Firm, ripe, medium-sized vine tomatoes, calyx and stem intact
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pedro Ximénez sherry
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Cut a tiny cross in the base of each tomato and put 3 tomatoes at a time into the boiling water. Leave for 10 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon. Refresh in a bowl of very cold water. Carefully peel off the skin, taking care not to break off the stem. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes. If you try to blanch all the tomatoes at once, by the time you take them out of the boiling water, some will be too soft.
Preheat the oven to 110°C.
Lightly oil a baking dish or place a Teflon sheet on a baking tray. Using a soft pastry brush, brush each tomato, including the stems, with olive oil then sprinkle with caster sugar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange in the baking dish with 3 cm between each tomato.
Roast for 1 hour then spoon 1 teaspoon of sherry over each tomato and roast for a further 1 hour. Repeat once more with sherry then baste with the pan juices every 20 minutes for another 1 hour. Cooking time will be about 3 hours in total. As ovens vary, with some being hotter than others, it is better to lower the temperature and cook the tomatoes for longer, at a lower temperature, than risk them bursting and collapsing in an oven that’s too hot.
Leave to cool, gently moving the tomatoes with a palette knife to make sure they are not stuck on the bottom. The tomatoes are best served at room temperature the day they are cooked.
To serve: Carefully transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter, spoon over any pan juices or drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.