Tomate du Saltambique Recipe: It Exists and It’s Delicious

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Tomate du saltambique is an extremely tasty and delicious dessert that you can’t get enough of. Yes, you read right. It’s a dessert made with tomatoes that’s so flavorful that you won’t have any reason to incorporate any thing to it to make it sweeter.

What exactly do you even plan to add? This dessert already has 12 awesome flavors (the original recipe and not those modified recipes out there) and that’s enough sweetness to satiate your taste buds.

Now, let’s get you started with a little behind the scenes action on your soon to be new favorite dessert.

Background Check On Tomate Du Saltambique

This tomato dessert originated from France, and not the west wing show. The west wing show is crucial to its fame but definitely not in France and especially not in the 3 star rated restaurant of Alain Passard.

Alain Passard is a French chef and might be the owner of the original recipe for tomate du saltambique. The origin of the recipe is lost, maybe not but the first mention of it was by Alain Passard when he served it in his 3 star Michelin restaurant, L’Arpege, many years ago (over twenty five years ago).

He referred to it as a tomato confit with a dozen flavors. Well, not exactly in those words but that’s what he meant when you translate his french description of the dessert (tomate confite farcie aux douze saveurs) to English.

Tomatoes as a dessert sounds really tricky, most persons probably think it is not possible, don’t beat yourself up if you are thinking so too. The fruit is certainly not the first ingredient that comes to mind when thinking of ingredients to make a dessert with.

This saltambique is made of fruits such as tomatoes, apples, pear and others, the recipe also incorporate nuts (walnut is right on this list too), ginger as spice, zest and a few other stuff.

The pulp and seeds of the tomatoes are removed and the fruit is then stuffed with the other fruits and nuts and stewed in creme caramel – it is actually crème caramel and not crème du caramel, just in case you are guilty of using creme du caramel like a few persons.

Though this dessert has been around for a while, it was really not quite popular, not until the west wing show made a reference to it in one of their episodes. Wondering what episode that is? Erm, you are going to have to find out that for yourself. Hint: The president, Josiah Bartlet was kinda into them.

Chill, if you paid close attention while watching that episode, you probably discarded it as a TV food and not an actual food. Good news, they are real and you were not the only one that questioned the existence of this dessert. We all did and google wasn’t helping then either. Thankfully, google is now a little bit helpful and it’s all because of the reference made by the west wing show.

Phew, tomatoes sure do like the spotlight.

First it was the unbelievable reeducation on them being a fruit, and not a vegetable. And now, this. This time around, they’re letting us know that they can be used to make our desserts. Flavorful dessert!

Alain Passard’s Original Tomate Du Saltambique

Enough background check, that’s not going to make this dessert ready. Tomato dessert is actually easy to make and will take nothing more than 3 hours to make. The 3 hours include the time needed to prepare your ingredients. I know 3 hours is a lot of time but the wait will be worth it when your dessert is ready.

Here is a really long list of things you need to make this awesomely flavorful dish:

  • 4 medium sized cherry tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes work just fine too. Go for firm ripe tomatoes, if they are too soft, they will fall apart while being stewed.
  • 70 grams of pineapple. This should be peeled, cored and then finely chopped – very tiny bits.
  • 190 grams of pears. Should also be chopped into very tiny bits after been peeled. They need to be small enough to get stuffed into the tomatoes.
  • 200 grams of apples. Same rule, peel, core and chop into very tiny bits.
  • One whole star anise pod.
  • Cinnamon, a pinch is all that’s needed.
  • 4 gram of orange zest.
  • 4 gram of lemon zest.
  • 10 gram of walnut, chopped. You could also toast the walnuts.
  • 10 gram of almonds, chopped.
  • 10 gram of pistachios, chopped. And roasted, if you fancy roasted pistachios.
  • Ground cloves.
  • Ginger, peeled and grated.
  • 4 slices of orange peel (optional).
  • Butter.
  • White sugar.
  • Salt.
  • Heavy cream.

That’s how long the ingredient list gets when you want a dessert with awesome flavors. A dessert no one can say no to including those who are not fond of tomatoes. Now, let’s get down to the recipe.

