Cast Iron

Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin

August 20, 2016
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This recipe is a summer take on the classic French apple tart, tarte tatin. Slow-roasting plum tomatoes in the oven intensifies the sweetness of the tomatoes and preserves their shape, while preventing them from being watery, which would make the puff pastry soggy. A layer of caramelized onions pairs beautifully with the roasted tomatoes. Serve it with a dollop of crème fraîche to mimic the classic pairing of tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream. Bon appétit! —Beautiful, Memorable Food

Test Kitchen Notes

Loved this tart—excellent flavor, and cutting out a round of puff pastry instead of making regular pastry dough made this tarte tatin much more simple than other recipes I've seen.

This recipe can be streamlined a bit as far as order and method goes: Caramelize the onions in a separate pan. Caramelize the sugar, vinegar, and seasonings in the cast iron. Add tomatoes. Roast. Add onions. Top with puff pastry, turn up the heat, and bake till done, then invert when slightly cooled. But the flavor was perfect: Right amount of sugar against the tomato's acid and simple with the puff pastry. The best part about this tarte tatin is that it looks fancy and complicated but it's really quite simple. —Omeletta

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons plus a pinch of white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  1. Editor's note: Take a peek at the testing notes from omeletta, above, for notes on streamlining the method!
  2. Preheat oven to 275° F.
  3. Sprinkle tomato halves with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Caramelize 3 tablespoons sugar in an enameled cast iron skillet over medium heat. When caramelized, deglaze with vinegar. Combine well.
  5. Remove caramel and vinegar mixture from heat and add garlic, herbs, and olive oil.
  6. Place prepared tomato halves face down into the sauce, and bake in the 275° F oven for 2 hours, until skins are wrinkly. Set aside.
  7. Caramelize onions by cooking in an enameled cast iron skillet over medium heat with a pinch of sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. When caramelized and tender, deglaze with 2 tablespoons of water.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 425° F.
  9. Grease the skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  10. Top with cooked tomatoes, cut side-up. Use a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid before placing in pan.
  11. Add a layer of caramelized onions.
  12. Top with a round of puff pastry and cut 3 slits to vent.
  13. Bake in 425° F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.
  14. Place a plate on top of the pan and carefully invert, then remove skillet.
  15. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme or lavender, and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • whym
  • Beautiful, Memorable Food
    Beautiful, Memorable Food
  • em-i-lis
  • Eve
I'm the author Spicebox Kitchen and a physician and chef who teaches healthy cooking classes in San Francisco at the Thrive Kitchen. Come cook with me! More information on Facebook at TheDoctorsSpicebox. To your health!

10 Reviews

whym December 17, 2022
Just made this dish tonight and loved it! Though it may have been time-intensive, it really wasn't all that labor-intensive. The majority of cooking time is spent letting things caramelize and getting all ooey-gooey-delicious. I thought the flavors worked brilliantly together, and it looked gorgeous too-- the pictures really do it justice.

However, there were a few roadblocks with the recipe. I found the process of making dry caramel quite challenging (granted, that may have been user error-- but I would've appreciated more specific instructions). When I added the vinegar, the melted sugar would immediately harden and stick to my spatula in a giant glob. If I were to do this again, I would combine the sugar and vinegar before cooking, and cook it until it has the consistency of a thin syrup.

I also found that the dish had a slight metallic flavor at the end. I cooked it in an enameled cast iron pan, as recommended-- so I'm not sure where the flavor came from. If anyone has any ideas for how to fix that, I would be much obliged, because I would love to make this tasty recipe again!

If you are on the fence, I highly recommend you give this tart a try! It brings out all of the best flavors that onion & tomato have to offer, and it looks so darn pretty that your friends & neighbors will assume you slaved over it for hours-- when in reality, it's quite straightforward to make!
Eve August 19, 2018
What happens to the juices & caramel vinegar mixture ? Is it deglazed further?
caswat2016 October 20, 2016
If you don't have an enameled cast iron skillet, what do you recommend cooking this in?
Beautiful, M. September 11, 2016
@mark Wolf and @duckfat-- thank you for the insight! Yes, actually, I used an enameled cast iron, not regular cast iron, and your point is well taken. Will correct in the recipe, thanks!
mark W. September 9, 2016
This looks great, but the instruction to cook and assemble this in an iron skillet gives me pause. Between the tomatoes and the added vinegar, I'm concerned that the skillet might impart a metallic taste to the finished tart. I have learned from experience that acidic foods and iron cooking utensils, even those that are well seasoned, usually make poor companions. Or maybe I'm just particularly sensitive to the taste....
duckfat September 9, 2016
The same thought occurred to me. Fortunately, I have an enamel skillet that will save me the worry!
bobbie J. September 11, 2016
thank you duckfat - I FORGOT about using my enameled skillet! Duh... I agree with mark Wolf: I would not like to do this vinegar/tomato combo in regular cast iron.
duckfat September 11, 2016
De rien!
em-i-lis August 28, 2016
Made and devoured this last night- it was delicious!
Beautiful, M. August 29, 2016
thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed!