Wednesday, 22 January 2014

It's Raining Tomatoes

My vegetable garden has been badly hit by a week of  40+ degree temperatures. Some plants have perished and some are chucking out fruit like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, the tomato plants  I bought a few months ago must have been wrongly labelled. So instead of having 3 normal sized tomatoes and 3 cherry tomatoes, they are all cherry! So I have a few hundred baby tomatoes and really, they aren't great for making sauce, so I have hunted through my stack of recipes which are tried and tested, to see what I haven't cooked in a while.
Here is the first; a very simple but tasty dish which uses up your excess tomatoes. You can use ready made puff pastry, but making your own is so much more fun and it really doesn't take more than 10 mins, plus resting time.

Tomato and Thyme Tart Tatin

Lay pastry over the top and tuck in

Puff Pastry

250g Plain flour
250g Butter at room temperature, but not soft
Pinch salt
<100mls Cold water

  • Mix sieved flour, salt in a large bowl.
  • Add chunks of butter and rub in to flour, so it resembles large breadcrumbs.
  • Because there is a lot of butter, you will still see large chunks of it, so don't worry, this is how it is supposed to look.
  • Add water in two or three batches because you don't want it to get too wet and mix to a soft dough.
  • Knead it a little until it is in one smooth round ball, wrap in cling film and put in fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Roll pastry in one direction until it measures twice the size you started with.
  • Fold into thirds, cling film and rest again for 20 minutes.
  • Pastry is ready to use and you roll it out to the size, a little bigger than the pot you are cooking your tomatoes in. 

I only used half of this pastry for the recipe. The rest I double wrapped in cling film and put in the freezer for next week.

While pastry is resting for the second time, start making the tomato filling.
Browning off nicely

Ready to Eat

400g of cherry tomatoes
Few sprigs time
Salt and pepper
1/4 Cup of sugar 
1/4 Cup water
1 Red Onion very finely sliced
1 tbls Balsamic vinegar
1 tbls Olive oil
knob of butter

Heat oven to 200 degrees fan forced 

  • In a pan suitable to put in the oven and on the cook top, add butter and oil caramelise the red onion, adding a pinch of sugar. Remove when cooked about 10 minutes.
  • Add sugar and water and shake the pan gently, do not stir, to make caramel for the tomatoes. As soon as you see a hint of brown around the edge remove from the heat.
  • Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Add tomatoes and some thyme (I usually add a small handful) and gentle stir it all together. 
  • Now add cooked onions and stir again.
  • Once you have rolled out your pastry, gently lower it over the cooked tomatoes, tucking in the edges. 
  • Slit the top of the pastry in two or three places with a sharp knife.
  • Cook in the oven for around 30 minutes until crisp and golden.
  • Once out of the oven, leave in pan for 10 mins and then gently ease the sides away from the pan. Place a plate on the top and invert.
  • I usually leave this for another 10 minutes before serving. 
  • Decorate with a sprig or two of thyme and serve with a green salad.

I'll post another tomato recipe later in the week.

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