I promised more tomato recipes in my last post, and I’m here to deliver with one of my new favorites; Tomato Chevre Tarte Tatin. Tomatoes are a funny fruit. They’re kinda sweet, but not enough to be as pleasant for raw eating as an apple or a peach. Their interior texture and moisture content varies greatly depending on the variety – with romas being drier than most, and beefsteak tomatoes being one of the juiciest kinds around. They have a slightly tangy, sorta sweet, and kinda punchy flavor, and they taste so *so* SO ridiculously good in a ton of different preparations. I’ve fermented unripe green tomatoes to make tomato pickles, I’ve slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, I’ve boiled big fat tomatoes down into a paste-y concentrate, and I’ve simmered them with sugar to make tomato jam. But a couple weeks ago I got to try making them in a very new-to-me way, and that was caramelizing them with a bit of syrup in a pan and then baking them into a tomato chevre tarte. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, it was REAL GOOD. And even better when I tossed freshly crumbled Vermont Creamery chèvre into the mix.
There’s something magical about the way the sweet tomatoes mesh with the tangy, creamy goat’s cheese for this delicious tomato and chevre tarte. And once it’s in the baking pan the cheese gets all melty and combines with the tomato juices and then the crust starts soaking up all that goodness, concentrating the flavor down into buttery and flakey crust heaven. I really like using a bunch of cherry tomatoes for this tart rather than sliced large tomatoes because the skins of tomatoes contain a lot of that really tangy earthy flavor that sun-dried or slow-roasted tomatoes have; and when you use cherry tomatoes the skin-to-flesh ratio is much higher than it is for a big sliced tomato, giving you more of that sweet sweet tang. Plus, the pretty little guys make for quite the presentation, especially if you have a variety of shapes and colors. My personal favorite ‘cherry’ tomato varieties are green grape, currant tomato (OMG, while googling that link I just found that there are now white and yellow currant tomato varieties. Garden additions for next year!!), and yellow pear. That gives you a nice variety of shapes and colors, and their flavors are outstanding. Careful with the red currant ones, though, as it is very viney and can end up taking over nearby tomato plant cages, so give it a lot of space and support if you decide to give it a go next year.
Tomato Chèvre Tarte Tatin
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (frozen)
- 1/3 cup ice water
Caramelized Tomato and Chèvre Filling
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teapsoons flake sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup Vermont Creamery crumbled fresh chèvre
For the crust, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, and black pepper in a bowl until combined. Grate the frozen butter over the bowl using the large hole setting of a grater, pausing every 10 seconds to stir the butter shards into the flour so they don't all stick to each other. Add the ice water and stir to combine, then knead with your hands until the dough comes together. If it crumbles apart, add another tablespoon or two of water. If it's too sticky, add another tablespoon or two of flour. Roll out the dough on a large cutting board so that it's 1/4 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate.
For the caramelized tomato + chevre filling, melt the butter in an 8 to 10-inch skillet skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the onions soften and turn lightly gold around the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrape the contents of the pan into a heat-safe bowl and set it aside, placing the pan back over the heat. Add the remaining sugar and water to pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and allow to boil, swirling the pan gently to mix, until the sugar caramelizes, becomes very fragrant, and looks amber when scooped with a steel spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the cherry tomatoes, salt, thyme, and pepper to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes to help soften the tomatoes, then evenly distribute the caramelized onion mixture over the tomatoes and sprinkle with the chevre. Remove from heat and place the crust over the top of the skillet, trimming off the excess and using a blunt butter knife to tuck the edges of the crust into the pan.
Use a sharp knife to poke 5 hole in the top of the crust. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the crust is lightly golden on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and place a heat-proof plate on top of the pan. Invert the pan and lift it off of the plate, so that the tomato tarte tatin is now resting tomato-side up on the plate. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.