One of my favorite savory combinations is tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil.  Caprese is so simple and yet such a perfect trio.  The creamy cheese with fresh tomatoes and basil makes my Italian heart very happy.  Pile it on a flaky puff pastry crust and we have something very special.  The addition of cream cheese and pesto, gives this dish even more creaminess and an extra punch of basil.

Here are some other awesome summer time recipe ideas…Mexican Street Corn Salad, Cucumber and Pickled Shallot Salad, and Broccoli Salad with Poppyseed Dressing.

I am not saying that this tart wouldn’t be fabulous in the winter but as vine-ripened tomatoes hit the grocery store {or back yard} the taste of this dish can only get better.  Summer tomatoes are magnificent!  When my kids were younger they would go out and “harvest” {aka consume} the cherry tomatoes for me.  Needless to say, not many made it to the dinner table.  They are literally like candy when you pull them right off of the vine.

caprese | caprese tart | caprese tart recipe | pesto | pesto recipes | summer side dishes

Puff Pastry Crust

To make this tart, begin by putting your puff pastry on a baking sheet.  Using a paring knife {small knife}, make a cut around the entire border of the pastry dough.  Make sure that your knife doesn’t go all of the way through the pastry.  This cut allows the outside edge of the crust to rise above the filling as it bakes.

It will look like this all of the way around the border when you are finished.

Pesto Cream Cheese Filling

For the filling, mix 4 oz. of cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of prepared pesto.  You can make your own pesto if you prefer but there are some great options in the grocery store.

Once it is mixed well, spread it over the middle of puff pastry being sure to leave the outside border empty.

Final Assembly & Baking

Top with slices of mozzarella cheese {a total of 12 slices}.  You can buy it pre-sliced or slice it yourself {which is what I have done}.  Again, you are wanting to stay within the knife border we made.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 -28 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the puff pastry is golden brown.  Then top the cheese with sliced tomatoes and return to oven for another 12-15 minutes.  We only want to bake the tomatoes for the last few minutes.  This will ensure that the crust bakes through completely without the tomatoes making it soggy.

Once the tart is baked top it with fresh basil.  It not only tastes great but it looks pretty too.

Cut it like a pizza or into smaller squares if you prefer.

The perfect side dish with a grilled steak but would work well with chicken, pork or fish too.  It is also substantial enough on its own.  Serve with a side salad and enjoy!!

Caprese Tart

Flaky puff pastry topped with pesto cream cheese, tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil.  The perfect summer side dish.

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry {thawed}
  • 4 oz cream cheese {softened}
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 12 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tomatoes {sliced}
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves {chopped}

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Unroll your sheet of puff pastry onto a parchment lined baking sheet {or lightly spray with non-stick spray}.  Use a paring knife to cut border around the entire edge of the puff pastry, making sure to not go all of the way through the dough.

  2. Combine the cream cheese and pesto, stir until completely incorporated and spread an even layer on the middle of the puff pastry {leave border empty}.  Top cream cheese and pesto mixture with mozzarella slices and bake for 25-28 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the cheese is completely melted.

  3. Remove from oven and top cheese with sliced tomatoes.  Return to oven for an additional 12-15 minutes.  Top with fresh basil, cut and serve.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe Notes

  •  You can use whatever kind of tomato that you have on hand.  Cherry tomatoes would be super cute and tasty.