3, 2009 @ 5:37 am

  11. These are beautiful. I also go trawling for forgotten ingredients – it can be very frustrating when you can’t find them though! Luckily I grow some basil on herb racks in my garden. For some bizarre reason I can never seen to find goat cheese…

    Comment by Koek! — November 3, 2009 @ 6:01 am

  12. So many Ina Garten fans here on Dana’s blog – it is as if all the heavenly angels started to sing at once. I just made her sticky buns, which is also from Back to Basics, and she uses the same puff pastry. The sticky buns are heavenly. Lucky me, I bought two packages and we will be having these tarts soon.

    You all need to try her Vegetable Tian, from Barefoot in Paris. I first made it last Thanksgiving and never looked back. I can now whip it up in 20 minutes and it is a meal in itself with some crusty bread.

    Shoot. Now I’m hungry again.

    Comment by Penny — November 3, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  13. A classic tart indeed! I do love fresh basil, my favorite herb. Our plants are gone though, the snow killed them:(

    Comment by Maria — November 3, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  14. I, too, love Ina. I like her recipes and her casual but elegant food but I especially love watching her programs. The nervous giggling, the completely staged ‘events’, dopey Jeffrey, the conspicuous display of Hamptons wealth – it’s one of my guilty pleasures :)

    These tarts are exactly the sort of thing I like to eat for lunch on the weekend – yum!

    Comment by Hilary — November 3, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  15. This looks just like the kind of tart I would gobble down in a few seconds! and basil is redundant here!

    Comment by tasteofbeirut — November 4, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  16. Don’t you just LUV Ina? I mean, seriously she’s the best and I love that she’s not skinny (I don’t trust super skinny cooks)

    Have you tried her pizza dough recipe? It’s totally delish

    Comment by damaris — November 5, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  17. That made my mouth water those look delicious! For some other meatless recipes visit our website at

    Comment by JL — November 5, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  18. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while, wish I could have had your leftovers ;)

    Comment by Tessa — November 6, 2009 @ 12:08 am

  19. I love Ina Garten too! I usually cut my dough into squares as well (like for scones or anything really) because I hate wasting dough or having to overwork it. These tarts look so very delicious. I’ve never used frozen puff pastry!

    Comment by Ashley — November 6, 2009 @ 6:45 am

  20. Oh! These look so good!

    Comment by Lisa @ The Cooking Bride — November 8, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

  21. Excellent story over again. I am looking forward for more updates=)

    Comment by Doloris Graig — May 10, 2011 @ 4:28 am

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