The name of this tart is indeed a mouthful!
Juicy late summer heirloom tomatoes are layered atop savory ackee filling and baked in an aged cheddar and thyme crust for the ultimate umami bomb, all diets off!
I love tomatoes! When I lived in Jamaica I’d look forward to bountiful piles when they were in season. A minimum of five pounds of plummy tomatoes at a time were my go to. From snacking to cooking, they went in a bunch of my favorite dishes: I absolutely love an okra, onion and tomato “fry-up”; my inner Trini craves tomato choka; and South Indian style tomato pickle satisfies the desire for spicy and tangy all in one bite.
Imagine my disappointment when I moved to North America and found deceptively beautiful tomatoes in the grocery store, so watery and flavorless one could only describe them as “meh”. I had not realized that most of the tomatoes I was seeing were either being imported green from somewhere miles away or grown hydroponically; which technically I take no issues with as I do believe there are certain applications where that technology can be beneficial but that discussion is outside the scope of this blog and so I’ll just say they never struck my fancy. I had all but given up hope when I tried heirloom tomatoes for the first time 😍 and much like my experience with Vietnamese cinnamon (which I talk about in this post) it was life changing 😁.
Give me some of these beauties and I forget what sharing is 😆 They are great simply rinsed and devoured or sprinkled with a bit of sea salt and olive oil but they take on an even more delicious depth of flavour when baked.
A couple years ago I tried a tomato tart recipe, the type of crust it used escapes me now that I try to recall but I remember there being a mayonnaise and cheese layer on top of which the tomatoes were laid.
For this tart, I decided to forgo mayo, although, if I wanted to go that route, I could have done ackee mayo. Instead I used an ackee sauté similar to the one made for the patties to provide a rich layer to place the tomatoes on top of; I’ve used leeks instead of onions as I got a beautiful one from the Bordua Farms stand at a local farmer’s market, that’s also where these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes came from.
The crust is the same recipe as the quiche with cheese and thyme added in (I was able to find a superb 2 year aged English cheddar with a to-die-for flavour) I am not exaggerating when I say from top to crust there is umami in every layer of this tart.
Aside from the crust, the recipe isn’t very involved. If you don’t want to get your hands too messy and opt for a store bought pie crust you could mix in the cheese with the ackee sauté before spreading it into the tart. To make it vegan, forgo the cheese completely and use a vegan butter substitute to make the crust.
I kept the finished tart undressed but in hindsight a bit of watercress or arugula on top would have provided a nice contrast of colour and balanced out some of the richness in terms of flavour as well. I shall bear that in mind for the next time.
What do you think? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you make this or any of the other recipes on this site be sure #amazingackee and @amazingackee so I can see your posts across social media.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by 😊
Golden Flaky Pie Crust
- 180 g Pastry Flour
- 125 g Unsalted butter very cold, cut into large cubes
- 3 g 1 tsp Salt
- 3 g 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 g 1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric*
- 1 g 1/4 tsp Ground Annatto*
- 1 g 1/4 tsp Baking Powder (said to help prevent crust shrinking)
- 50 mL Ice cold water
Combine all ingredients except for water in food processor
Pulse a few times till the butter resembles large peas.
Drizzle over the water and pulse a few times more
Turn the contents out onto a clean work surface and knead together lightly
Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes before rolling out
When ready to use, roll out and line pie pan
Return lined pie pan to fridge and chill, meanwhile preheat oven to 425F
Line prepared crust with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice
Bake for 15 minutes until golden around the edges.
Remove foil and pie weights. It may be necessary to bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes if the base appears to be a bit underdone.
Your crust is ready for the next step!
*I only add turmeric and annatto because I think they give a nice colour to the dough
For Aged Cheddar Thyme Crust: Add 1 tsp of Fresh Thyme with the spices and 113g of shredded aged cheddar cheese after you've incorporated the butter but before you add the water (you can use a regular cheddar but you'll want to use something very sharp rather than mild)
- 2 tsps Oil
- 1/4 cup Leeks chopped
- 3 Cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 Cups Parboiled ackee
- 1/2 tsp Ground pimento Jamaican allspice
- 1 to 2 tsps Hot pepper minced
- Salt to taste
Heat oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat.
Add leeks and cook till soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
Add the pepper and cook for a minute then add the ackees and pimento.
Add salt to taste.
If your ackees are a bit dry you may add about a tablespoon of water, let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes then turn off heat and let cool
Heirloom Tomato & Ackee Tart in Aged Cheddar Thyme Crust
- 1 recipe Parbaked Golden Flaky Pastry Crust - Cheddar Thyme Variation
- 1 recipe Ackee saute
- Heirloom tomatoes cut into 1/4" thick slices, as needed
- Oil as needed
- Salt and Pepper as needed
Preheat oven to 350F
Keeping the parbaked crust in its pan, place on a sheet tray so that it's easy to remove from the oven at the end of the baking
Spread ackee sauté into prepared crust
Layer the tomatoes overlapping where necessary, bear in mind they will shrink when they bake
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes till tomatoes are roasted (if your crust is becoming too dark either cover the edge with foil or turn your oven down to 325 and bake till done)