Fruit tomato compote: A celebration of 3 flavors

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fruit tomato compote

Fruit tomato compote is a dessert in which East meets West. In-season fruit tomatoes simmered in sugar are beautifully combined with sweet white bean paste, passion fruit, tofu and mascarpone in layers inside a glass container. Takamitsu Aihara, who teaches Japanese cooking, here shares his recipe for this summer treat.

Incidentally, the pairing of the red tomato and the white mascarpone creates a color scheme similar to that of the base of an iris, a feature of early summer. This delicate color in the iris was much loved by people in the past and is a traditional color for kimonos.

“I like tomatoes so much. We must make the most of their round, cute look,” Aihara said.

The tomatoes are accompanied by ingredients that provide three distinct flavors, which Aihara has chosen based on his own professional experience.

“As tomatoes have a strong presence, they go well with the unique flavor of passion fruit,” Aihara said. “Passion fruit can effectively enhance a tomato’s sweet and sour tastes, as well as its umami.”

Water and kudzu starch are used to thicken a sauce of passion fruit and sweet white bean paste. It is important to measure the weight of the water and kudzu starch precisely in grams, Aihara said.

The silken tofu, which is well suited to mascarpone due to its simple taste, is used for cream.

“We must keep the aroma and umami of the soybeans [from which the tofu is made] as much as possible. Some people use a microwave to remove the water from the tofu. But this should be avoided, as you can cause it to lose its aroma,” Aihara said.

“[The finished layers] look like the surface of water reflecting sunlight. Hopefully it makes for a refreshing sight,” Aihara said.

I found the stewed tomato had just the right amount of sourness and rawness to it. The sweet white bean paste and the bitter passion fruit gave depth to its flavor, which was further enhanced by the faint aroma of soybeans.

The balance of sour and sweet flavors is very enjoyable.

Fruit tomato compote

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 fruit tomatoes (80-85 grams each)
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 65 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 grams sheet gelatin
  • 2 passion fruit
  • 60 grams sweet white bean paste
  • 5 grams kudzu starch, 8 grams water
  • 150 grams silken tofu
  • 30 grams mascarpone
  • Salt
  • Directions:

1. Boil the whole fruit tomatoes and peel the skins. Add 300 milliliters of water, white wine, 60 grams of granulated sugar and lemon juice to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add tomatoes. When it begins to boil, turn off the heat and let it cool.

2. Set aside 300 milliliters of the broth prepared above in another saucepan. Heat until it just starts to steam. Turn off the heat, add gelatin that has been soaked in a small amount of cold water to return it to its natural form and mix. Cool to make a somewhat thin jelly solution.

3. Cut passion fruit in half and put the flesh in a separate pan. Add 100 milliliters of water and sweet white bean paste and mix. Heat over medium heat. Add water with kudzu starch and mix to thicken. Remove from heat when it comes to a boil. Cool on cold water.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Water with kudzu starch is added to a mixture of passion fruit flesh and sweet white bean paste, left, and tofu is drained with paper towels and a weight.

4. Slice the silken tofu in two lengthwise. Wrap the tofu in paper towels, place a weight such as a flat plate on it and let rest for a while. Add the drained tofu, mascarpone, the remaining 5 grams of granulated sugar and a pinch of salt to a food processor and blend to make a smooth mixture.

5. Spread the white bean paste mixture on the bottom of a container, put a tomato atop it, pour over the jelly solution and top with cream.

A pleasant side dish

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fruit tomato salad using summer vegetables and steamed bonito

Aihara also shared a recipe for fruit tomato salad using summer vegetables and steamed bonito dressed with miso and sesame paste.

Boil one fruit tomato and then peel and cut it into eight equally sized pieces. Lightly drizzle sake and sprinkle salt over 50 grams of raw bonito, then steam the fish and cut it into bite-size pieces. Mix together 30 grams of white miso, 15 grams of white sesame paste, 1 tablespoon of dashi stock, 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of Japanese mustard. Use the paste to dress the fruit tomato, the bonito and summer vegetables such as okra. Add sliced myoga ginger. This can be a nice side dish or a small dish to serve with drinks.