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Brunch Pie Tomato Basil and Cheese

Sue Freeman posted 4-7-98

TOMATO, BASIL, AND CHEESE TART

For the shell:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 T cold vegetable shortening
1/4 lb. sliced lean bacon, cooked, drained, cooled, and crumbled
1/4 t salt
raw rice for weighting the shell

For the filling:
4 large (about 2 lbs.) firm-ripe tomatoes, sliced horizontally, 1/3" thick
1 1/2 t salt plus additional for sprinkling/tomatoes
1 c. firmly packed fresh basil leaves + 3 basil sprigs for garnish
1/2 c. plus 2 T whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs beaten lightly
1/4 lb. whole-milk mozzarella, grated coarsely
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
vegetable oil for brushing the tomatoes

Preheat oven to 425.

Make Shell:
Mix flour, butter, shortening, bacon, and salt until the mixture resembles meal. Add 3 to 4 T ice water, or enough to form a dough, tossing the mixture until the water is incorporated.

Knead the dough lightly with the heel of the hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and form it into a ball.

Flatten the dough slightly, dust it with flour, and chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a 1/3" thick round on a floured surface and fit it into a 9" tart pan with a removable fluted rim.

Prick the shell lightly with a fork and chill it for 30 minutes. Line shell with foil, fill foil with the rice, and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove rice and foil carefully, bake the shell for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until it is pale golden, and let it cool in the pan on a rack.

Make Filling:
Sprinkle tomato slices on both sides lightly with additional salt and let them drain on paper towels.

In a food processor or blender, puree the basil leaves with the ricotta, add the eggs, and blend the mixture until it is combined.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 t salt, mozzarella, Parmesan, and freshly grated black pepper to taste and blend the mixture until it is just combined.

Pat the tomato slices dry with paper towels, line the bottom of the shell with the tomato end pieces, and spoon the cheese mixture over the end pieces, smoothing the mixture.

Arrange remaining tomato slices in one layer, overlapping them slightly, over the cheese mixture and brush them with the oil.

Bake the tart in a preheated 350F oven 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cheese mixture is set.

Transfer the tart to a rack, let it stand for 10 minutes, and garnish with the basil sprigs.

Serve the tart hot or at room temperature. Serve 6.

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