{recipe} Tomato Tarte Tatin with Capers & Caramelized Onions

We are coming into the peak of our Indian summer here in the Bay Area, which means the tomato plants are overflowing with their multi-hued bounty. We do grow some large tomatoes, but the sweetest, juiciest ones are always the miniature Sungolds and cherry tomato varieties. With enough pasta sauce canned and in the pantry to last until next summer, I thought it was time to try something a little different – a tomato version of a tarte tatin, mostly savory, a little sweet, with salt, tang, and complexity from some capers and caramelized onions.

It is important to serve this as soon as it comes out of the oven, or it will become soggy. Fresh out of the oven, the vegetables are soft and yielding, bursting with juice, in contrast to the flaky, crispy crust.

I think this is most at home on the brunch or lunch table alongside soft scrambled eggs or a simple salad.

Recipe: Tomato Tarte Tatin with Capers & Caramelized Onions
serves 4-6


  • 1 frozen package puff pastry (all butter version; I like the Dufour brand if you can find it)
  • 2 Tblsp butter
  • 3 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping Tblsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh herbs of your choice – oregano, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram are all good choices
  • about 1 pound cherry tomatoes (a mix of colors is pretty if possible)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Melt butter in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and turn heat to medium low. Season with salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 30-40 minutes until onions are soft, brown, and caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Choose an ovenproof skillet or pan to use for the tarte, ideally of 9-10 inches. Put sugar in the pan and add enough water so it has the consistency of wet sand. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns brown. During this process DO NOT STIR the mixture as it will caramelize – you may swirl it gently and occasionally if necessary.
  • Once the sugar reaches the amber color, Immediately add vinegar, swirl gently, and turn off heat.
  • Sprinkle capers and herbs over the caramel, then the tomatoes in an even layer. Spread caramelized onions over. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Carefully unfold the puff pastry and cut into a circle that is 1 inch larger in diameter than the pan. Place the puff pastry disc on top of the onions and tuck the edges into the pan. Cut 3-4 vents in the pastry with a sharp knife.
  • Bake until golden and puffy, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then run a knife around the pastry to loosen it. Carefully flip over onto serving plate.
  • Serve immediately.

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3 Responses

  1. Lee Anne says:

    What a delightfully different recipe! Looks grand! Had to read it a couple times to understand how to do the puff pastry. Sounds simple enough and delish. Now I have to have a little brunch or tea party to show it off.

    • Karen says:

      @Lee Anne – I’m sorry if it was confusing! If you have specific suggestions as to how to make it more clear, let me know. Thank you!

  2. Lee Anne says:

    Hi Karen! Just read over your instructions again and must say, I think you’re definitely clear in your instructions. What probably confused me was the method since I’ve never used puff that way. BTW, made it with grape tomatoes from the yard and some baby heirlooms from the store and IT WAS DIVINE! The caramel/tomato/onion flavor combo, well you should file for a patent on that one. Must say nothing beats homegrown tomatoes. Pretty proud of myself there. Great recipe. A total keeper.