Cherry Tomato Tarte Tatin
The French classic gets a jammy, summery makeover.
serves 4-8 People
5 hours 45 minutes
Juicy cherry or grape tomatoes are coated in a light caramel to make the “topping” for this tart, but the whole thing is baked upside down in a skillet. Do most of the steps to prepare it in advance—make the zucchini paste and defrost the puff pastry a few hours or up to two days ahead—but be sure to serve the tart just after baking. It tastes best while the caramel is still runny and the warm, and the topmost layer of dough has a custardy consistency.
For the zucchini paste:
- 1⁄4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. honey
- 1 lb. 10 oz. medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large handful (½ packed cup) mixed fresh herbs, such as basil and parsley
- Kosher salt
For the tart:
- 50 ripe red or golden cherry or grape tomatoes (1 lb.)
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Kosher salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
- Small basil or mint leaves, for garnish
For the caramel:
- 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1⁄3 cup superfine sugar
Up to 2 days ahead, make the zucchini paste: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium Dutch oven, whisk the oil and honey until combined. Add the zucchini and herbs, and season with salt; toss to combine.
Cut a parchment-paper round to fit inside the Dutch oven, and place it atop the zucchini mixture. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake until the zucchini is soft and sweet, about 4 hours.
Drain off and discard about ⅔ cup of the zucchini-cooking liquid. Transfer the remaining mixture to a small food processor and process until very smooth, 2–3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.
Prepare the tomatoes: Set a large pot of water to boil over high heat and prepare a bowl of ice water. Using a paring knife, slice a small “X” into the bottom of each tomato. Once all the tomatoes are ready, transfer them to the pot of boiling water; let cook just until the skins start to pull away from the flesh where cut, about 20 seconds, then use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes, discarding the skins. Transfer the peeled tomatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a small pinch each of salt and sugar, and toss to coat.
Two hours before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the tomatoes to the oven and bake until dried slightly, about 1 hour. Remove the tomatoes, and turn the oven up to 375°F; position a rack in the top third of the oven.
Make the caramel: Set the butter cubes and a whisk next to the stove. To a medium oven-safe stainless-steel skillet, add the sugar. Place over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar melts and turns a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the butter until incorporated, then remove from the heat.
Assemble and bake the tart: Tightly pack the tomatoes in an orderly circular pattern atop the caramel along the bottom of the skillet; season lightly with salt and set aside.
Cut the puff pastry into a 9½-inch round. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the zucchini paste across one side of the pastry round, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Place the round, zucchini-side down, atop the tomatoes. Tuck the edges around the tomatoes so the dough touches the sides of the pan. Using a paring knife, score the top of the puff pastry in a few places so steam can escape while baking.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed and deep golden, 28–34 minutes. Open the oven door and let the tart stand 2–3 minutes.
Overturn a flat serving plate atop the skillet, then quickly invert the skillet to turn the tart out onto the plate. (If any tomatoes remain stuck to the pan, dislodge them and place back on the tart). Let cool slightly, then garnish with basil or mint leaves, slice, and serve.
For More Tarte Tatin
This tart is traditionally made with apples, but firm-fleshed pears make a delicate and delicious alternative. Get the recipe for Pear Tarte Tatin »