Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin

24 Aug

I’ve been busy enjoying life on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, in a petite rustic cabin with no running water and no electricity. For 4 days, I was peeing in the woods and not taking showers. I wore a headlamp and lit candles to see at night. The days were filled with hiking and bushwhacking up mountains and through meadows, and the evenings with melting marshmallows by a fire on the beach. It was totally dreamy to be out in nature, to be one with the biting bugs and scurrying animals and calm waves of the ocean’s tide coming in and out.

It’s amazing what one can miss with just a week absence of internet. The moment I had access to my computer again, I started plowing through, trying to catch up on all the blogs I read.

Heidi’s tomato tarte tatin immediately caught my eye, especially since I had a pie crust in my freezer just waiting to be used.

I made a big trip to the farmer’s market today, where I found heaps of gorgeous tomatoes, onions, green and yellow beans, cucumbers, melon, and white peaches. I even bought my lunch at the farmer’s market–whole wheat focaccia with eggplant, spinach, and goat cheese.

This tarte tatin is basically an upside down pie. Filling on the bottom, crust on top. I sautéed onions and combined them with fresh tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Into a pie plate and sprinkled with blue cheese. I think blue cheese and honey are a swoon-worthy combination, so I squeezed a bit of honey over everything for good measure. Pie crust on top. Egg wash. Salt. Oven.

The blue cheese melts right into the tomatoes, the juices so rich they give off hints of a beefy French onion soup.

Real talk: I used the cap of my canola oil to cut out the circles in the center of the pie crust.

Also, I like to place the pie plate onto a baking sheet. It just makes it easier to take in and out of the oven.

Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin

adapted from Heidi, of 101 cookbooks

serves 6-8

**NOTE: Use whatever pie crust you like. I think Heidi’s rye crust sounds great. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe (see below) that can go into a savory or sweet pie. 

1 extra large (or 2 medium) onion(s), chopped

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) small tomatoes

scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1-2 tablespoons flour

2-3 tablespoons blue cheese

1 teaspoon honey, for drizzling

1 pie crust

1 egg (for egg wash), whisked

flaky salt, for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 400F / 205C.

While the oven is warming, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and saute the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are deeply golden and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

While the onions are cooking, cut any larger tomatoes in half. You can leave the small cherry tomatoes whole. Add the tomatoes to the caramelized onions along with the sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a deep pie dish. If you get the sense that your tomatoes are quite juicy, and might release a lot of liquid, you can toss the mixture with a tablespoon or two of flour at this point. Sprinkle mixture with crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with a touch of honey.

Roll out your pie dough, cut out 3 circles around the center, and cover the tomato mixture – tucking in the sides a bit. Brush the crust with the beaten egg wash and bake in the top third of the oven until the crust is deeply golden and the tomatoes are bubbling a bit at the sides, 25 – 30 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 45 min

Pie Crust

from David Lebovtiz’s Ready for Dessert

makes 2 rounds

**NOTE: You only need 1 round for the Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin. You can keep the other round in the freezer.

2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (3-cm) cubes and chilled

6-8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl using a pastry blender, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and mix just until the butter is broken up into rough 1/4-inch pieces.

Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water all at once and continue mixing just until the dough begins to hold together. If necessary, mix in the additional 2 tablespoons ice water.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.

STORAGE: The disks of dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

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