Summer goes hand in hand with tomatoes.
It doesn’t matter that the real beauties of summer, the sweet local tomatoes, haven’t arrived yet. As soon as the temperature rises, I crave tomatoes for breakfast lunch and dinner. We eat them raw. We toss them in quick and easy pasta dishes. We slice them open and spoon creamy burrata and bright basil leaves on top.
And then, when all the obvious recipes are starting to get a little repetitive, we get fancy with Tomato Tarte Tatin.
If you’ve had the traditional Apple Tarte Tatin, a caramelized, upside down apple pie served hot with ice cream, you may skeptical about substituting tomatoes. Don’t be. Tomatoes truly shine in a completely different way in this exciting dish. They completely lose their acidity as they caramelize, creating a show-stopping pie.
- 6 to 8 large heirloom tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of salted butter
- ¾ cups of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough
- optional: vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche to serve
- In a large pot, set water to boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Score each tomato on one end with a cross.
- Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for one minute. Then immediately transfer them to the ice bath.
- Peel each tomato. Then make an incision to open up the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Using a paring knife, cut the seedless tomatoes into 2-inch wide sections.
- Spread the butter evenly on the bottom of an oven-proof skillet. This will take a little elbow grease to keep rubbing the butter in concentric circles until you have a thick pommade coating the pan.
- Sprinkle the sugar on top.
- Layer the tomatoes over the butter and sugar, paying some attention to color. Don’t worry about overlapping, having more tomatoes is better than not enough.
- Place skillet over medium heat. Cook, occasionally shifting the tomatoes gently to prevent burning. When the butter and sugar have turned into a bubbling, light amber caramel, take the pan off the heat.
- Immediately add the vanilla extract by drizzling it on top of the tomatoes.
- Lay your puff pastry sheet down. Cut off the corners to make it a very rough circle. Don’t worry too much about geometry or presentation. I guarantee your pie will be gorgeous.
- Lay the puff pastry over the caramelized tomatoes, tucking in the dough. Make 3 or 4 slits in the dough.
- Place pie in oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is golden brown. Watch closely to make sure the caramel doesn’t burn, turning the tomatoes into cement.
- As soon as the pie is done, invert it onto a serving dish. Use silicone mitts to prevent yourself from burning but don’t wait or you will be scooping your pie out with a jack hammer.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.