You say tomayto, I say tomahto
January 26, 2007 3:24 PM   Subscribe

What's the best tomato-based dessert you've ever had (if you've had any!)?

I'm going to an iron-chef-style dinner party Sunday and drew the
unlucky dessert straw after the secret ingredient was revealed. Tomato dessert? WTF?? But surely someone out there in mefiland has had the a great tomato dessert up their sleeve and is dying to share it w/ me. Extra points for something not on the first page of Google, as someone else is bringing a dessert, and doubling up would be lame.

(Posted on behalf of gregoryc)
posted by Leon to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I've never had it (or even heard of it) but the first thing I could think of would be BloodyMary Ice Cream. Maybe you could invent it?
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:30 PM on January 26, 2007

If you can get your hands on green tomatoes, you can bake them in a pie. Use your favorite apple pie recipe and replace the apples with sliced green tomatoes. (If you are the type, like me, who precooks the apples to avoid the unsightly empty dome crust, I have never seen this done with green tomaters.) Here's a recipe that sounds about right, though I'd use more green tomatoes, but I like a pie to be full.

My mother also greatly enjoys green tomato mince meat pies. I do not like mince meat, so I couldn't give you any advice there. This sounds like here recipe, though.
posted by Seamus at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2007

A script from The West Wing describes a signature dessert called "Tomate du Saltambique," which consists of "a big seedless, beefsteak tomato stewed for three hours in crème de caramel and stuffed with passion fruit, kiwi, and hazelnuts, and served on a pomegranate reduction."
posted by cribcage at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I bet you could cook grape tomatoes in brandy, flambe them and serve them atop crepes with honey!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:43 PM on January 26, 2007

I've had very nice tomato ice cream. And I bet that one could make candied tomato, poaching slices in a simple syrup for a length of time and then placing the slices in a dehydrator.

Tomato and chocolate goes together well, too (vis: some Oaxacan cuisine), but I can't think of a way they might be combined as a dessert.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:48 PM on January 26, 2007

Interesting recipe for tomato devil's food cake.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:50 PM on January 26, 2007

Ambrosia voyeur: holy shit, I'm trying that even if Leon isn't.
posted by boo_radley at 3:53 PM on January 26, 2007

After a few moments with Google, I'll speculate that the West Wing's fictional dessert might have been inspired by something called tomate confite farcie aux douze saveurs, apparently created by chef Alain Passard and served to great renown at Arpege in Paris.
posted by cribcage at 3:56 PM on January 26, 2007

My other idea is to add sliced beefsteaks to a ras malai. (one of my all time favorite desserts)

Thanks for the confidence, boo!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:04 PM on January 26, 2007

I have a friend who swears by tomato-basil gelato, though I think he had it as a palate cleanser rather than a dessert.

I once made candied tomatoes; they were served with scallops, so again, not designed as dessert, but they were so sweet and good that I could see a creative person somehow using them in a dessert dish:

Preheat oven to 375F. Blanch 18 small ripe plum tomatoes in salted boiling water for one minutes. Skin them, cut them in half, and discard the seeds. Arrange them cut side up on a baking dish. Drizzle with 3T olive oil and sprinkle with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 T herbes de Provence, and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until shriveled and randomly carmelized, about 40 to 45 minutes. (You can keep them warm in a 250F oven until ready to serve.) Cadged from "Pedaling through Provence" by Sarah Leah Chase

I might serve them under or with some sort of herbed ice cream, maybe lavender and/or honey, or goat cheese with thyme, maybe? Maybe add some sort of thin cookie-type thing, too.
posted by occhiblu at 4:05 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

(Also, after looking at the other thread and the objections about out-of-season tomatoes, I should throw in that the author of the cookbook specifically says that candying the tomatoes is a way to make even blah winter tomatoes gain a rich full summer flavor.)
posted by occhiblu at 4:11 PM on January 26, 2007

Leon/gregoryc: Please be sure to update us on which tomato dessert ends up being made at Sunday's dinner party -- and how it was received by the diners.
posted by ericb at 4:26 PM on January 26, 2007

I can't help but wonder. . . who throws a tomato-themed dinner party in the middle of the winter? If it were August, I could think of all kinds of great things to do with interesting heirlooms (sweet, mild yellow tomatoes would make great sorbet). But I hardly like to eat winter tomatoes at all, let alone as dessert.

I guess you could look for recipes intended for other sweet-tart fruit (passionfruit, cranberry, or pineapple maybe?) and see if you could adapt them. Or possibly combine the tomato with something like pineapple or citrus, macerate or cook in caramel, and serve with sweetened creme fraiche or ice cream and tuille cookies.
posted by mostlymartha at 4:27 PM on January 26, 2007

Is a savory dessert acceptable? If so, try Havarti and Tomato Cheesecake. It calls for sun-dried tomatoes, so you wont have to settle when choosing produce.

The only review on the page: I made this cheesecake for an Iron Chef cooking competition at my work and it won. This is definitely a recipe that will become sure favorite.
posted by chudder at 4:32 PM on January 26, 2007

I found a tomato soup spice cake on
It has 4.5 out of 5 stars, 13 reviews.

