It’s everything but the bagel with this summer tomato tart inspired by a deli favourite

Becky Krystal

THE WASHINGTON POST – At this time of year, I don’t believe there’s a wrong way to eat a tomato. But some ways feel more right than others, according to your own personal taste. For me, one of those is on a bagel, with a schmear of cream cheese. The bagel should be everything, the cream cheese herbed. And the tomato? A thick, juicy, ripe slice.

The thing is, I’m pretty picky about my bagels. In this pandemic world, at home 24/7 with a toddler, there’s less time to make my own and more caution in masking up and dealing with the social distancing dance at my favourite small spot. Sure, I’ll do one or the other at some point more often. In the meantime, I wondered if I could honour the spirit of the original in an equally fun, delicious way that was enticing enough to be a star, too.

That’s where my new Everything Tomato Tart comes in. I adapted a cream cheese pie crust from The Washington Post archives by cookbook author Elinor Klivans by doctoring it with a generous amount of everything spice for both texture and that signature flavour. The cream cheese means this is an especially forgiving dough that is easy to make – mere minutes in a mixer – and roll. Then it’s baked all the way through before being filled and topped. The filling is similar to a no-bake cheesecake. It features a smooth mix of cream cheese, mascarpone and whipped cream, with fresh dill and chives for an herby punch.

On top, of course, there are as many slices and types of tomatoes as your heart desires, along with a drizzle of olive oil and shower of more everything spice. Given the inspiration, the tart would be a fantastic brunch centrepiece. The filling is light in texture but also substantial, so you’ll have no problem feeding a crowd with it.

Did the tart make me crave a bagel? You bet. Did I love it on its own merits? Absolutely. There’s enough room in my heart – and stomach – for both.

Everything Tomato Tart. PHOTO: The Washington Post

EVERYTHING TOMATO TART

Active: 50 minutes | Total: Two hours

20 minutes

Eight to 10 servings

We’ve taken the experience of eating an everything bagel with cream cheese topped by a juicy slice of tomato and transformed it into a stunning summer tart. Everything spice adds texture and flavour to an easy and forgiving cream cheese crust. The filling is similar to a no-bake cheesecake, featuring a light, smooth mix of cream cheese, mascarpone and whipped cream, with fresh dill and chives for an herby punch.

Take this tart in whatever direction you want. Leave out or swap in your spice blend of choice. Change up the herbs. Use a mix of tomato varieties, piled high or spaced out with filling peeking through. We liked the texture provided by the mascarpone, but if you can’t find it, use additional cream cheese. The filling will be somewhat denser, but you can slightly increase the heavy cream to lighten it.

Make Ahead: The disk of dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. The rolled-out crust needs at least 30 minutes to chill, though it can also be refrigerated overnight. Bake the crust a day in advance, if you want. Leftover tart keeps well in the refrigerator for up to two days.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

– One cup (140 grammes) all-purpose flour

– Quarter teaspoon kosher salt

– Two tablespoons store-bought or homemade everything spice

– Three ounces (85 grammes) cold cream cheese, cut into three pieces

– Eight tablespoons (one stick/113 grammes) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the dish

For the filling

– One large or two medium tomatoes of your choice, preferably heirloom or ripe red (use more for smaller varieties, such as Kumato), cut into quarter-inch slices

– Kosher salt

– Half cup chilled heavy whipping cream

– Eight ounces (227 grammes) cream cheese, at room temperature

– Four ounces (113 grammes) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

– Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from one lemon), or more to taste

– One tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

– One tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

– Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

– Two teaspoons store-bought or homemade everything spice, or more to taste

STEPS

Make the crust: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and everything spice.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth, about 45 seconds. Mix in the flour mixture until the dough holds together and forms large clumps that come away from the sides of the bowl, about 30 seconds.

Form the dough into a smooth ball, flatten into a six-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight. Clean out the bowl to prepare for the filling.

Lightly butter a nine-inch pie dish. Lightly flour the work surface and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a round about four inches wider than the bottom of the pie pan, periodically lifting and turning the dough to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. Reflour the surface and rolling pin as needed. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Trim the edge, leaving a half-inch overhang. Tuck the overhang under itself to form a thick rim. Crimp the edge in whatever pattern you want – pinching, pressing the tines of a fork or leaving it plain. Cover and refrigerate the crust until it is cold and firm, 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork (this is called docking). Press a piece of aluminium foil into the cold pie crust, covering the edges of the crust. Fill the foil with dried beans, metal pie weights or even sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the aluminium foil and pie weights. Bake for an additional 15 to 17 minutes, until the crust is set, lightly golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Make the filling: Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a layer of paper towels or dish towels you don’t mind staining. Sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides to help season and draw excess moisture out. Let them rest while you make the filling.

Pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with balloon-whisk attachment. Beat on high speed, just until firm peaks form. Pull off the whisk attachment or the beaters out and see how the cream looks in the bowl and on the attachment. If it flops over, it needs more time; if it holds its shape, you’re set. Transfer the whipped cream to a separate bowl or container; refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone in the same mixer bowl (no need to wipe it out); use the mixer’s paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and well incorporated. Add the lemon juice; beat (medium speed) until smooth. Stop to add the dill and chives; beat on low speed until thoroughly incorporated.

Use a flexible spatula to gently fold in half the whipped cream. Lift the cream cheese-mascarpone mixture from the bottom of the bowl over the top of the whipped cream, rotating the bowl as you work and trying not to deflate the whipped cream too much. This folding step will help lighten the cheese mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Taste, adding more lemon juice or salt until you’re happy with the flavour.

Use an offset spatula or spoon to spread the filling evenly over the cooled crust. Arrange the tomatoes in any way you like. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and then sprinkle with the remaining two teaspoons of everything spice, or more to taste.