I knew I wanted to make a soup this week so I went through the ones Matt had marked in Soup's On!: 75 Soul-Satisfying Recipes from Your Favorite Chefs & choose the Cream of Tomato Soup from Philippe Jeanty (of Bistro Jeanty in Napa). I planned on just making the soup & serving it with grilled cheese sandwiches but it looked so pretty in the book topped with puff pastry that I had to try it that way.
This is one soup that is not going to help your diet, with its 6 tablespoons of butter & 2 cups of heavy cream topped off with buttery pastry, but its probably one of the best tomato soups I've ever had. We found the recipe as written lacked a little something so Matt suggested adding some sherry to it & that made all the difference, suddenly the soup just came to life. One bowl of this soup topped with pastry is really quite filling & worked perfectly as a meal for us. Next time we'd like to add some lobster or lump crab meat to it, now there would be a decadent bowl of soup!
Cream of Tomato Soup in Puff Pastry
6 T unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 t whole black peppercorns
1/2 t dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 T tomato paste
1 1/4 lb ripe tomatoes, cored & quartered (so not seed them)
2 c heavy cream
2 T sherry
1 lb puff pastry sheets
Melt the 4 T of butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, thyme & bay leaf. Cover & cook for 5 minutes, do not let the onions get brown. Add the tomato paste & stir for a minute. Add the tomatoes & 1/2 c water. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat until the tomatoes & onions are very soft & starting to break down about 30 - 40 minutes.
Purée the mixture using either a food mill or blender. If you are using a blender, strain the mixture after blending to remove any seeds & larger bits. Return puréed soup to the pot. Add the cream, 2 T of butter and sherry plus salt & pepper to taste (we found it needed quite a bit of salt). Bring to a simmer & then remove from heat. Allow to cool at least 2 hours before the next step.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Roll out your pastry dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 4 circles slightly larger than you serving bowls or ramekins. Divide the soup between the four bowls. In a small bowl beat the egg. Brush the beaten egg on the pastry circles. Place the pastry, egg side down, on each bowl pulling a little to make it taut. Gently brush the top of the pastry with more egg being careful not to push it into the soup. Place the bowls on a baking sheet & then into the oven. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the pastry is puffed & golden (don't open your oven too early or the pastry might fall.)
We only ate two servings of the soup the first night with the pastry. I had a second bowl for lunch the next day just with a slice of bread & it was just as good without the pastry shell.