Summery Tomato Tarts

Perfectly ripe tomatoes, cheese, and herbs are a great combination, so much so that I think I’ve done at least three recipes featuring them before. This time around, though, I decided that the combo needed revamping, because I wanted to be able to serve the tart completely cooled as well as fresh from the oven. That ruled out cheeses I’ve used in the past, like Gruyère, Cantal, or mozzarella, all of which get rubbery on cooling. Fresh cow’s or goat’s milk cheese is perfect—but because I don’t like how goat cheese dries out when exposed to the oven’s heat, I hid it under the tomatoes.

Strawberry and Raspberry Tart with Mint

While I hate the indiscriminate use of mint leaves as a decoration for desserts in general, the flavor of mint in moderation is wonderful with berries. Right before serving this tart, I like to scatter tiny mint leaves on it, then lightly dust it with confectioners’ sugar. If you only have large mint leaves, then stack them and cut them into fine ribbons

Mexican Cheese Tartlets (Tartas de Requesón)

In Mexico these tarts are both sold and consumed with panes dulces, Mexican sweetened breads that are eaten for breakfast and later in the day for merenda, the late afternoon meal. The cheese used in Mexico is requeson, which is very similar to Italian ricotta, as it is made from whey rather than milk. But it’s usually clotted at a higher temperature, making the curds harder than ricotta, and has a higher salt content. Part-skim-milk ricotta is a perfect substitute.

Lattice-Topped Apple Tart

This is so much more practical to prepare and serve than a standard apple pie baked in a sloping sided pie pan. It’s free-standing on a platter for serving and only needs to be cut into wedges, with none of the sometimes destructive digging underneath the bottom crust to extract wedges from the other type of pan. It’s also much more elegant looking than a plain apple pie.