It a wonderful sunny day here, there is some heat in the sun and it reminds me that summer is on its way.
We have had so much rain and a touch of ground frost in the mornings, these last few weeks, its hard to believe that we are already into to May, but we are, so the sunshine is very welcome today.
There is more rain on the forecast at the end of the week, but we wont focus on that for the moment, we will just enjoy what we have today.
This sunshine has made me think of what can I make for lunch that will reflect the sunshine and remind me that summer is coming…….
What about luscious, juicy ripe tomatoes……. that definitely reminds me of summer, with a hint of basil, oh yes, I can taste it already……
This is a great recipe to have up your sleeve, vegetarians and meat eaters alike will love it.
You can use shop bought puff pastry or make your own, it just depends on how prepared you are, do you have time to make the rough puff pastry, were you clever the last time you made some and made double and put some in the freezer for another day! either way it will be delicious.
First you need to get the puff pastry ready, either bought or ready made, have it in the fridge so it is really nice and cold, it always puffs up better if it is cold.
Then its the tomatoes, so this works with the size of your tin, if you want to make a large tart, then use medium/large tomatoes and cut them across the middle, try to make sure you have equal halves of your tomatoes.
To work out how many tomatoes you need, take your tin and place the tomatoes into your tin, to fill half of your tin, (no more) as you will be cutting them in half across the middle. If you have a small tin, then use cherry tomatoes, but keep the whole, it is all about the look and taste (if you use cherry tomatoes and you half them, they will cook down too much in the oven before the puff pastry is cooked.
In a large frying pan, on a medium/high heat, cook the onion rings with a little butter, you want them to cook down, but you don’t want any colour, they should be soft, about 5 minutes. Once they are ready, remove them to the tart tin.
Then add more butter and cook the tomatoes in the sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Once the tomatoes are cooked, place them in the tart tin on top of the onions, (cut side UP) this is all about the look of the finished tart, remember you will be turning the tart upside down, so the onions and the tomatoes will be on top.
Layer all the tomatoes in a single layer, making sure you have a nice tight layer, before your place the puff pastry on top.
Now roll out the puff pastry, to approx 2 cm, wider than the tart tin, and place the puff pastry on top of the tomatoes and using a fork/spoon, work the pastry down the sides of the tart ensuring that the pastry touches the bottom of the tin, this will be the crust of your tart when you turn it out of the tin.
Brush the pastry with a little egg wash and place in the oven, and wait until the pastry is cooked, 25-30 minutes.
Once the tart is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cook for approx 5 minutes, before turning it out onto a plate, this is the tricky bit, make sure you have a plate that is big enough to place over the top of your tart tin, place a tea towel over the plate and grab the tin underneath, and then flip it over, making sure you are quick so any juice that is in the bottom of the tin, doesn’t run out when you are turning it over.
Replace any onions that are left in the tin back on top of your tart, and then tear the mozzarella over the warm tart (the heat will melt it) and then the basil leaves, and enjoy the smells and fragrances of summer.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
Makes one 12-inch tart or two 6-inch tarts
Tarte Tatin, the traditional French apple tart that is cooked upside down, is also popular — and beautiful — prepared with anything savoury, like aromatic summer tomatoes.
Tomato Tarte tatin
Tomato Tarte Tatin
Tomato tarte tatin, ripe juicy tomatoes baked in a puff pastry tart, ideal for any lunch or dinner party.
Prepare a 12-inch tart tin. (Make sure the sides are flat on the plate when you turn over, this will help to ensure your don't lose all the juice from the tart with you flip it over)
In a frying pan large enough to hold the tomatoes, melt half of the butter over a medium heat and add the onions and cook gently until they are soft and starting to caramelise, remove to the tin and arrange for the tomatoes to sit on top.
Add the remaining butter into the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook to dissolve it. When it starts to caramelise, add the tomatoes, cut sides up. Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes and turn the tomatoes continue to cook until the tomatoes release their juices.
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 2 minutes more. Leaving the juices in the frying pan, arrange the tomatoes, on top of the onions, cut sides up, ensuring the tomatoes are touching the bottom of the tart tin, (so the onions should be laced between the tomatoes. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, and pepper.
Roll the pastry to be 2 cm larger than the tart tin.. Place it on top of the tomatoes, using a fork/spoon, tuck the pastry down the side of the tin, making sure the pastry is touching the bottom to the tin, as this will be the crust of the tart when it is flipped over. Make small holes in the top of the pastry, and brush with a beaten egg.
Set the tart on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 190c. Bake the tart for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Let the tart sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the pastry to loosen it from the pan. If there is a lot of juice in the bottom the tart tin, gently pour some off as this will make the pastry soggy. Set a large serving plate upside down on the tart and using oven gloves or tea-towel, quickly turn the plate right side up so the tart comes out, replace any onions that are still in the tart tin.
Take the mozzarella and tear into pieces and place on top of the tomatoes while it is still warm as this will help to melt the mozzarella and then garnish with basil.
If you are not serving this immediately, then leave the tart in the tin, don't turn it out onto the plate as the pastry will become soggy with the juice from the tomatoes.
If you have a fan oven, reduce the temperature of your oven by 20 degrees.
Today I have been sorting out my ingredients and shopping lists for a Wedding this weekend (the full details are in an up and coming post) that I am making the Vegetarian canapes and mains and salads for 11 wedding guests.
Blue Cheese, Pear and Walnut tart
I was working through my recipes and it was staring me in the face, these wonderful buttery, puff pastry tarts with blue cheese, pears and walnuts, mmm, oh yes, delicious.
I often serve these tarts, as they are a great crowd pleaser, the richness of the blue cheese and the sweetness of the poached pears.
This recipe is a great go-to recipe, as it only takes some puff pastry, poached pears and some creamy blue cheese.
Which reminds me……
About 2 years ago, I was serving the tarts as a starter for guests we had coming to stay over for 1 night. We had gone to the supermarket in the Saturday morning to buy the weeks shopping and the food for the following evening when our guests were due to arrive.
It was a very nice day and we went off to a Chinese buffet restaurant for a lunch, and made the most of the buffet items, going back for 2nd helpings. We headed back home, unpacked all the bags and settled down to enjoy the evening with a little glass of wine and a bit of TV.
Just then the telephone rang at 7.15 pm, it was the guests to say they were 20 minutes away………..OMG I got the date wrong, luckily the room was ready and of course we had all the shopping in……
So it was all hands to the pump, we went into work mode and started the food preparations.
The guests arrived, I showed them to their room and told them to come to the dinning room when they were ready.
The starters were these individual Blue Cheese, Pear and Walnut tarts, cutting the puff pastry sheets into the ideal size for individual tarts, then topping the pastry with the wonderful sweet poached pear slices and then the final flourish was the broken pieces of walnuts added to the top, then it was in the oven for 20 minutes, enough time to brown the puff pastry and to melt the cheese…. mmmmm…….. I can smell the aroma now.
We had another 3 courses to prepare, mains, cheese and dessert. As I have said already we had just been to the supermarket a few hours before and I knew what the menu was, of course, so it was just getting everything on the plates without the guests realising I wasn’t expecting them to the following day……
The tarts are wonderful for lunch and starters, you have the classic combination of the blue cheese, sweet pears and the creamy crunch of the walnuts.
You will have to take my word for it, but I can assure you that the guests thoroughly enjoyed their starter that evening, and so have the others that have also had the pleasure of enjoying them too.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is one of my favorites
Blue Cheese, Pear & Walnut Tart
Buttery puff pastry tarts with Blue Cheese, poached pears and walnuts.