If you are looking for a great big punch of tomato flavor, look no further. In this tart there is no question that tomatoes are the star of the dish. Meaty tomatoes are oven roasted in a vinegar syrup, then topped with pastry for a final cooking, before being turned out onto a plate with the tomatoes back on top!
Tart Tatin originated in France. It started as an apple tart in which the apples were caramelized in butter and sugar before being topped with pastry and turned into a tart. Needless to say this technique is easily adaptable to other fruits, including the tomato (which is a fruit!).
In the classic rendition the fruit is cooked on the stove top then topped and baked. However, because tomatoes contain so much water, you will need to roast them in the oven, letting the juices bubble away, before adding the pastry.
Now here’s the thing: In order to do this you will need more than just a timer. You are going to use your eyes to judge whether the tomatoes are ready.
I made this recipe three times. The first time the tomatoes burnt in under an hour. The second time they took an hour to cook and were perfect. The third time the tomatoes took almost an hour and a half to reach perfection.
What made them different? Different types of tomatoes, different pans, different ovens and different temperatures. All the conditions that vary when you make this recipe.
Start with the pastry. You can use ready made puff pastry but it will be better if you make a short crust pastry. You can view my recipe here.
Make the pastry and put it in the refrigerate to cool for an hour while you make the tomatoes. (You can do this in a series of steps. I make the pastry the day before, cook the tomatoes in the morning and finish the tart when I want to serve it).
Prep your tomatoes by cutting out the core at the top. Depending on their size, halve or quarter the tomatoes. Then use a small spoon scoop out all of the seeds and the surrounding liquid pulp, leaving the meat of the tomato.
What type of tomatoes? I started with plum tomatoes but pretty quickly moved on to using my homegrown tomatoes which are big and meaty. The type of tomato doesn’t matter, just try to go for heavy, ripe tomatoes!
Mince a shallot and chop some fresh thyme leaves. You need to have everything ready for the next step.
Now for your first lesson in using your eyes to judge when something is ready.
Put some vinegar and sugar in an ovenproof sauté pan and heat it until the sugar is dissolved. Now increase the heat and let it cook for a minute or two at a slow boil until some of the liquid has evaporated and it is a little thicker. Reduce it to no less than half.
Pans are different. Some heat faster and more evenly. This could take a minute, it could take two minutes. How quickly the syrup reduces will give you a clue as to how long it will take your tomatoes to roast in the oven. A quick reduction means the pan burns hot and the tomatoes will need to be watched closely.
Once the syrup is ready, add the shallots, thyme leaves and some butter. Take it off the heat and stir it around until the butter has melted.
Add the tomatoes and toss them in the syrup, then arrange them skin sides down in a single layer in the pan. You can fit them in tightly. They will get smaller as they cook.
Put them in the oven to roast.
If you have a convection option on your oven that will work best. 350 degrees for about an hour (start checking at 30 minutes and check every ten to fifteen minutes after that).
For a conventional oven, 375 degrees worked well for me. (At 400 degrees the liquid reduced too quickly, and the syrup burned before the tomatoes were ready.) The conventional oven was a slower process, taking almost an hour and a half to reach the right point.
How long it is going to take will depend on your pan, the type of tomatoes and the oven! Just keep checking them.
When they are ready, there will still be a little liquid in the bottom of the pan and a few of the tomatoes may show some browning around the edges. If you give the pan a shake, the tomatoes slide a bit in the pan. Don’t worry about the liquid in the bottom of the pan. That is the syrup, not the watery tomato juices.
Remove the tomatoes and top with the pastry if you are cooking it right away. Alternatively, let the pan come to room temperature then cover it with a cloth or plate until you want to use it. The tomatoes will be fine if cooked in the morning and finished in the evening.
To finish the tart, roll the pastry thickly into a circle which will fit inside the pan, resting on top of the tomatoes. The pastry should reach to the edge of the pan.
Cook the tart until the pastry is browned.
Remove the tart and let it sit for 5-8 minutes to cool a bit before you turn it out.
To turn it out, put a large plate over the top of the pan. Place one hand firmly on the plate and hold it against the pan while you smoothly and quickly flip the pan over. The tomatoes should release easily from the pan. You can use a knife to reposition any which have moved. Click the link below to see a demonstration!
The Tart Tatin can be eaten warm, at room temperature or cold. Depends on how you like your tomatoes!
TOMATO TART TATIN
- 1 pie crust
- 10-20 to matoes
- 1/2 c red wine vinegar
- 3 tbs sugar
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp butter
Prepare the pie crust according to the recipe (https://awomancooksinasheville.com/easy-as-pie-strawberry-galette/#wprm-recipe-container-352) Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (convection), 375 degrees (regular).
- Remove the core from the tomatoes and cut in a half or quarter, according to size. Use a small spoon to scoop out as many of the seeds and surrounding membrane as possible.
- Chop the shallot and thyme leaves finely.
- Put the vinegar and sugar in a 10” oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan as it is heating until the sugar is melted. Continue to cook over a low boil until the liquid is reduced by 1/3 to ½ . Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shallot, thyme leaves and butter.
- Once the butter is fully incorporated add the tomato pieces. Toss them lightly to coat and then arrange them skin side down in the skillet, leaving no space between them.
- Checking the tomatoes every 15 minutes or so, roast in the preheated oven for as little as 30 minutes and up to an hour and a half until the tomato juices have mostly boiled away, leaving just a little liquid in the bottom. The tomatoes may have started to brown on the edges.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set aside until ready to bake.
- Roll out the pastry, thickly, into a circle large enough to cover the tomatoes and reach to the sides of the skillet.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt then top with the pastry circle.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. (The tomatoes should still be loose in the pan).
- Place a large plate on top of the skillet and hold it securely with one hand while carefully turning the skillet over. The tart should drop easily onto the plate. Use a knife to replace any tomatoes which have dislodged.
- Serve the tart warm, cold or at room temperature!
Note: you can also use a sheet of puff pasty for the tart base.