Vegetarians are in for a treat because this Tarte Tatin makes a substantial main course or a fancy, flavourful side at any time.
Credit goes to Ottolenghi for amping up the flavour in so many vegetable dishes.
What is Tarte Tatin?
You probably recognize the tarte part as the pastry dish that can be baked with a sweet or savoury filling.
The Tatin part is named for the French Tatin sisters who created the now famous Tarte Tatin – traaditionally caramelized apples baked with a puff pastry top and then inverted on to a plate. Like an upside down cake in pie format.
There are many fruit variations on the apple, such as pear, pineapple and peach. Savoury versions are somewhat less common but they are out there. Many focus on caramelized shallot. No surprise there since the onion family caramelizes so beautifully.
Ottolenghi’s version highlights fresh baby potatoes and cherry tomatoes. I was lucky to make mine at the height of garden season so my heirloom cherry tomatoes were a real treat. (Note in the photo- I should have put the tomatoes cut side up.)
Goat cheese add some protein and the puff pastry makes it a bit decadent!
I have to admit the first bite I found the sensation of sweetness with the potatoes a bit odd but by the second and third bite I was totally on board!
Interesting note- Although the pastry is not as crisp as fresh out of the oven, I found the flavours melded and I liked it better after it had had time to rest. So I will make it earlier in the day or the day before I serve it I think. I am not alone in this – many recipes recommend making it the day before serving.
I was devouring the leftovers the second day!
So- bonus there but you can decide for yourself.
Chef’s Tips for Vegetarian Tarte Tatin
- Ottolenghi’s version roasts your own cherry tomatoes by roasting in a slow oven about 45 minutes. It obviously concentrates the taste and in the winter months in North America I think that would be a treat since tomato flavours for us in winter are far less vibrant than garden fresh. However you can substitute chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil) for the cherry tomatoes. You are going to need about a 7 oz jar to get all those cracks filled in.
- Fresh new potatoes make this dish divine but again, in winter you can still make it with gourmet baby tomatoes.
- I was initially dismayed after the step where you make caramel in a skillet and pour it on to the parchment paper lining your cake pan. Mine harden so fast that, while I did have a bit of swirly spread from my pouring going on I was no where near uniform coverage of the bottom of the pie plate. But – not to worry – as the tarte cooks in the oven the caramel melts again and spreads evenly over the bottom of the pan. (Whew!)
- Commercial puff pastry adds that elegance and makes it easy at the same time.
Vegetarian Tarte Tatin With New Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes
- 8" cake pan
- Parchment paper
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes Can substitute 7 oz sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped.
- 2 Tbsps olive oil plus more for drizzling
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 lb baby potatoes skin on
- 1 large onion sliced thin
- 3 Tbsps sugar
- 2 tsps butter
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only or 1/2 tsp dried. Thyme would work here as well.
- 6 oz goat cheese
- 1 sheet puff pastry defrost in fridge overnight or on counter for a few hours
- Preheat oven to 275°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve tomatoes and place them cut side up on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 45 minutes.If using sun-dried tomatoes, skip the roasting step. Drain oil off tomatoes and roughly chop them.
- Pepare an 8" cake pan by grease the bottom lightly with oil and lay a parchment paper in the bottom cut to the size of the pan.
- Cook the potatoes, whole in salted water about 20 minutes – do not overcook since they will cook further in the oven later. Drain potatoes and let them cool down so you can handle them.
- While potatoes are cooking add 2 tsps olive oil to a skillet and cook over medium high heat about 13 minutes until golden brown. If they start to burn reduce heat.
- In a separate small skillet melt the sugar and buter over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silcone spatula. Watch carefully and when mixture turns a golden brown colour quickly pour the caramel over the bottom of your cake pan. It may harden before you can spread it but just try to pour in circles inside the pan. It will even out during baking.
- Sprinkle bottom of cake pan evenly with oregano.
- Slice the potatoes in half horizontally. Trim the outside edge so potatoes will lie flat in the pan. You may want to trim the potatoes so they are roughly the same thickness to make a uniform layer in the pan.
- Spread the potatoes in a single layer in the bottom of the cake pan. Toss the onion and tomatoes together and use that mixture to fill in the gaps between the potatoe slices. Season top with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese (or globs of it) evenly over the potato layer.
- Roll out puff pastry and cut out a 9" round. Lay the pastry over the tart and gently tuck the extra down the inside edge of the cake pan. This will make the side of your tarte when inverted.
- If making ahead you can chill the tarte, covered, up to 24 hours before baking. Bring it out about 20 minutes before baking.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake the tarte for 25 minutes and then reduce temperature to 350° F. Bake another 15 minutes or so until pastry is cooked and golden brown.
- Remove tarte from the oven and allow it to set about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the outside edge. Place your serving plate inverted over the pan and carefully turn them over. Gently lift off the cake pan. You will have your pastry on the bottom and tatin on top.
- Serve hot or warm.
- This will keep a day in the fridge after baking. Flavours continue to meld and many prefer it the second day. Reheat gently in the oven when ready to serve.
- You can freeze a whole tarte tatin after the initial bake, it has been inverted and cooled completely, or even overnight. Seal in an airtight container, thaw about 20 minutes before putting it in 350° oven. Check after 30 minutes to see if is warmed through.