A beautifully ripe tomato is a thing of wonder. Simply seasoning it with a little flaked salt, freshly ground pepper and maybe a drizzle of peppery olive oil is all the intervention required. An heirloom tomato at its peak also cooks incredibly well, with that intense flavour deepening and sweetening. This riff on tarte tatin wholeheartedly celebrates the tomato. It's a wonderful lunch tart that just needs some dressed leaves to make a meal.
375g butter puff pastry*, rolled into a 6mm thick square and rested in the fridge
400g oxheart tomatoes (or any ripe, dense-fleshed tomatoes)
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
100g castor sugar
5 shallots, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
50ml sherry vinegar
5 thyme sprigs (or tarragon), plus extra leaves to serve
150g manchego, cut into 2cm dice and chilled in the freezer
12 dried black olives, pitted
120g goat's curd, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 250C (230C fan-forced).
2. You will need a non-stick ovenproof frying pan or similar, about 30-35cm wide. Cut the pastry about 3cm larger than the diameter of the pan, then chill until needed. Generously grease the pan with the butter and line with a piece of non-stick paper.
3. Slice the tomatoes about 1cm thick, sprinkle over a little salt and set aside for about 10 minutes to draw out some moisture.
4. Place the sugar in a medium frying pan over high heat. Once it turns to a caramel, add the shallot, garlic and vinegar and swirl to combine.
5. Pour the caramel into the lined pan, distributing it evenly. Scatter over the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper.
6. Lift the tomato slices out of their juices and shake a little to get rid of any residual liquid. Arrange the slices in the pan in a decorative fashion – they will appear on the top of the tart, so spend a little time getting this right.
7. Dot the tomato with the manchego and the olives, then lay the pastry on top. Bake the tart for 25-35 minutes until golden.
8. Once cooked, rest the tart for 5 minutes, and use a spatula to reshape the overhanging pastry (which will have shrunk back close to the rim) down the sides of the pan. Place a serving plate on top of the pastry, then flip the whole thing over to unmould the tart.
9. Dollop on the goat's curd to serve, and garnish with a few thyme leaves.
*Quality, all-butter puff pastry is essential for this – standard sheets won't do – you can buy this in thick sheets or blocks and roll it out yourself (Careme is a brand I often use).