I noticed at the market recently that kumatoes were in season, so I grabbed a punnet to try my hand on a light and fresh weekend lunch. Tarte tatin, with tomatoes and eschalots rather than apples. Why not smoke the eschalots? I thought. I did think about smoking the tomatoes but something about physics and heat told me they’d end up going all mushy by the time the tarte was cooked. Now that just wouldn’t be pretty.
Smoking the peeled eschalots gave them enough flavour to add to the tarte, without being dominant. I smoked the whole garlic cloves as well, and the flavour was just beautiful.
Making a tarte tatin may terrify some of you and smoking some of the ingredients could terrify you even more, but believe me, this isn’t all that hard. I urge you to give it a go. Fancy food with no great effort. Don’t let this recipe limit you to kumatoes as any tomato variety will do.
Pour the red wine over the wood chips and allow to soak for at least half an hour. Drain well, discarding the wine. Place the wood chips into a round 14 cm disposable aluminium pie tin and put it into the bottom of a wok. Place a round rack over the top of the wood chips, or anything big enough to hold the eschalots and garlic cloves. Place the wok over medium heat and let the wood chips heat up and steam for a couple of minutes. Carefully put the eschalots and garlic cloves on the rack over the wood chips and cover the wok with a lid. Reduce heat to low and allow it to smoke for ten minutes. Remove wok from heat, take lid off and let the eschalots and garlic cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200° C.
Heat the oil in a 23 cm skillet over medium-low heat, toss in the eschalots and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Add the vino cotto, water and thyme, reduce heat to low and allow to cook until the liquid has reduced to a syrup, gently stirring occasionally. Add the kumatoes, turn off the heat and gently stir them through.
Lay the puff pastry over the pan and tuck in the edges to the bottom. Using a paring knife, pierce the pastry several times to create vents. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the pastry with the beaten egg yolk, place back in the oven and cook further for 8-9 minutes until golden brown.
When cooked, allow it to cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.