This richly satisfying tomato tarte tatin makes a delicious light lunch or dinner. Black olives lend the tart a certain umami quality, while the bacon contributes a welcome savoury note to temper the sweetness of gorgeous peak season tomatoes.
I have a hard time resisting savoury tarts. There is something so elemental, cosy, and satisfying about dishes that have stood the test of time. Nonetheless, tarts can sometimes feel like a bit of a project.
While I’ve never been afraid of making my own pastry crust, I love the fact that this particular recipe relies on store-bought all-butter puff pastry. The ready-made pastry makes this tart easy enough for every day. However, the presentation is pretty enough for company.
In experimenting with this recipe, I tried a few different methods. The easiest method, which was prepared in a regular quiche dish was delicious. However, it was a bit too sweet and my youngest tasters did not appreciate the pine nuts involved in the recipe. Therefore, we decided that this slightly more elaborate tart — without pine nuts — was worth the effort.
The three extra steps in this recipe are:
- Pitting and roughly tearing kalamata olives,
- Frying and crumbling bacon (yum!), and
- Caramelising onions
The only one of these steps that is even remotely complicated is caramelising the onions. You probably think that step on its own will take at least 30 minutes. However, I’ve got a pro tip that will have you caramelising onions in 1/3 the time.
Caramelising Onions Faster
In his seminal book, The Food Lab: Better Cooking Through Science, Kenji López-Alt goes into great detail about 3 techniques to speed up caramelisation. The technique I use here is raising the heat and adding a couple of teaspoons of water to dissolve all the browned sugar spots as they appear in various parts of the skillet.
This technique may seem counterintuitive, because water does lower the temperature of the pan ever so slightly. However, steam wilts the onions faster and dissolves the browned sugars from the sides and base of the pan as you stir. Thus, the onions brown faster as well.
You do lose a little bit of flavour compared to slowly caramelised onions. However, this technique shaves a good 20 minutes (at least) off your cooking time. I figure it’s a pretty good tradeoff and it takes this tart from the realm of the special occasion to an everyday possibility. So, for me, the quick method is a no-brainer.
Do give it a try and I hope your family enjoys this tarte tatin every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!
Caramelized Tomato, Bacon and Olive Tarte Tatin
This scrumptious, savoury tarte tatin with black olives and bacon makes an elegant presentation. However, it's deceptively easy to make using store bought all-butter puff pastry. Perfect for an elegant lunch or a light dinner.
- 1 250 g sheet all-butter puff pastry
- 4 strips streaky bacon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and roughly torn
- 1 kg cherry tomatoes, preferably a variety of sizes and colours
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Micro herbs to garnish (optional)
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 200° C. Roll the pastry out so that it is large enough to cover a 24 cm cast iron skillet. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
- Step 2 Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon strips and cook until they are fully rendered and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Crumble as soon as it is cool enough to handle.
- Step 3 Meanwhile, add the butter to the rendered bacon fat. As soon as the butter has melted, add the onions to the skillet. Increase the heat to medium high and stir regularly. As soon as the onions start to brown and stick, add a teaspoon or two of water to dissolve the browned bits on the skillet. Continue doing this until the onions are all wilted and caramelised. This should take about 10 minutes. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Transfer the onions to a bowl.
- Step 4 Heat a clean, 24 cm skillet (preferably cast iron or enamelled cast iron) over medium heat. Add the sugar and 3 tablespoons water to the hot pan. Swirl the pan gently (do not stir) until the sugar melts and turns amber. This will take 5-10 minutes. Add the vinegar and swirl gently. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Step 5 Sprinkle the olives and bacon bits over the caramel. Scatter the tomatoes over the olives. Then, strew the onions over the surface of the tomatoes. Grind salt and pepper over the contents of the skillet to taste. Top the mixture with the prepared pastry crust, tucking any overhanging edges into the pan. Prick the pastry all over with the tines of a fork.
- Step 6 Bake the tart until the curst is puffed and a deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edge of the pastry to loosen it from the pan and invert the tart onto a serving platter. Strew the micro herbs (if using) on and around the tart. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.