Tomato for dessert…

You say tomato..I say tomato….(I guess we need the audio for this one to work!)  Anyway, we all tend to think of tomatoes as a flavorful and refreshing summer vegetable even though we also know it’s a fruit. Either way, few of us would get through the summer without some delicious tomato salad, fresh slices on our pizza and sauce on our pasta.

So while touring the magnificent Loire Valley in France and visiting its beautiful castles, SWEETTABLESCAPES followed a friend’s wise advice and drove to the lesser-known Chateau de la Bourdaisiere.

IMG_3866What a great idea!! If the castle cannot be visited (it is a beautiful hotel), the gardens are a delight. IMG_3897

IMG_3880IMG_3893They have become the “National Conservatory of the Tomato” and see more than 640 varieties of the fruit being cultivated there.

Seeds from around the world have been collected and are grown each year in the greenhouses before being transplanted into the garden:

IMG_3906IMG_3910This year, their maturity, at least for the early-summer varieties,  was quite delayed because of an exceptionally wet spring. Even the
Tomato Bar” IMG_3915was closed for lack of produce, but we were still able to stroll the gardens and admire the work of a gentleman Farmer called Louis Albert de Broglie who started this project in 1996. Passionate about gardening, preservation and education, he bought the castle and turned some of its grounds into a magnificent garden. Tomatoes are the main event but there are also many other vegetables and even a “Dahlia Color” Garden. We highly recommend this visit if you are ever in the area. It is off the beaten path (no overwhelming crowds there) and well worth the detour!!

Note: Second week-end of September : Tomato Festival! See the many, MANY uses of tomatoes: jam, chutneys, mustard, juice, sauce, liquor, perfume, cosmetic creams…(Read more here; In the US, Jonathan Adler makes a Tomato hand soap and lotion set…)

We bought the beautiful book “Les tomates du Prince Jardinier” and could not wait to try some recipes.

IMG_4124IMG_4125As usual with SWEETTABLESCAPES, we went straight for the dessert recipe:


You’ll need:

10 small red Pear tomatoes

200 g flour

150 g butter

150 g sugar

pich salt

2 apples

250 g strawberries


Mix flour with 125 g of butter (cut in small cubes), 125 g sugar and salt with your fingers until you obtain a coarse, sandy dough. IMG_4174

Preheat oven to 325 F

Cut apples in small cubes and cook them in remaining 25 g butter. Add small tomatoes and remaining 25 g of sugar. Let caramelize slightly on low heat. IMG_4181

Pour mixture into baking dish and add strawberries (cut them in half or quarters depending on their size) IMG_4182IMG_4183

Sprinkle with the crumble mixture. IMG_4184

Bake for 45 minutes and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. IMG_4187IMG_4188

We enjoyed it straight out of the oven and it was so yummy !!

This got us on a tomato kick and the New-York Timers Dining section of Aug. 7 came just in time with an awesome TOMATO CROSTATA. Absolutely d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s !!!


  • 1 hour plus at least 2 1/2 hours’ chilling

For the crust

  • 125 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 cup), more for rolling out dough
  • 75 grams fine cornmeal (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons), cut into small cubes
  • 35 grams grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 1/2 cup)

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds different-colored tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (or halved if cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus a pinch
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 65 grams extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • Flaky sea salt, like Maldon


Make the crust: In a food processor, briefly pulse together flour, cornmeal and salt. Add butter and cheese and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces (3 to 5 one-second pulses). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 6 tablespoons, pulsing occasionally until mixture is just moist enough to hold together. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Spread out tomato slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and let sit for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. IMG_4167
In a skillet over medium heat, combine vinegar, honey and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer; let simmer 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Wipe out skillet, then add olive oil and garlic. Cook garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic is golden and caramelized. Remove garlic and finely chop. Reserve garlic oil. IMG_4168IMG_4169IMG_4170IMG_4171IMG_4172
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Gently roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, dusting with flour if dough is sticking. Transfer dough to baking sheet and return to fridge for another 20 minutes. IMG_4173
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pat tomatoes dry with paper towels. Brush tomatoes with honey mixture (reserve the thyme sprigs). Leaving a 3-inch border, distribute cheese, garlic and half the chopped thyme leaves on center of crust. Add black pepper to taste, then layer tomatoes in an overlapping pattern, maintaining the 3-inch border. Drizzle garlic oil over tomatoes, sprinkle with remaining thyme leaves and lay the reserved whole thyme sprigs on top. Gently fold crust up around tomatoes, making a 2-inch border. IMG_4175IMG_4176IMG_4177IMG_4179
In a small bowl, whisk egg and 1 teaspoon water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash over crust and sprinkle top of crostata with flaky salt. Bake for about 35 minutes, until pastry is deeply golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. IMG_4180IMG_4185
6 to 8 servings

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