As we mentioned in our previous recipe for tomato jam, we’ve been part of a project to grow out tomatoes for the Canadian Seed Library, a project of Seeds of Diversity, an exceptional non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing heritage seeds. Through the first week of October, we’ll be exploring recipes that suit each of these varieties.
Our second tomato from the Library is a large cherry tomato called Camp Joy. (You can see them in the image above.) It’s about 4cm, perfectly round, dense, low in seeds, and very flavourful. Camp Joy is named after Camp Joy Gardens near Santa Cruz, California that was one of the early leaders in bio-intensive gardening. It was developed by noted English gardener Alan Chadwick, who was at Camp Joy teaching classes in organic gardening.
An oven-baked tart is a great way to showcase this gem of a tomato and we love any excuse to play with puff pastry.
Either as a bite-sized morsel or a larger tart to share, this is a great way to showcase perfectly ripe tomatoes.
a handful of large, ripe cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half (Camp Joy tomatoes, being the size of a two-bite brownie, are perfect for this)
one package puff pastry
3 tbsp soft goat cheese
a few tbsp fresh herbs (we love basil, but you can try thyme, rosemary, chives or parsley)
salt and pepper to taste
Although we have a couple of technique suggestions, this simple recipe is just an excuse to play and experiment. Mix tomato varieties, try different cheeses and consider including other ingredients like roasted garlic or caramelized onions.
Defrost the puff pastry, for an hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the tomatoes in half, then place cut-side down on paper towel (to absorb some of the moisture) for up to a half hour.
Unfold and roll out the pastry into an 11 inch square on a lightly floured surface. Trim off the corners with a sharp knife to shape the pastry sheet into a circle; score a circle (lightly track it with a knife) around 1 inch in from the edge.
Crumble the goat cheese into the centre of the crust, then put the tomatoes on, cut side up. Brush tomatoes with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Bake in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
This summer, we had the opportunity to grow a half dozen varieties of tomato for the Canadian Seed Library, a project of Seeds of Diversity, an exceptional non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing heritage seeds.
As one of about sixty growers from across Canada for this project, we’re obliged to plant the seeds they send us, tend them well, document our results and then send back some seed so that they can be put back into the library for the future. (All seeds have a limited shelf-life, so need to be grown out every so often to get fresh seed and reset the clock.)
In the interest of ensuring a healthy amount of genetic diversity, we need to grow many more plants of each variety than would be needed just for seed, so we now find ourselves with an abundance of unique tomatoes. We’ll be exploring recipes that suit each of these varieties over the next couple of weeks.
Our first tomato from the Library is a top-notch paste tomato called Federle. (You can see it front-and-center in the image above.) It’s big, dense, low in seeds, and very flavourful. R. W. Richardson of New York introduced this variety to Seed Savers Exchange (an American organization similar to our own Seeds of Diversity) in 1991. He had obtained the tomato through a seed swap with a gardener from West Virginia–its previous history is unknown.
Tomato jam is the perfect use for a tomato like this; the long simmer concentrates the bold flavour. Once finished, this jam is perfect smeared on a cracker with soft goat cheese. It’s also a great addition on a plate of cured meats and cheeses or as an out-of-this-world condiment for a grilled cheese sandwich.
Try this recipe with any ripe paste tomatoes you can find and you won’t be disappointed!
1 ½ pounds good ripe paste tomatoes (our Federle’s were perfect for this), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
if you like spice, fresh or dried peppers (jalapeno, chili flakes, etc) can be added to taste
Although we prefer this version, where the sugar adds a sticky sweetness that makes it feel like jam, some commenters on the original recipe suggest reducing the amount of sugar. Trust your taste buds.
Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring once in awhile until mixture has consistency of thick jam after 90 minutes, or more. Take care to ensure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pot, which becomes more likely the longer it cooks.
When ready, pour into jars and put in your fridge. You can also put this jam into sterilized jars and process them in a boiling water bath. With intact seals, unopened jars of tomato jam will last up to two years. Kept in the fridge, it will keep for at least 6 months.