After discovering that the sweet and umami flavors in a tomato jam are a winning combination, I wanted to use our heirloom tomatoes in something else that featured a sweet background to the tomatoes. This delicious heirloom tomato tarte tatin recipe filled the order.
This is truly a unique taste treat that will surprise and delight you. The heirloom tomatoes cook in the caramel until tender, but they manage to retain their fresh tomato flavor at the same time. Combine that with a sweet crunchy pastry crust and it is the essence of a unique and delicious summer dessert!
There were several recipes out there for a Tomato Tarte Tatin, and after reviewing several I realized this dish was not going to be quick and easy. Bon Appetit included pictorial directions, which is the way I like to learn any truly new dish, so I went with a version of their recipe. I have made this twice now, once with great success and once not-so-much. Here is Bon Appetit’s recipe for Tomato Tarte Tatin, modified to reflect what I learned from the failure.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
Tomato Tarte Tatin
- 2 lbs. roma tomatoes I used Amish Paste but Opalka or San Marzano would work great also
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry half of 17.3-oz package, thawed, corners cut to make very rough 9-10-inch round
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Cut shallow X in bottom of each tomato. Add tomatoes to boiling water. Blanch tomatoes until skins begin to peel back (30-60 seconds). Using slotted spoon, transfer blanched tomatoes to bowl of ice water to cool quickly.
- Place room temperature butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and place on burner that is off, but still slightly warm from the boiling water for blanching tomatoes. Let it slowly melt in pan while working with tomatoes
- Peel tomato skins off (see photo). Cut off end of tomato, slice in half lengthwise, and remove the hard white core if there is one. Remove most of the seeds with your fingers.
- Spread melted butter over bottom of skillet as evenly as possible and sprinkle 3/4 cups sugar over the butter. Arrange tomato halves, rounded side down and close together, in concentric circles in the skillet to fill completely (see photo).
- Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until sugar and butter are reduced to a thick bubbling, deep amber syrup, about 1/4 inch deep (see photo below). Gently move the tomatoes around occasionally to prevent burning, and cook about 20-25 minutes. The first time I made this I loosened the tomatoes as they cooked and it came out beautifully. The second time I just let them cook in the caramel and they stuck to the bottom when I inverted it. It was a mess (a tasty mess however).
- Remove skillet from heat and immediately drizzle vanilla over tomatoes. Top with the pastry round. Bon Appetit tells you to tuck in the edges of the pastry with a knife, but it worked much better for me when the pastry was just laid on top of the tomatoes with about 1/2 inch ring of caramel exposed around the pan. When I tucked it in, the pastry puffed up and made a rounded tarte bottom rather than flat. Cut 2 or 3 slits in the pastry also
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
- Cool tart in skillet 10 minutes. Cut around sides of skillet to loosen pastry. Place large platter over skillet and, using oven mitts as aid, hold skillet and platter firmly together and invert upside down. Allow tart to settle onto platter. Hit bottom of skillet several times with end of knife to loosen the tart also. Carefully lift off skillet. Rearrange any tomato halves that may have become dislodged.
- Serve tart warm or at room temperature.
For a variety of tomato recipes that don’t use the stove or oven to heat up the house in summer, click here.
For a great BLT in the middle of winter when there are no fresh tomatoes, click here.