Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe for Tomato Tarte Tatin

The July and August issues of Bon Appetit are favorites because there’s always a gorgeous fruit dessert on the cover followed by enticing recipes inside. The August 2010 issue featured a Tarte Tatin using not the traditional apple, but rather the love apple — the tomato.

Tomato Tarte Tatin
Though they are fruits, tomatoes are type cast as savory stars. I admit that I tend to think of them only for main dishes. Some tomatoes, though, are sweeter tasting than certain other fruits. (I’m thinking of some really tart strawberries and blueberries I’ve had over the years. And bitter blackberries.)

When you see how the tomatoes taste after they are softened and glazed with caramel, you might be inspired to create other tomato desserts.

By all means, use a home-made puff pastry if you are so inclined. It’ll certainly taste better, and you will feel very happy with yourself for having made it. But if it’s hot where you are, a warm house is not always fun for making pastry. Make life easier and head to the supermarket.

Tomato Tarte Tatin
from Bon Appetit 2010

About 8 large plum tomatoes (blanched, then peeled)
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed, corners cut off to make a 9- to 10-inch round

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Blanch tomatoes, put in an ice water bath, then peel. Cut out cores, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds.

Spread butter over bottom of an ovenproof skillet measuring about 9 1/2-in-diameter with 2- to 3-in-deep sides. Sprinkle 3/4 c sugar over butter. Arrange tomato halves, rounded side down and close together, in concentric circles in skillet to fill completely. 

Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until sugar and butter are reduced to a thickly bubbling, deep amber syrup (about 1/4 in. deep in bottom of skillet), moving tomatoes occasionally to prevent burning, about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Immediately drizzle vanilla over tomatoes. Top with pastry round. Using knife, tuck in edges of pastry. Cut 2 or 3 small slits in pastry. Place skillet in oven and bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown, about 24 minutes. 

Cool tart in skillet for 10 minutes. Cut around sides of skillet to loosen pastry. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts, hold the skillet and platter firmly together and invert, allowing tart to settle onto platter. Carefully lift off skillet. Rearrange any tomato halves that may have become dislodged.

Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

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