Review and Sneak Peak: Pies and Tarts with Heart!

Hey folks,

So glad to be coming to you with another review! I'm very excited about this one because it comes from the lovely Dynise Balcavage of Urban Vegan.  I have to say that one of the reasons I was inspired to start my very first blog (which was called the Tale of Two Vegans) was due to me falling in love with hers! I had the chance to meet her in person at Vida Vegan Con in 2011 and she is just as charming in person as she comes across in her blog!

I have her cookbook Celebrate Vegan which I love, so I had to make sure to get my hands on her newest creation, Pies and Tarts with Hart!  I'm not at all surprised that her latest is just as fabulous as Celebrate Vegan!  She leaves no stone unturned, serving up recipes for the traditional minded, to those that like it raw and of course those who prefer to dance with decadence, just to name a few!  There is something for everybody in this book and it comes just in time for the holiday season!  You will certainly wow folks with these recipe creations at your next soiree or even just at home with the fam!

It was very difficult for me to decide what type of pie or tart that I wanted to dive into. My schedule has been so crazy and all over the place as of late, so I needed something quick to put together and her Tomato Tart fit the bill! This recipe is perfect if you are looking for something light and fluffy with some zing to snack on and definitely great for an appetizer in my opinion! This recipe was quick, easy and absolutely divine! I literally had to stop myself from eating the whole thing in one sitting! To keep myself from doing that, I cut it up and shared it. :-)  Aww..isn't that nice?

I will admit that I did go ahead and take the license that was given to buy some vegan pesto from the store instead of making it homemade… Don't judge me! I was able to find this delicious spicy vegan pesto from Whole Foods and it was! This will definitely be one of my go-to recipes without a shadow of a doubt!  The fluffiness and lightness of the dough, coupled with the robust flavor of the Roma tomatoes and the savory zing of the pesto was ménage a trois of delight for my taste buds!   Now, I'm not going to get you all excited and leave you hanging here! Dynise and her publisher are being so gracious in letting me share this recipe with you!  My only demand suggestion is that you get in the kitchen and try it and also get your hands on this cookbook pronto!

Now on to the recipe!

Tomato Tart (Recipe copyright Dynise Balcavage, 2013)
Photo from Pies and Tarts with Heart.
Photo credit: Paul Runyon

This is a classic Provençal summertime tart and is best made with the freshest, vine-ripened tomatoes and homemade pesto, though I won’t fault you if you use store-bought. Eat this delicious treat the same day it’s made. Sliced into bitesize pieces, it’s also a fun appetizer.

Makes one 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30.5 cm) tart

8 sheets vegan phyllo

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

¼ cup (65 g) pesto

3 ripe Roma tomatoes or other small, flavorful tomato, sliced 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC, or gas mark 6). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Lay out the phyllo on the parchment paper and form into an 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30.5 cm) rectangle (the exact size or shape is not at all important here). Build up the crust edges by rolling the dough under.

Brush the crust edges with olive oil. Gently spread the pesto on the phyllo, top with the tomatoes, and brush with the remaining oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.


Use any kind of pesto or oil-based spread that you like, such as sundried tomato pesto, rosemary pesto, or vegan tapenade.


Makes a scant 2 cups (520 g)

½ cup (120 ml) best-quality olive oil

3 cloves garlic, sliced

2 cups (80 g) firmly packed fresh basil leaves

¼ cup (35 g) pine nuts, walnuts, or nuts of your choice

Nutritional yeast, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Process everything in a food processor until smooth (or smooth-ish, depending on the items you use). You can easily double or triple the recipe. Freeze leftover pesto in ice cube trays or small containers.

I'm so happy to have been a part of the Blog Tour for Pies and Tarts with Heart! This cookbook truly delights and you will be missing out if you don't get your hands on a copy! Be sure to check out Dynise on her website, Urban Vegan for more fabulous creations!