I called my Father every other day to discuss my three tomato plants and the pok choi seedlings. My Baba is an avid gardener and in my books no one knows more than he does – rightfully so, I am my Baba’s girl. I always wanted to grow vegetables like my Baba and eat fresh produce everyday like our family does back in India. But gardening is not as easy as it may seem. It needs attention just like a baby does. So began my phone calls. “Baba why aren’t they growing?,” I pleaded. ”When did you plant them?,” he asked. ”Two days back,” I replied. “Give it time,” came his patient response.
It felt like the impatient questions that came out of a seven year old me on our annual trip to Hazaribagh by car. Every half hour: ”Baba, how long ’til we reach?” Sometimes we never growup even when we are nearing 40. But at this age I knew the answers to most of my questions for my father. It wasn’t an enquiry as much as it was a conversation – about the things he so loved and enjoyed. And in turn I was bringing myself back to those long drives in his sturdy Ambassador car on our way to Hazaribagh that took from sunrise to sunset. I just wanted to hear him ask me to have more patience.”Baba, something is eating the leaves. What am I going to do?” ” Baba, I lost all the basil seedlings?” “Baba, Johnny Cash [the neighbourhood cat] is using my flower bed as his litter box!” “Baba, they are growing…I got a few flowers” “Baba, I got tomatoes”
As I picked the fiery orange cherry tomatoes and filled my basket, I was a proud daughter!
My first harvest of summer garden tomatoes got treated like the sweet juicy fruit that it was. A tart tatin of tomatoes that was bathed in luscious buttery caramel, hazelnuts and fragrant oregano and topped with buttery puff pastry – giving it the right balance of sweetness with slight acidity and the smoothness of butter. Once you taste this for yourself you’ll re think your next bunch of cherry tomatoes.
Cherry Tomato Tart Tatin with Honey, Hazelnuts and Oregano
- Cherry Tomato: 4 cups or more (depending on size)
- Fresh oregano: 2-3 Tbsp chopped
- sugar: 1/2 cup
- Honey: 1/4 cup
- Butter: 1/4 cup
- Hazel nuts: 1/4 cup whole toasted
- Puff Pastry: 1 sheet
- Pre heat oven to 425 F.
- Wash and dry tomatoes. Make a small incision on the tomatoes and set them aside.
- Take the toasted hazelnuts and skin them, then half them.
- In a 9 1/2 inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter. As the butter melts, sprinkle the sugar evenly.
- Arrange the tomatoes side by side and try not to leave much gap.
- Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top of the tomatoes, then drizzle the honey on top.
- Cook the tomatoes on medium to high heat carefully turning them once in a while until the butter and sugar has started to turn a rich brown amber colour. This can take from 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle the fresh chopped oregano on top.
- Cut the puff pastry in the same size at the skillet.
- Once the caramel has started to thicken lay the round puff pastry on top.
- Make a few slits on top to let steam escape, then tuck in the sides and bake for 20 minutes or until puff pastry is a nice golden colour.
- Once done, take out of oven and let stand for 7-10 minutes.
- Cut sides of the puff pastry from pan to loosen before inverting into serving platter.
- Serve warm with fresh whipped cream.