- Preheat the oven to 140°C (gas 1). Scald the tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh them under cold running water. Peel off the skins, then cut them into quarters and remove their seeds.
- Pour 2 tbsp of the oil onto a large non-stick baking sheet and sprinkle over the thyme leaves, sugar and seasoning. Turn the tomatoes in this mixture two or three times, then spread them out in a single layer. Scatter over the garlic. Bake for 1½ hours for the tomatoes to caramelise. Leave to cool.
- Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (gas 6). Lightly grease the base of four individual tart tins, 10cm in diameter. Roll out the puff pastry. Cut out four circles, each measuring 10cm in diameter, to fit the tart tins. Spread the tomatoes evenly over the base of the tins. Top the tomatoes with a circle of pastry. Bake for 10 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.
- Turn the tartlets out, upside down onto individual plates so that the tomatoes are now on the top with the pastry underneath. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve at once, garnished with fresh thyme.
*During the summer months when home-grown tomatoes are in season and full of flavour, it makes sense to prepare a larger quantity of ‘confit’ tomatoes (see step 2). Cooked and drizzled with a layer of olive oil, they will keep for several days in the fridge. Use them to add a burst of flavour to salads, pasta, rice and fish dishes. *To make one large tart, spread the tomatoes in a 25cm flan tin, top with pastry and bake at 200°C (gas 6) for 15–20 minutes. Cut into quarters.