This Tarte Tatin starter was so gorgeous on the eye that everyone who came to our Mirabeau lunch was already talking about it before they even sat down. It combines all the delicious flavours of Provence in a super-concentrated way, giving you a fantastic starter to a sunny meal, or work it as a stand alone lunch with some salad or fine beans.
It helps that everyone already knows and loves Tarte Tatin, the upside-down caramelised apple tart, so it’s great fun to adapt this technique for vegetables. The crust is easy to make and given that it’s baked upside-down the lovely juices only really soak into the pastry once it’s already crispy and baked, a big bonus in tarte terms. It’s easy, cannot really go wrong and is guaranteed to give your guests a big vibe of Provence, so just have a go at making one!
For the crust:
– 200 g flour
– 100 g butter at room temperature
– a pinch of salt
– a few drops of cold water (if needed)
For the caramel:
– 60 g butter
– 100 g sugar
– 5 tsp Aceto Balsamico
For the filling:
– 25 cherry tomatoes
– 6 medium sized, very firm multi-colored tomatoes
– 1 clove of garlic
– 5 branches of thyme
For the topping:
– 150 g black olives (pitted)
Prepare the dough for the crust in a bowl by rubbing the butter, salt and flour between both hands until everything is perfectly crumbly. From the crumbles into a ball on the bottom of the bowl. In case it won’t stick together just yet, add a few drops of cold water and try again. Repeat if necessary. Once the dough sticks together, cover it with foil and put in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.
Prepare a tarte tatin mould (alternatively a deep oven-proof pan or another baking mould). In a heavy saucepan, melt sugar slowly at medium temperature until it is dissolved and turns into a slightly golden coloured caramel. Don’t try to rush by using higher heat because the sugar burns easily and then turns bitter. Then carefully add the butter to the caramel and – being prepared for a vividly bubbling hot liquid – cautiously add the Aceto Balsamico, too. Swirl both ingredients into the caramel until everything is well combined and take off the heat. Instantly pour the caramel into the baking mould, making sure to evenly cover the base and put it somewhere safe to cool down.
Preheat oven to 250 °C (upper and lower heat). Wash tomatoes. If you use bigger tomatoes with a lot of pulp, cut off the top and remove the watery seeds. Place all the tomatoes on the cold caramel, with their cut off tops or the stem marks facing up. Peel and cut garlic into very thin slices. Pick the thyme leaves from the branches. Sprinkle garlic and thyme over tomatoes, generously season with salt and pepper.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it to a circle which is about 10 cm larger in diameter than the baking mould. Cover the tomatoes with the crust and and tuck the excess gently into the sides of the mould. Using the tip of a knife, cut a few small holes into the crust. Put the tarte into the oven and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Let the tarte cool down for 5 minutes, cover the mould with a tight fitting plate or platter and flip it over in one swift motion while the caramel is still warm and liquid. Set aside until it has cooled down completely, top with the olives and then serve.
“Bon appétit from the Mirabeau kitchen and enjoy this tart with a nice glass of Rosé – you deserve it.” Stefanie Köhler