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 reheats beautifully.
Ingredients for Three Cheese Zucchini Tart:
I used the following ingredients for this delicious tart:
- Crust: All-purpose flour, Kosher salt, cold unsalted butter cut into half-inch pieces, white wine vinegar, water, and Vodka.
- Zucchini: Fresh zucchini, Kosher salt, olive oil.
- Cheese Filling: Cream cheese, minced garlic, dried thyme, freshly ground black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream. I also used shredded Mozzarella cheese as the third cheese. Rather that using cream cheese, you could use Ricotta cheese. I have a wonderful recipe for homemade Ricotta cheese that would be an excellent substitute.
Making the Crust:
I added the flour and salt to my food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse processed it 4 or 5 times. Then, I added the cold butter pieces, and pulse processed it 10 or 12 times until the mixture was the size of peas. Next, I added the vinegar, water, and Vodka, and pulsed the mixture 5 or 6 times, just 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 the 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 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.
Preparing the Zucchini:
I used the 3 mm slicing disk on my food processor to cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices. Then, I added the zucchini to a colander set over a plate, and tossed it with 1 teaspoon of salt. I let the zucchini sit for 30 minutes, and was amazed at the amount of liquid that puddled in 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 an additional paper towel. Once I had done that, I transferred the zucchini to a bowl, and tossed it with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Making the Cheese Filling:
For the cheese filling, I added the cream cheese, garlic, thyme, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese to a bowl. 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 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 tart dough from the refrigerator, I placed it on a silicon mat, covered it with a piece of parchment paper, and rolled it out to an 11 or 12-inch circle. My rolling skills are not that great, so I trimmed the dough into a perfect circle using a lid that happened to be the perfect size. I could have used a large 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 it to the silicon lined baking sheet. This was not only messy, but also somewhat difficult since the dough was somewhat delicate. Now, I roll and trim it directly on the silicon – no mess, no fuss – a brilliant trick if I do say so myself!
I spread the cheese filling on the pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Then, I sprinkled on the Mozzarella cheese. Next, I added the zucchini slices in tightly overlapping circles, starting 1/2-inch from the edge of the pastry. 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.
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!
This is a repost of the Three Cheese Zucchini Tart originally posted on June 20, 2018. I’ve slightly updated the text and have added a short video.
Three Cheese Zucchini Tart
- 1 1/4 cups (6.25 ounces, 177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces, 142 grams) cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons ice water
- 2 Tablespoons chilled Vodka (See Tip 1)
- 1 1/2 pounds (20 ounces, 567 grams) zucchini, unpeeled and sliced 1/8-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
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (1 ounce, 28 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 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 1/2-inch of the edges. Sprinkle on Mozzarella cheese.
- Layer zucchini slices in tightly overlapping circles, starting 1/2-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.
Chula's Expert Tips
- 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 1/3 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.