Did you ever have one of those meals that you remember years later? I have had many of those, since I’m so obsessed with food, but the one that I was thinking of recently was the Cream of Tomato Soup that I had on my 40th birthday at Jeanty at Jack’s in San Francisco. Sadly, the restaurant is gone, but it’s big brother, Bistro Jeanty is alive and well in Yountville. And they’ve posted the recipe online! I thought a regular Wednesday night would be a good night to attempt this, because I always think that things will take less time than they do. If I ever entered one of those cooking competitions on TV, I’d be the one who didn’t plate in time. But, I did it! It was delicious, and beautiful. I varied the recipe a bit because I didn’t have fresh tomatoes, so I used my old stand-by, the canned San Marzano tomatoes (2 cans) and I only used 2 cups of cream because 4 cups sounded excessive, even to me. The making of the soup is simple. The puff pastry is the tricky part. One thing you shouldn’t skimp on is the cooking of the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes. It really does help the flavor and adds a nice depth. I also didn’t chill – I just went straight into the bowls and covered with the puff pastry. I like Dufour brand that you can buy at Whole Foods. I thought that these bowls that my mom had would be pretty, but I think that next time I’ll try a bowl with a smaller circumference. I got just barely four rounds out of my sheet of puff pastry, and I had to patch some of them. I served the soup with my Fennel and Apple Salad, inspired by a Jose Andres salad that I ate once at Jaleo in Bethesda. It was a hit! Delicious, and fun to eat too!
Tomato Soup in Puff Pastry
½ cup plus 2-4 tbsp butter unsalted
½ lb. Yellow onions-sliced
6 Garlic cloves
1 Bay leaf
½ Tbsp Whole black peppercorns
1 tsp Dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 ½ lb. tomatoes-ripe, cored, and quartered
1 cup water (no more-use only if tomatoes are not ripe and juicy)
4 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. Puff pastry-or store bought sheets
1 Egg- beaten with 1 Tbsp of water
- Melt the ½ cup butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme,
bay leaf and peppercorns; cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not let the onions color.
- Add tomato paste and lightly “toast” the tomato paste to cook out the raw flavor, then add tomatoes,
and water if needed. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes and onions are very
soft and broken down.
- Puree by passing through a food mill. A food mill works best however you may use a blender in
batches or a handheld immersion blender until finished, then strain. Return the soup to the pot.
Add the cream, salt, white pepper and remaining butter to taste. Bring soup to a simmer then
remove from heat.
- Allow the soup to cool for two hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Divide the soup among six 8-ounce soup cups or bowls. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/4 inch. Cut
into 6 rounds slightly larger than your cups. Paint the dough with the egg wash and turn the
circles, egg wash side down, over the tops of the cups, pulling lightly on the sides to make the
dough somewhat tight like a drum. Try not to allow the dough to touch the soup. (These may be
made up to 24 hours in advance and covered with plastic in the refrigerator.)
- Lightly paint the top of the dough rounds with egg wash with out pushing the dough down. Bake
for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Do not open the oven in the first several
minutes of cooking as the dough may fall. Serve immediately.