A tart tatin is always a gorgeous pastry to look at, no matter what kind of fruit you use to make it. I’ve made them using apples, peaches and even pineapples before. Almost any fruit can be used, including one of those fruits that we all typically regard as savory: the tomato. Cherry tomatoes (or other small tomatoes, there are a lot out there to choose from) make a great stand in for more “traditional” tarte tatin fruits.
The tomatoes are placed in a quick, buttery caramel sauce (with a generous pinch of salt added) and take on a fantastic sweetness as they cook in the oven. You could add in some herbs or spices for variety, but I love that natural tomato sweetness and it is the star of the show here. A buttery crust is baked on top of the tomatoes, serving as the base once the tart is done. From start to finish, this is a very easy dish to make as long as you have prepared (or bought) a sheet of puff pastry dough or a pie crust dough for the base of this tart.
It’s nice to have two options for the crust of this tart because it just means that you’re more likely to have what you need on hand to make it! The pie crust is a little more substantial, but may take a few minutes extra to cook completely when compared to the puff pastry. As a result, I recommend rolling it out to be slightly thinner than thicker. Regardless of which pastry you use, you should bake the crust until it is a deep golden brown. The tomatoes are going to give off a fair amount of liquid – though most of it turns into caramel – and you want that crust to stay nice and crisp.
I recommend letting the tart sit for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto a serving tray or cutting board. This short wait time will allow the caramel to thicken so that you don’t end up with a big splash all over your countertop and it will still allow the tart to release easily from the pan. If you let the tart sit too long, you will need to place it over the burner on your cooktop for a minute to warm and loosen the caramel. The tart should be served right away and can stand on its own as a main course if served with a big salad or it can be a nice side to any meaty main dish.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
9-inch pie pastry or 10-inch sheet puff pastry
16-oz cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 425F. Roll out pastry into an approximately 11-inch circle (square, if using puff pastry) on a lightly floured surface. Chill for 15 minutes.
In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add in sugar and cook until it starts to turn a golden brown. If the sugar starts to crystallize, don’t worry. Simply reduce the heat slightly and keep cooking it, stirring with a spatula, until the crystals break down and the caramel is liquid. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Add tomatoes to caramel in a single layer.
Place pastry over the tomatoes, crimping the edges to ensure that the whole pastry fits within the edges of the pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around the edges of the crust.
Allow tart to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter or cutting board.