Let’s talk about this Spicy Feta & Balsamic Heirloom Tomato Tart, shall we?
Summer will be on its way out before we know it. But there’s still time to soak in the glory of tomato season.
Heirloom tomatoes are abundant right now and they are so stinking pretty I can’t stand it.
And by pretty I mean ugly. And by ugly I mean the ugliest kind of pretty. Feel me?
So here’s a little known fact (because literally I’m the only one who ever knew about it) – I almost called this blog Heirloom Stories.
I had the cutest logo made up with a little watercolor heirloom tomato. But apparently a printing company with the same name was already in business and they own the domain name. Rude!
Anyway, I just love heirloom tomatoes.
I think that there is just nothing better in the summertime than eating fresh from the garden, and heirloom tomatoes are so unreal in color and flavor.
Luckily they are available at just about any grocery chain with a large produce section so if you don’t have a garden right now, like me, you can still join in the fun.
I first became really fascinated by heirlooms after seeing all of the stunning heirloom tomato recipe pictures by Jessica at How Sweet Eats.
I’m convinced that she could turn sardines into art, and she has more than 15 killer recipes using heirloom tomatoes on her site!
Jessica is also the queen of whipped feta, which is basically the perfect accompaniment to heirloom tomatoes.
If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan.
But for more than just heirlooms and whipped feta. Following along with her posts on her sweet little boy Max in his infancy helped me get through a really tough time when I was pregnant with my son.
I’ll tell the full story another day, but a little backstory – my little boy had surgery before he was ever born.
When I was 24 weeks along, we both underwent a risky procedure where doctors operated on him while I was pregnant to repair the defect in his spine.
I was on modified bedrest for 3 months after that and it was really hard for me to imagine that he would be a real baby considering his diagnosis. Silly, I know.
Anyway, Jessica’s baby boy Max was like 5-8 months old while I was going through all of that and seeing him gave me hope that everything was going to be okay.
That time in my life was tumultuous but it’s very nostalgic to think about it.
So it’s no wonder that Jessica and Max and heirlooms and whipped feta are things that are burned into my mind and my heart in the best way possible. Seriously!
I’m sure was the longest preface to a recipe ever. But here’s what you need to know.:
Flaky puff pastry, spicy whipped feta, heirloom tomatoes, and a sweet balsamic glaze.
A Spicy Feta & Balsamic Heirloom Tomato Tart is fresh as heck and so summery.
You can serve it as an appetizer or eat it as a light, summery lunch.
I decided to be an overachiever and make my own puff pastry for this recipe.
But you can totally use the kind you find in the freezer section of your fav grocery store if you prefer.
I feel like that was a total Ina Garten “If you can’t get butter infused with the tears of Dutch Milkmaids, storebought is fine” moment. But I promise I’m not judging.
If you’re feeling up for it, however, I certainly recommend trying your hand at some homemade puff pastry. I used this recipe and it was SO much easier than I thought it would be.
The feta & tomato layers are meant to be fresh so this tart starts with the puff pastry baked by itself as the base.
When you have your puff pastry ready to go, line a sheet pan with some parchment and place the pastry on top.
Score it with a fork, brush the edges with some melted butter and bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden and crispy.
Set the puff pastry aside to cool and make the whipped feta.
The best kind of feta to use here is one of those 8 oz blocks that is packed in brining liquid, which you can drain and crumble yourself.
The moisture content is way higher than the dry already crumbled stuff and will give you the best consistency in your whipped feta.
Blend it with whipped cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, thyme, dill, parsley, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
I made this whipped feta a little spicy by accident, really.
I like the contrast of the spicy flavor against the earthy tomatoes and sweet balsamic glaze. But if spicy just ain’t yo thang, you can make it mild by omitting the red pepper flakes.
When you have your feta all whipped up, spread it on your puff pastry and slice your heirloom tomatoes.
I chose a few large heirlooms and I found a package of heirloom cherry tomatoes at my local Kroger that I just had to get because they were so cute. You don’t have to use mini tomatoes but they do add some flair to this tart. And if you want to be the hostess with the mostest you gotta have flair.
When you have your heirlooms sliced, arrange them on the whipped feta & puff pastry however the heck you want. You really can’t go wrong here.
Sprinkle some salt & pepper over the tart for good measure and then layer on the balsamic glaze.
To Make the Glaze
Whisk together 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of honey in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Let it simmer for 5-6 minutes until it becomes thick like syrup and sticks to the back of a spoon.
If you accidentally over-reduce and the glaze becomes hard candy, add some water a teaspoon at a time and whisk until it reaches a syrupy consistency again. Remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
Drizzle the sweet balsamic glaze over the tomato tart as you please. Garnish with basil, if desired. Slice, and serve.
Spicy Feta & Balsamic Heirloom Tomato Tart is the perfect party dish to help you ease through the end of summer.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Looking for more summery recipes using fresh produce? Check out this one.
- 1 Sheet Puff Pastry
- 2 pounds of Heirloom tomatoes, sliced (varying sizes)
- For the Spicy Whipped Feta
- 8 oz Feta cheese
- 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp fresh garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 tsp dill
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- For the Balsamic Glaze
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- To garnish, if desired
- Additional salt & black pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay out your puff pastry on the sheet.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with melted butter and score all over with a fork.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden and the pastry is crispy. Set aside to cool.
To Make the Spicy Whipped Feta
- In a food processor or blender, add the feta, cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill, thyme, parsley, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
- Process until combined, scraping down the sides as needed with a spatula and set aside.
To Make the Balsamic Glaze
- In a saucepan, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and honey.
- Bring to a boil on the stove.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency and sticks to the back of a spoon.
- Set aside to cool.
To Assemble the Tart
- Spread the spicy whipped feta over the cooled puff pastry, leaving about a 3/4 inch diameter.
- Arrange your tomatoes over the whipped feta as desired.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes.
- Using a spoon, drizzle the balsamic glaze over the tomatoes.
- Garnish with basil if desired.
- Slice and serve.
- You do not have to use heirloom tomatoes. Any pretty tomatoes that you like are totally fine.
- If you don’t want your whipped feta to be spicy, simply omit or reduce the red pepper flakes.
- Over-reducing the balsamic glaze will turn it into something akin to hard candy. If that happens, simply add a little water a teaspoon at a time, and continue to cook, whisking until you reach the correct consistency.
- This tart is meant to be rustic and artisanal. You can’t go wrong with the arrangement of the tomatoes and the drizzle of the balsamic glaze. Have fun and enjoy your unique tomato tart masterpiece!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 420mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 7g