Three Cheese Zucchini Tart is easy to make, beautiful to behold, and delicious to taste! It’s made by spreading an awesome cream cheese and Parmesan cheese mixture on a simple no-yeast crust, sprinkling on some Mozzarella cheese, and layering thinly sliced zucchini.
Three Cheese Zucchini Tart is perfect for a light dinner or as an appetizer. It can be eaten hot, warm, or cold and can be reheated.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to Make: The recipe is straightforward and requires no special skills or equipment.
- Versatile: This tart can be served as an appetizer, main course, or side dish. It can also be eaten hot, warm, or cold.
- Delicious: Zucchini, three kinds of cheese, and a flaky crust produce an irresistible combination.
- Show-Stopping Presentation: This is a beautiful dish to serve, especially if you take the time to arrange the thin slices of zucchini in concentric circles.
Ingredients – Here’s What You’ll Need
I used the following ingredients for this delicious tart.
- The Crust: For the crust, I used all-purpose flour, Kosher salt, cold unsalted butter cut into half-inch pieces, white wine vinegar, water, and Vodka.
- The Zucchini: I used fresh zucchini with some Kosher salt and olive oil.
- The Cheese Filling: The cheese filling was made with cream cheese, minced garlic, dried thyme, freshly ground black pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese. I also used shredded Mozzarella cheese as the third cheese.
Rather than using cream cheese, I could have used Ricotta cheese. I have a wonderful recipe for homemade Ricotta cheese that would be an excellent substitute.
Here’s How I Made the Crust
- I added the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse-processed it 4 or 5 times.
- Then, I added the small cubes of butter and pulse processed the food processor 10 or 12 times until the mixture was about the size of peas.
- Next, I added the vinegar, water, and Vodka and pulsed the mixture 5 or 6 times until it came together into a shaggy dough. The reason that I used vinegar and Vodka in the crust is that it helps to minimize gluten formation. This results in a more tender and flaky crust. You can use water in place of the Vodka. However, I would not omit the vinegar.
- I dumped the dough onto a lightly floured surface, formed it into a disk, and wrapped it in plastic wrap. Then, I refrigerated the dough for 30 minutes while I moved on to the zucchini.
Here’s How I Pepared the Zucchini
I used the 3 mm slicing disk on my food processor to cut the zucchini into ⅛-inch slices. Then, I added the zucchini to a colander set over a plate and tossed the zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt to remove the excess water. I let the zucchini sit for 30 minutes and was amazed at the amount of liquid that puddled on the plate.
One of the keys to this tart is removing as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.
Therefore, after 30 minutes, I spread the zucchini out in a single layer on doubled paper towels and blotted it dry with additional paper towels. Once I had done that, I transferred the zucchini to a large bowl and tossed it with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Here’s How I Made the Cheese Filling
I added the cream cheese, garlic, thyme, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese to a small bowl for the cheese filling. Then, I beat the mixture with my electric mixer until it was well combined.
I thought that it was a bit too thick, so I beat in a tablespoon of heavy cream to thin the filling out. I didn’t add the Mozzarella cheese because I was going to sprinkle it on top of the cheese filling once I built the tart.
Putting the Three Cheese Zucchini Tart Together
After I removed the pastry dough from the refrigerator, I placed it on a silicone mat, covered it with a piece of parchment paper, and rolled it out to an 11-inch circle (Photo 1).
My rolling skills are not that great, so I trimmed the excess dough into a perfect circle using a lid that happened to be the perfect size (Photo 2). I could have used a large tart pan or plate as a guide or trimmed the crust with a knife.
In the past, when I’ve made this tart, I would roll the dough on a floured piece of parchment paper. Once I had trimmed it, I would carefully transfer the dough to the silicone-lined baking sheet.
This was messy and difficult since the dough was somewhat delicate. Now, I roll and trim the dough directly on the silicone – no mess, no fuss – a brilliant trick if I do say so myself!
I spread the cheese filling on the buttery crust, leaving a ½-inch border (Photo 3). Then, I sprinkled on the Mozzarella cheese (Photo 4).
Next, I added the zucchini slices in tightly overlapping concentric circles, starting ½ inch from the edge of the pastry (Photo 5). I continued the overlapping circles of zucchini until the whole tart was covered.
Finally, I drizzled the tart with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil (Photo 6).
I popped the Three Cheese Zucchini Tart into a preheated 400°F oven for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, the crust was golden brown, and the zucchini was perfectly cooked. I removed the tart from the oven and cut it into 8 wedges.
The Three Cheese Zucchini Tart was absolutely delicious. The crust was buttery and flaky, and the cheese filling had a delicate taste that perfectly complimented the zucchini. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
You could use store-bought puff pastry or store-bought pie crust in this recipe.
I like to use my food processor with a 3mm slicing blade. However, you could also use a mandoline or a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut yourself!
The tart can be served on its own as a light meal or appetizer. You can also serve it with a side salad, soup, or roasted vegetables.
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Three Cheese Zucchini Tart
- 1 ¼ cups (6.25 ounces, 177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 10 Tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks, 5 ounces, 142 grams) cold unsalted butter cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons ice water
- 2 Tablespoons chilled Vodka (See Tip 1)
- 1 ½ pounds (20 ounces, 567 grams) zucchini, unpeeled and sliced ⅛-inch thick (See Tip 2)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Three Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature (See Tip 3)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (1 ounce, 28 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup (2 ounces, 57 grams) shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
- Add flour and salt to food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse process 4 or 5 times to thoroughly combine. Add butter; pulse process 10 to 12 times until mixture is the size of small peas.
- Add wine vinegar, water, and Vodka. Pulse process 5 or 6 times, just until dough comes together into a shaggy dough.
- Dump dough on floured surface. Form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, place sliced zucchini in a colander set over a plate. Toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Place zucchini slices in a single layer on paper towels. Blot well with additional paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Transfer zucchini to a bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Three Cheese Filling
- Add cream cheese, garlic, thyme, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to a bowl. Beat with electric mixer until well combined and smooth, about 1 minute. If mixture is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream to thin it out.
Building Three Cheese Zucchini Tart
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Roll dough into an 11 to 12-inch circle. Trim to 11 inches. (See Tip 4)
- Spread cheese mixture over crust to within ½-inch of the edges. Sprinkle on Mozzarella cheese.
- Layer zucchini slices in tightly overlapping circles, starting ½-inch from the edge of the pastry. Continue overlapping circles of zucchini until the whole tart is covered. Sprinkle on remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Bake in preheated 400° F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
- Cut into wedges and serve. (See Tip 5)
- Yield: 6 servings.
- May omit the Vodka, and use 4 tablespoons total of chilled water. Unlike water, the Vodka does not contribute to the formation of gluten keeping the crust tender and flaky.
- I used a 3 mm blade on my food processor to perfectly slice the zucchini.
- For the cream cheese, I used Neufchâtel cream cheese which has ⅓ less fat than regular cream cheese. You could also use low fat cream cheese.
- In the past when I’ve made this tart, I would roll the dough out onto a floured surface, trim it, and transfer it to a silicon lined baking sheet. To make things a whole lot easier, I now roll the dough out directly on the silicon mat, trim it, and transfer the silicon mat to the baking sheet!
- The leftovers can be refrigerated, and either served cold or reheated in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes.