Anyway, I’ll try to keep it brief, since this is a do-over. I’d just like to say that I felt very happy, picking these tomatoes. It was at the CSA. I was hot as hell, sweating like a madman, face burning to a crisp. But there was something so hopeful about the rows and rows of tomato plants laden with heavy pale green-just-turning-rosy tomatoes. And then I heard some high-pitched peep-peeping. Goldfinches! Brighter than day, and closer than I’d ever seen them, on top of the tomato stakes, talking to one another. Beautiful!So – this tarte tatin was as good as I’d remembered it! I decide to redo the whole post, because the last time I posted I was very strange and luke-warm about the whole thing, and I didn’t write up the recipe like a recipe. Claire, what were you thinking? Let me assure you the tart is lovely – sweet, savory, vegetal, with a very satisfying crust. Last time I cooked the tomatoes in a frying pan, and transferred them to a cake pan. This time, I cooked them in the frying pan, without moving them much at all, and then I put the crust on top and put the whole thing into the oven. Which worked very well, and is my recommended method, if you have a frying pan with a metal handle!
Here’s The Roots with Popcorn Revisited.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
6 T frozen butter
about 1/4 cup ice water
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Grate in the butter, and mix with a fork till you have a crumb-like texture. Break in the egg, and stir well. Knead with your hands, adding just enough ice water to pull it all together into a workable ball. Knead for about a minute, to be sure the egg and butter are well-incorporated. Wrap in foil or plastic, and chill for at least half an hour.
4 or 5 green tomatoes. (I used the oblong paste tomatoes. You can use any you find. You want them to be firm but have just a bit of give when you press on them.)
2 T brown sugar
1 shallot – minced very fine
1 t thyme
1 T balsamic
1/2 cup white wine
salt & pepper
In a skillet with a metal handle (mine’s about 9 inches) melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, and stir till it’s melted. Add the shallot and the thyme if you’re using dry. Cook until the butter is starting to brown, and the sugar seems almost caramelized. About five minutes. Add the balsamic and white wine, and whisk so that you have a smooth broth. Be sure to scrape all the good flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan.
Cook for five or ten minutes on a slow boil until the sauce is reduced and syrupy.
Meanwhile, Cut the tops off the tomatoes. If your tomatoes are very juicy or seedy, give them a gentle squeeze to get rid of some of that. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in half. Place them cut-side down on the cutting board, and cut them into wedges, angling your knife around the curve of the tomato.
Carefully transfer the sliced tomatoes to the pan in a pretty pattern, fanning the slices out as you do so, so that they lie more flatly against the sauce and the bottom of the pan.
Turn the heat down, cover the pan, and cook for about ten minutes. You want the potatoes to be soft but not falling apart. How long you cook will depend on the ripeness and variety of the tomatoes. Try not to stir the tomatoes, you can give them a little nudge, or shake the pan slightly if they seem to be sticking.
Remove the lid and continue to cook for about five to ten minutes, till the pan is fairly dry, and the sauce is thick and syrupy.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Roll the pastry to be just bigger than your pan. I like this pastry a little thicker than usual tart dough – maybe 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
Place the dough over the tomatoes, tucking the sides in all around, and folding them so they’re a bit thicker than the rest of the dough. Prick the dough in a few places with a fork or knife.
Bake for about 25 minutes, till the top is golden brown, and the juices are bubbling out from under the sides of the pastry.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then very carefully turn onto a plate. Any pieces of tomato or juicy bits of sauce that get stuck to the top can be scraped off and added to the top of the tart.