Good luck, Iron Chef!
posted by idiotfactory at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2007

Please try to make Tomate du Saltambique.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2007

I've had wonderful tomato sorbet, made from just the juice of the tomato, which is mostly clear in color - it makes a wonderfully surprising ice, but is probably not so good with out of season tomatoes... but I'm thinking it might work really well with some added flavor. I've had a Moroccan tomato/orange/clove soup, and I suspect it would make a nice sorbet or ice cream.
posted by judith at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2007

Tomato Cake.

Chocolate Tomato Cake.

And another recipe for Tomato Devil's Food Cake (as per S-O-L's recipe above).
posted by ericb at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2007

in france, i had a seven heirloom tomato gelato - it was the best ever. i crave it often!
posted by boygirlparty at 4:45 PM on January 26, 2007

Maybe a Tomato Aspic with some extra sugar?
posted by keep it tight at 4:57 PM on January 26, 2007

You might want to consider looking up persimmon recipes and replacing the persimmon with tomato.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:32 PM on January 26, 2007

Oh, and I've made the tomato soup cake from Joy of Cooking. It's awful.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:32 PM on January 26, 2007

Applesauce cakes (I'm pretty sure there's a recipe in Joy if you can't find one elsewhere) tend to work with any fruit purée. Or at least, the texture comes out right. There's still the issue of flavor. But I wonder if an unseasoned tomato purée — no basil, no garlic, none of that fake parmesan bullshit — would taste good in one. I suppose all the tomato soup cake recipes are probably barking up that same tree.

Somewhere — I want to say it was the NY Times food or magazine section — I saw a recipe for a corn-and-tomato dessert that looked perfect for this. I remember that it involved a lot of reducing liquids, and that the corn portion was a sort of custard thickened by the natural starch in fresh corn. Of course, it's the wrong time of year, and what's worse I can't seem to google up the recipe. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about?
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:46 PM on January 26, 2007

Basil and Tomato Sorbet
posted by growabrain at 7:54 PM on January 26, 2007

Not exactly a dessert but I've enjoy fruit salad with tomatoes and shell fish. Helps to have a fair swack of something savory in it like fresh tarragon. Melon makes for a better balance than citrus.
posted by mce at 9:45 PM on January 26, 2007

Please be sure to update us on which tomato dessert ends up being made at Sunday's dinner party -- and how it was received by the diners.

If you were able to snap a photo of whatever you make, that would be super-extra-doubly-awesome cool. There are several good suggestions above, and I'm sure we'd all appreciate seeing any of them realized.

Also, I'd note that EricB's third link says:
The tomato devil's food cake tastes just like a normal chocolate cake. ... You'd never know that there's three tomatoes lurking in the cake and the frosting.
Depending on how literally you're interpreting the Iron Chef theme, that might be a dealbreaker. The judges always made a big deal out of how well each dish featured the signature ingredient. (I'm referring to the original Japanese show. I've never seen either American version.)

Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 11:46 PM on January 26, 2007

I haven't tried it but this recipe for Tomato Zabaglione seems like it should be both appealing and delicious.
posted by Tarrama at 3:52 AM on January 27, 2007

I once made a basil ice cream and served it, float style, with a tomato gazpacho. Everyone loved it.
posted by thethirdman at 8:33 AM on January 27, 2007

tarrama - I'm leaning heavily towards your zabaglione, but I've never made anything like it, so have a couple of questions.

1. The recipes twice says "beat" when I can only assume it means "whip". Am I right? The 35% cream (heavy cream) I assume is whipped to what - soft peaks, hard peaks? Anyone ever made this stuff?

2. I assume I'll be fine to layer everything a couple hours ahead??

I'm also seriously considering the green tomato pie, but don't thing my local market will have green tomatos right now. Thanks everybody!
posted by gregoryc at 8:30 AM on January 28, 2007

I've made zabaglione, but not the tomato version. Basically, the egg yolk part of it is custard, and yes, it looks like the cream should be whipped to layer into it.

If it were me, I would not layer it ahead of time. It will likely all melt together and you'll lose the layers, which should be visible. (And in my experience, hand-whipped cream really doesn't stay whipped that long.) I'd take the custard-berry-tomato mixture in one bowl, some cream and your whisk or mixer separate, and your serving bowls/glasses empty, and then whip the cream and assemble it all immediately before serving.
posted by occhiblu at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2007

Well, the tomato zabaglione offered by Tarrama turned out to be a pretty bit hit. It ranked 2nd out of nine dishes, despite it not turning out as well as it could have. Next time I'll leave it on the stove a bit longer, but I didn't have enought time to start over if I accidently made scrambled eggs!

Thanks to everyone, esp. Leon and Tarrama for your help. I'm sorry to report that, in the heat of the moment, I forgot to take my camera, so no pics. :(
posted by gregoryc at 11:48 AM on January 30, 2007

Congrats! Thanks for posting the update.
posted by cribcage at 12:41 PM on January 30, 2007

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