A tarte tatin is a classic for a reason: simple (you don’t have to make the pastry if you don’t want to), elegant and delicious to boot.
I may have mentioned before that we live part way up a mountain. This has a significant impact on our growing season, making it shorter than it would otherwise be if we weren’t to live on said mountain. It also rains rather a lot. In fact, little wee Inglewood is (not so) fondly referred to as Inglemud. With this in mind, I have taken a rather experimental approach to the way I grow our food, simply planting whatever I fancy, stepping back and waiting to see whether it thrives or dies. Now in my third summer of growing vege here, I have at last succeeded with tomatoes. I’ve beaten blight and hungry birds and at last I have a variety of beautiful heritage tomatoes ripening on my windowsill (that’s the beating the hungry birds bit). It is a wonderful feeling – I’m turning them into pasta sauce, chutney, eating them on toast and in salads, and have also turned them into this delicious tomato tarte tatin that I recommend you try. If you aren’t too keen on making the pastry yourself, then use a good quality store-bought flaky one instead.
TOMATO TARTE TATIN
Serves 6 as an entree or light lunch
- 170g flour
- pinch of salt
- 100g butter, wrapped in foil, frozen
- 75ml water, chilled
- 3 tablespoons ghee (or olive oil)
- 1 onion, quartered, finely sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 500g tomatoes, halved, seeds scooped out
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 125g feta
- 3 tablespoons yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons herbs (I used a combination of parsley and basil)
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Remove the butter from the freezer, peel away a bit of the foil so that what remains in your hand is still wrapped (to keep it from melting as you grate it), and grate the butter into the flour. Use a butter knife to stir it in as you go.
Once the butter is all grated in, stir in the chilled water using the butter knife then tip out onto a clean surface, shape into a disc, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and over a medium heat, fry the onion for 15 minutes or until it begins to caramelise. Add the sliced garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Tip this mixture out into a small bowl and do not clean the pan.
Add the remaining tablespoon of ghee to the frying pan and add the tomatoes, cut side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes over a medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn over the tomatoes and sprinkle with the sugar and balsamic (avoid pouring it into the tomato halves) and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide in two (the second piece can be frozen for another use). Roll out one piece of the pastry to about 3mm thick, until it is just bigger than the diameter of the frying pan (my frying pan is 25cm). Carefully lay the pastry over the top of the tomatoes and tuck in the edges.
Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and immediately turn out onto a serving plate. While the tarte Tatin is cooking, put the feta, yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and garlic into a small pyrex jug and blend using a stick blender until smooth. Serve this with the tarte tatin alongside a green salad.
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