Tomato Basil Tart with a Polenta Crust

Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0055)

I’m spoiling you with tomatoes again. You see, I’ve had a good crop and the harvest has been plentiful. After eating them mostly naked and then preserving them in various sauces, it was time to tart them up a little. Don’t tire of my tomato mania – not just yet. This tart deserves all your attention – it is so shamelessly good that anything less than your undivided attention will not do justice to it.

The September so far has been moist but warm and has caused my tomato plants to burst with more fruit one last time. As summer moves along I see the shift in season: stray leaves fall covering the pavement while the trees vainly hold onto their vitality, the markets signal the change with plums, pumpkins, carrots lined next to the last of the summer squash, blackberries and a few stray strawberries and Soeren collects bags of chestnuts from the big tree on the churchyard. But I know that autumn is coming most when my body begins a deep craving for figs.

Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0052) Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0074)

I’d like to plant a fig tree next year. After the tomatoes have gone the figs will revive my exuberance and keep me in the garden – tending and dreaming – a little longer. But right now I still have the tomatoes. Tomatoes – gently roasted to a soft, moist and jammy sweetness – are perfect tucked in a bed of smooth creamy cheese scattered with earthy herbs on top of a desirous crunchy crust.

Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0058)

So one last time this year – let me pamper you with my divine tomatoes.

Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0072)

Recipe: Tomato Basil Tart with Polenta Crust
Adapted from Donna Hay’s recipe in Fresh and Light

Printable version of recipe here

By Meeta K. Wolff
Published: 17 September 2014
This is a luscious tart with a crispy polenta crust and silky soft and moist roasted tomatoes in a bed of creamy cheese.
Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0069)

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 75g all-purpose flour
  • 170g instant polenta
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 80ml water
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper
  • 300g cream cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • handful basil leaves, chopped
  • 25g parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. In a baking tray place the tomatoes, cut-side up. Sprinkle with thyme and some cracked pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until slightly softened, Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to 180 degrees C. Make the polenta crust, place polenta, flour, butter, water, and salt in a food processor and process until you have a smooth dough. Line a tart or spring form (24cm) with the crust, pressing the dough with your fingers towards and up the sides of the form. Place some baking paper on top of the crust and fill with dried beans. Blind bake the crust 15 minutes, remove beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes until the dough is crisp.
  3. In the meantime, make the filling, place cream cheese, eggs, in a food processor and whizz till the mixture is smooth. Stir through the chopped basil and parmesan then pour the filling into the pastry shell. Place the roasted tomatoes into the filling. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the filling has set. Serve the tart warm with plenty of green salad.


Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0069)

The buttery crust, crispy and light works amazingly with the creamy filling, while the tomatoes add a juicy sweetness that explodes in your mouth as you bite into it. Warm it is an amazing experience perfect for a light lunch with a green salad but this works just as well cold for a late summer picnic.

The recipe is from Donna Hay’s Light and Fresh – a must have on your shelves. The recipes are innovative, full of great ingredients and flavor pairings, leaving plenty of room for new interpretations. Oh and the photography is stunning – from William Meppem – my hero!

You might like these sinful tarts from What’s for lunch, Honey?:

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Roasted Tomato Aubergine and Tahini Tart Tarte Flambée: Zucchini, Fennel and Goat Cheese or Tomato, Zucchini and Feta Cheese Bacon Cheese & Leek Tart

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. Beautiful tart! That crust is wonderful and so is that tasty filling.

    Splendid clicks. I love the simplicity of them...



    1. Thank you Rosa! While I love everything about the tart ... I think it was the crust that did it for me!

  2. Replies
    1. Your season is still in the process ... lucky you. Thank you!

  3. SUCH a stunning tart - almost too pretty to eat... but it would be a shame NOT to eat it, of course, haha.

  4. I've never tried using polenta to prepare a crust, this looks lovely and I need to give this a shot!

    1. Polenta adds a wonderful texture and bite to a tart. Must try it!

  5. Love this idea!! Polenta crust!! Nom.. gonna try it next.. I was dreaming last night that I hadn't made tart in ages and was fretting about making it gluten free... look what I find in my reading list today ;-) I think its a sign :D

  6. Gorgeous tart Meeta. Luscious! I am going to give this a try pretty soon. Pinning.

  7. Oh how divine. What a great idea to make with a polenta crust.

  8. This is a beautiful tart. I like the polenta crust very much, sound crispy and smell good. This is just so nice to serve with a cup of tea or coffee. :)

  9. Such a beautiful tart and love the idea of using polenta crust!! Gorgeous pics as always!!

    1. Thank you ... the polenta crust is one of the soecials here!

  10. Am not a tart person, but you are really tempting me. Love all the images.

    1. Oh this tart is grand .. you must try it Simi. Thank you!

  11. I'm sitting here looking at a pile of plum tomatoes. This recipe is perfect. Thanks!

    1. Go make the tart! Something tells me this is right up your road! Let me know!

  12. Looks delicious. This dish makes me hungry love to eat it. Thanks for sharing this. Waiting for more blogs.

  13. When I read the title of this post, I thought, "Oh my..." but when I saw the picture, I thought, "OH MY!!" I love the idea of a crust made of polenta. Looks divine!!

  14. Congrats with the gorgeous new design Meeta! I love it! xoxo


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