I must admit, I’ve never been inclined to make my own puff pastry from scratch. Not that there’s anything too technical about the process. I’ve seen it up close and it involves quite a bit of rolling out and folding, then rolling out and folding again, some resting time in the refrigerator, and roll again. On most days, if I could skip this step and jump straight to preheating the oven, I’m not ashamed to say that I will. Lucky for me, City Bakery in Worli needs only a day’s notice to make me a sizeable batch of puff pastry that will sit comfortably in my freezer for almost 3 months. The book-like folds of two 500g pastries in the quintessential white bakery box is enough to make two whole tarte tatins and you’d still be left with some to make more tartlets with.
A Tarte Tatin for those who don’t know is a puff-pastry tart with toppings. Usually apples, I’ve swapped the fruits for this savoury lunch-time tart that’s great to serve as part of a full meal with a side of salad and dessert after. I’ve been teasing the idea of this Tarte Tatin since November, but between all the Christmas menus and my crazy cooking schedule, I decided to try this in the new year, and am I glad I did. The topping has tart green tomatoes, dry roasted onions and a sharp and savoury caramel glaze. The flavours are punchy; sweet from the cooked down onions, sour from the tomatoes and a finish of peanuts also adds crunch. It’s impossible to not ask for another slice.
When working with puff pastry, follow my tips:
-The puff pastry must thaw for it to be handled, so ten to fifteen minutes before you’ll be rolling it, keep it out on your kitchen countertop and keep a close eye. You want it to thaw to a time when a finger poked into the dough goes in easily, and springs back a bit. This means that it is ready to be rolled. If it is allowed to thaw completely, there’s a risk that the butter will melt and we don’t want that happening.
– Roll out the puff pastry in one direction only and lengthwise with a big rolling pin. Roll it to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Puff pastry 375g,
Butter 2 tbsp
Green Tomatoes 3-4, medium-sized chopped into thick roundels
Onions 2 large or 3 medium, cut into thick rounds
Sugar 1/4 cup granulated
Sherry Vinegar 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and get the puff pastry out to start thawing.
Get a frying pan out and neatly lay out the tomatoes and shallots. Season them and brown them evenly all over over a medium heat. Do this in batches if you have to. Set all the tomatoes and shallots aside.
Start on the caramel. In an ovenproof frying pan or skillet, spread the 1/4 cup of sugar evenly in the frying pan and heat gently over a medium heat for two minutes, without stirring until the sugar is foaming. Add in the butter and the vinegar and give the pan a swirl to incorporate. Take it off the heat.
Add the dry roasted tomatoes and onions to the caramel and arrange neatly. This will be your top. when flipped. Let this sit with the caramel.
Roll out the now thawed puff pastry in one direction, lengthwise with a heavy rolling pin. Roll it about 2-cm more than your ovenproof pan on each side. Drape the rolled out puff pastry over your pan and carefully tuck in the sides into your pan neatly. Prick all over with a fork and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes till completely puffed up and golden. Let it stand for 5 minutes once it’s out of the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and in one swift motion flip over the pan onto the serving plate in waiting. Serve immediately.