16 May 2008

My AVF #3 Contribution: Green Tomato Tarte Tatin

Unfortunately, the next couple of posts are going to be light on the photography (and the photographic quality). I went to upload thirty two recent photos and foolishly deleted the photos from my camera before checking to make sure they all uploaded. My camera has been having trouble with turning itself mid-upload lately, and it apparently did that this time. So all but seven photos are gone, including the beautiful coconut creams in martini glasses that I had to re-shoot in a less-impressive orange bowl. At least with the creams I had one left - the delicious tarte tatin disappeared more quickly, and so I have to stick with what blurry photos I have. Unfortunately, no photos of the finished product on the jam puffs I made with the leftover pastry, either.

Anyway. This is my contribution to AVF, so first a quick reminder that entries are due May 31st! You still have a couple of weeks, but those couple of weeks can fly by! Send your savoury tart, quiche, and pie recipes to me via e-mail to judithavory@gmail.com or in a comment to any post. We've got three so far, and I'd love to have a couple more!

Now, on with the subject of this post: green tomato tarte tatin. A few years ago, when I was deeply enamoured of Charleston, I had big plans to go to Tate Business School at UGA and open my own little cafe/bookshop/music performance space in downtown Charleston, called De Bon Goût (in good taste, in French). There were no independent bookstores in Charleston at the time, only a Waldenbooks, and this bothered me greatly. I would offer alternative titles (feminism, lots of poetry, LGBT stuff, etc) and have five or six little tables where I would serve food made with fresh Southern ingredients, but cooked in a French style. Though the idea quickly fell through, this attempt is my homage to that dream.

When I found tons of delicious, bright green tomatoes at the Farmer's Market last weekend, I knew I had to use them in my tart recipe. I had been thinking of doing something with puff pastry, because it's so easy if you pony up the cash for the store-bought variety, and in the back of my mind I had an idea of doing something like a tarte tatin, the classic French apple pastry. Well, lo and behold, someone had already come up with that idea! So I went with this recipe, with a few variations.

First I rolled the pastry out and cut the circle you see here to fit my small cast-iron skillet. It was the one thing I knew was definitely ovenproof. However, it's only about six inches on the bottom, so I had plenty of leftover dough. Not wanting to waste any pastry, I cut it into irregular squares and plopped blobs of the last of the fig and ginger chutney on top, as well as one with strawberry jam. They were super easy - just pinch up into little cases and bake at 400 for 15 minutes or so. The filling is very, very hot though, so be warned!

Anyway, as for the tarte itself, it went well and was super tasty, but I would recommend using a larger pan (I would even say ten inches, not eight). I used only four tomatoes, and lopped the ends off, but they still didn't fit in the pan. I made two layers, which meant that the butter and sugar all collected at the bottom and the tomatoes closest to the pastry, didn't really caramelize. Still, it worked well and I was able to scoop some of the sugary juices over the top. I didn't bother with the red onion, and I think the sour cream thing is overkill, but the oil and vinegar is a good idea to drizzle on top. For the second tasting, I got a special treat, because Rita brought back a bottle of her dad's homemade green tomato wine from Alabama. It was fantastic! I had no idea you could make wine with something other than grapes, and of course you can't come up with a pairing better than this one.


Carver said...

I'm sorry about your photo loss. I hate when that happens. Still the ones you used worked out well and it all sounds delicious.

Sylvie said...

What a nice idea to use green tomatoes for this. It's just a shame that they are hardly ever available over here.