Do you know what a tarte tatin is? You may have eaten one without realizing what it was. It’s essentially fruit that’s caramelized in butter and sugar, baked with pastry on top, and then flipped over and served upside down with the fruit showing.

I was up in Woodstock this week and came upon this slide show in the Times for tomato recipes—garlicky tomato gazpacho, Sicilian stuffed tomatoes, and so on—but the one that really caught my eye was the tarte tatin, made with a variety of cherry tomatoes, chopped olives, and thyme. I vowed to make it as soon as I returned to the city this weekend. And so I did.

This being high tomato season and all, I can’t help myself when I’m at the coop or the farmer’s market and I walk by those little green pint baskets filled with Sun Golds or Elettros, Brown Berries, and Red Pear Heirlooms. They are, after all, only good this time of year—one month, maybe two if I’m lucky, so I get them while the getting’s good.

The Times recipe was pretty good but I added red chile pepper flakes for some heat (which I add to almost everything—ice cream?), and halved the cherry tomatoes because some of mine were quite large. Do not make this mistake—don’t halve your cherry tomatoes! They end up leaking a lot of their liquid into the tart and the pastry became a little soggy. Live and learn. It still tastes scrumptious.


Caramelized Tomato Tart Tatin
Yields 4 to 6 servings

1 14-ounce package of puff pastry
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 red onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
1/2 teaspoon sherry or white vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 1/2 pints (about 1 pound) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. If frozen, slightly thaw your puff pastry, about 20 minutes before you will handle it. The colder it is the easier it is to work with but it shouldn’t be frozen. Gently unfold the pastry and cut into an approx. 10-inch circle. Set aside in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of sugar and cook, stirring, until onions are golden and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add 2 tbsp water to deglaze the pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and set aside.

3. In a separate, ovenproof 9-inch skillet (I used a cast-iron), combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3 tbsp water. Cook over medium heat, swirling the pan gently (don’t stir) until the sugar melts and turns amber, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and swirl gently.

4. Sprinkle olives over caramel. Scatter tomatoes over olives, then the onions. Season with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Top with the puff pastry round, tucking the edges into the sides of the skillet. Cut several long vents into the top of the pastry.

5. Bake tart until crust is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife. Carefully flip the tart out onto a serving dish. Cut into wedges and serve.