This soup is very good and makes me feel all French inside. You will need to adjust the amount of cream to suit your taste buds. When adding salt to impart a nice flavor, add it gradually. It's easy to go from too little to too much.
Also, give yourself plenty of time for the pastry lids. Your hard work and attention to detail will be rewarded.
Creamy Tomato Soup en Croute
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter unsalted plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 lb. Yellow onion,diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 cup water (use only if tomatoes are not ripe and juicy)
2 cups heavy cream (use more or less per your preference)
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 Puff sheet
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
1. Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat.
2. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on low. Do not let the onions brown.
3. Add tomato paste and lightly “toast” to cook out the raw flavor, then add tomatoes and water if needed. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes and onions are very soft.
4. Puree in a blender in batches or use a handheld immersion blender until finished, then strain in a wide mesh strainer..
5. Return the soup to the pot. Add the cream, salt, white pepper and remaining butter to taste. Bring soup to a simmer the remove from heat.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
7. As the soup is simmering, roll out the puff pastry to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds slightly larger than your 6 oz. ramekins.
8. Fill ramekins with lentils and cover with foil. Spray foil with Pam.
9. Place pastry on top of foil and pull down slightly over the edge. Bake the rounds on a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes until the dough is golden brown.
10. Take off the lids, peel off the foil, empty the lentils. Ladle soup into the ramekins and place puff pastry lid back on top. Serve immediately.
When salting to taste, I added about one tablespoon. You can also adjust the amount of cream to suit your palate. Be sure to add the white pepper gradually. If you add more than you like, it can be rather overpowering.
Check on the ramekins from time to time when the pastry is baking. If the pastry has not been pulled down far enough over the edge of the ramekin, it may puff up. If this happens, pierce the pastry with a knife and flatten.