  1. Place a sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Instead of butter, you can use brown sugar. All you need to do is to add a thin layer of brown sugar and allow to melt.
  2. Once the butter has melted, pour in the minced apple, pear, pineapple, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, lemon zest, orange zest, and grated ginger. Then allow to sauté for about five minutes.
  3. Next, add the star anise pod, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of ground cloves and a little bit of white granulated sugar. Remove the star anise pod after sautéing for another five to ten minutes. This is enough time for the flavors to blend beautifully together. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  4. Over medium heat, and in a sauce pan, heat up some butter and heavy cream to make a cream mixture that’ll be used to make the créme caramel. Add a pinch of salt, and then remove from heat.
  5. Over medium heat, place a large pot and pour in about a cup of white granulated sugar (could be brown sugar, your choice) and allow to melt. When the white sugar melts, it will somewhat be like the color of whiskey.
  6. Now, gradually add the cream mixture into the pot. As you pour it in, whisk until it is well mixed. Remove from heat, it won’t be thick but that’s okay, it will thicken up later.
  7. Time to work on our tomatoes. Do not blanch nor skin the tomatoes lest they fall apart while being stewed. Cut the top of the tomatoes and remove their insides. Make sure to get all the seeds out. Then, place the tomatoes upright in a sauté pan. If you have a little difficulty getting them upright, then lean them against each other.

By the way, instead of throwing out the insides of the tomatoes, you could actually eat them.

  1. Stuff the tomatoes with the sautéed fruits, nuts and spices mixture. Do not over stuff them. Cover them with the tops that were earlier cut off. Pour the créme caramel into the sauté pan till it covers the tomatoes midway.
  2. Place the sauté pan with the tomatoes over the stove top and turn on the heat. Low heat, this should stew slowly and nicely. Add the four slices of orange peel into the créme caramel. While allowing to stew for 90 minutes to about 120 minutes, occasionally baste the tomatoes with the créme caramel. Do not let the tomatoes fall apart, they should be tender, not fallen.
  3. Serve! Serve the tomato dessert in a little pool of créme caramel.

You can serve this along side with anise or vanilla ice cream or your favorite flavor of ice cream.

And that’s how you make your tomate confite farcie aux douze saveurs.

If you finally figured out that it was in season 2, episode 17 (the stack house filibuster episode) of the west wing show that the tomato dessert was made, then you might have also realized that this is not exactly the way it was made in the political drama series. So how was it made? You will find out soon.

Tomate Du Saltambique Recipe from ‘The West Wing’

First off, know that the west wing tomate du saltambique do not have up to twelve flavors. Their version was basically a tomato stuffed with hazelnuts, passion fruit and kiwi, that was stewed for about three hours in crème caramel and served in a pool of pomegranate reduction. Though it has less flavors, it still makes for a delicious dessert.

Here is what you need to make this version:

  •  3 chopped kiwis.
  • The pulp of 6 ripe passion fruits. The seeds are tart and can be removed if you do not like them.
  • Chopped hazelnuts.
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes. Firm ones.
  • Crème caramel.
  • Two pomegranates.
  • ¼ cup of white sugar (or brown sugar).


  1. Mix the chopped kiwis, chopped hazelnuts and the pulp of the passion fruits together.
  2. Cut the top of the tomatoes and empty the insides of the tomatoes. Ensure that there are no seeds left. You can stuff your stomach with the insides if you wish.
  3. Stuff your beafsteak tomatoes with the mixed fruits and nuts and cover with the top that was earlier cut off. And place in a small pot. Remember, if you have trouble getting them to stay upright, lean them against each other.
  4. Fill the pot mid way the stuffed tomatoes with the already prepared crème caramel and allow to stew for three hours.

The series recipe says stew for 3 hours but the tomatoes will most likely fall apart. And you don’t want to, instead stew for about 2 hours or until the tomatoes are tender yet firm. Then, constantly baste them with the créme caramel while they stew.

  1. While the stuffed tomates are stewing, make your pomegranate reduction. First, rip apart the rind of the pomegranates and soak them in a large bowl of water. This will make the seeds come out nicely, this is a fast and cleaner way if extracting the pomegranate seeds.
  2. Blend the seeds and sieve the blended mixture to get the juice. Pour the juice in a sauce pan and your quarter cup of white sugar and mix.
  3. Serve the pomegranate reduction on to a bowl and add your stuffed tomatoes.

Simple, huh? Yeah, I know.

There are many versions of this dessert available. But the one thing in common is that it is stuffed tomatoes stewed in crème caramel. Another version of this famous tomate confit is served with orange syrup, instead of créme caramel or pomegranate reduction. This version is flavored with vanilla, now, that is a winner.

One more interesting version incorporates a pinch of cardamom and peach sauce. The fruits which include peach are chopped and then grilled for a few minutes. The peach sauce which is a puree mixture is used as a topping on your tomate du saltambique.

And that’s all there is to tomate du saltambique, thanks to everyone who made this dessert available for our eating pleasure. Tomatoes for dessert is possible, this is definitely worth having more tomatoes in your refrigerator for.

Willing to let the tomate confit farcie aux douze saveurs in on more fame? If that is a yes, then why not consider making this for your Christmas family dinner dessert or for New year’s or for any other special occasion.

Thrill your dinner guests with tomate du saltambique and do not forget to watch their expression when you tell them that you made them tomatoes for dessert. Epic!

Tags: , ,

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

Leave a comment