One of the defining memories of my childhood was playing board games after dinner.
There was one in particular that used your creativity as well as challenged your vocabulary that-because of my age-limited me from beating my older siblings. There was one card that stood out where I actually dominated: Types of Cheese.
As a six-year-old growing up with a single mom in the mid-90’s, your cheese knowledge was limited to whatever was on sale at Winn Dixie those days, typically your cheddar varieties.
So when my sister flipped over the card that said “Types of Cheese” I listed out what was so very obvious to me as the only types of cheeses there were: white cheese, orange cheese, holey cheese, plastic cheese, hard cheese, soft cheese, stinky cheese, etc. and you get the point.
My sister, who is 5 years my senior, started bursting out laughing when I finished listing out my cheese varieties to which I got extremely offended. She immediately called my mom into the room to listen to what I had on my list of cheeses.
Confused at this request, I recalled my list of cheeses upon which finishing my mom gave a big smile and a hearty few chuckles escaped her as well.
Now that my sister and mom have both laughed at me for my unique and creative list of cheeses I drew immediate offense at their behavior and snap “Why are you laughing, they ARE types of cheeses!” Which is when my mom had to reassure me that yes, I was completely correct and I would receive full points for my answers. The reason it was funny was that my answer was creative in the innocent “Kids-say-the-darndest-things” type of way.
Fast forward 20+ years *twinges with grief of ‘where did the time go’* and cheese remains an important staple in my recipe creation which is why I was so excited when Tillamook reached out to ask if I would like to partner with them for the rest of the year to challenge my creativity and bring you all some amazing Tillamook cheddar recipes!
Of course, I said “yes” which is why I’m sharing this Heirloom Tomato and Cheddar Pesto Tart with you! Now that you can find Tillamook in stores across the SouthEast, I’ve been incorporating it into my weekly recipe rotation and sharing those creations with you on Instagram (see the highlights for some behind-the-scenes action).
Every year I try to make a Tomato Tart to kick off the summer with and now that I’m growing a basil forest on our patio I’ve had more than enough to whip up my oil-free pesto recipe for the base of this crispy puff pastry and cheddary tomato tart.
It’s like eating a pizza but because it’s a tart it’s a proven fact that it’s healthier.*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA but it’s highly encouraged that you whip this up every chance you get.
This tart takes a total of 30 minutes to make and can even be partially cooked and stowed in the fridge until you’re ready to finish before guests arrive.
I will say that if you haven’t tried Tillamook Cheddar be prepared to have your socks knocked off. It’s without a doubt the best cheddar I’ve ever had and makes this tart come to life with flavor.
Preheat the oven to 425°F with the rack in the center of the oven.
Lay your partially thawed puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper and lightly brush on your olive oil.
Before layering on your sliced tomatoes, place in oven and bake fore 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the edges have start to puff up and turn lightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and layer on your sliced Heirloom Tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Turn oven onto broil and place your tomato and cheddar tart back into the oven, keeping a close eye on the baking process for up to 5 minutes.
Remove when the edges have started to darken and the tomatoes have soften.
Garnish with fresh basil slices.
Wait until tart has cooled completely (about 15-20 minutes) before cutting.
* If you're using store bought pesto in oil, skip the olive oil step.