I took a break from holiday cookie baking today and made this Tomato Tarte Tatin... again. It's been less than a week since I had friends over for dinner and made this tarte for the first time. All of my fears about eating tomatoes out-of-season are no longer a concern. The caramelized sugar that's combined with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and garlic, ensures the plum tomatoes will have a velvety sweetness to them.
Once the tomatoes have baked for two hours in the caramelized sugar mixture, they are drained and returned to the skillet, covered with a buttery tart pastry, and baked until the crust is golden. Once removed from the oven, cover the skillet with a large plate and flip. Both tartes were served with arugula tossed with a lemony vinaigrette and Parmesan shards.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
• adapted from about.com
• 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• generous 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
• 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
TOMATO TARTE TATIN
• 2 pounds plum tomatoes
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely shopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil for greasing skillet
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt; pulse briefly. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse until the size of small peas. While continuing to pulse, pour in 3 tablespoons of the ice water. If the dough seems dry when pinched together, add more ice water, drop by drop, just until the dough holds together. Transfer to plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap, and chill for about 2 hours.
TO MAKE THE TARTE TATIN:
1. Preheat oven to 275˚F.
2. Slice the plum tomatoes in half and place on a large plate, cut side up. Sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
3. Sprinkle sugar evenly into a large ovenproof skillet and place skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally while the sugar melts and turns golden. Turn heat to low and deglaze caramelized sugar by pouring in the red wine vinegar and stirring constantly. The sugar will seize and become a hard lump, but be patient and continue stirring. Adjust heat a little higher if necessary. Eventually you will have a smooth lump-free mixture. At that point, remove from the heat. Stir in the olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary.
4. Place the tomatoes skin side down into the skillet, tucking in tightly if necessary. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 2 hours, or until the tomatoes are slightly smaller and shriveled.
5. Increase the oven heat to 400˚F. Remove the tomatoes from the skillet with a slotted spoon to drain. You will need an 8 or 9-inch ovenproof skillet for baking the tarte tatin (I use an old cast iron pan). If using the same skillet that the tomatoes were baked in, wipe it dry before coating with a light film of olive oil. Return the tomatoes to the skillet, skin side down.
6. Roll the pastry dough into a large circle. Lay the rolled dough over the tomatoes and gently tuck the edge of the dough inbetween the tomatoes and sides of skillet.
7. Place the tarte tatin in the oven and bake until the crust is golden, 35 to 45 minutes. Once removed from the oven, place a large plate over the skillet, and using potholders, hold the skillet and plate together tightly and flip. The tarte tatin will release onto the plate. Garnish the Tomato Tarte Tatin with sprigs of fresh rosemary. Tarte can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
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