This soup is an ode to one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta, a quaint, neighborhood French bistro called Bread & Butterfly. That place is my home away from home, be it for a solitary breakfast in the mornings, lunch meetings with dear friends, or dinner with my boy. Their one dish that stands out for me is the tomato soup that Chef Billy Allin created. It’s perfect, especially on fall evenings.—Asha Gomez

Clove-Infused Tomato Soup with Puff Pastry Lids FAQs

Can I make this soup if I don’t have oven-proof ramekins?

If you can’t put your soup bowls in the oven, make the lids, bake them alone, and add them before serving, like our tester, Helen Doberstein, did. You can also lay the pastry on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush with egg wash, and cut each piece into 12 strips, slightly separating the strips. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until puffed, golden, and crisp. Voila, puff pastry straws!

Can I use anything instead of cloves in this tomato soup?

You can substitute in 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg for cloves—it’s the closest spice in aroma. Allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom are close. If you only have whole cloves, you can use those but just make sure to remove them (place them in a spice bag or tea ball) before puréeing.

Clove-infused tomato soup in a white bowl, topped with a flaky pastry lid, on a plate with a spoon.

Clove-Infused Tomato Soup with Puff Pastry Lids

5 from 1 vote
You will cook the soup on the stovetop, purée it, and then bake it in the oven cloaked in a layer of puff pastry. I can assure you that it's totally worth the effort. This soup will really wow your guests at a dinner party.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories502 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium (9 oz) onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Three (28 ounce) cans whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 (6-by-6inch | 15-by-15 cm) squares of frozen puff pastry (from 1 box)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons whole milk, for egg wash


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often until the onions are soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, cloves, red pepper flakes, salt, and honey. Simmer, stirring often, until thick and glossy, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to purée until smooth. Alternatively, carefully transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • Just before you’re ready to bake the soup, pour the soup into six oven-safe, single-serving crocks or bowls.
  • Cover each serving with a pastry square, making a tent that covers the entire top of the crock. Use a brush to apply the egg wash.
  • Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the pastry is flaky and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, but do warn your diners that the soup will be very hot.
I Cook in Color Cookbook

Adapted From

I Cook in Color

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 502 kcalCarbohydrates: 49 gProtein: 9 gFat: 32 gSaturated Fat: 14 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 68 mgSodium: 1415 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 17 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Asha Gomez. Photo © 2020 Evan Sung. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This clove-infused tomato soup recipe packs a punch of creamy and spicy clove-perfumed magic. It’s hot, and I mean hot, not just spicy hot.

Clove Infused Tomato Soup Puffy Lids-Ilda

I didn’t have oven-safe soup bowls. What I did have, were ramekins, a slightly larger diameter cookie cutter, and 30 minutes of simmering soup. That left me time for some whimsy. I cut out flower-shaped puff pastry rounds and marked the centre with a whole clove. The milk plus egg wash was perfect for the pastry. I would, however, recommend just egg for the rim of the bowl or ramekin prior to applying the puff pastry. A few of mine fell in the ramekin. This probably would not have happened with the squared puff pastry used in the recipe but just in case you also have time for a little “jazzing-up”.

The honey and clove flavour was definitely there but not in your face as you’d expect. Just enough to make it a special tomato soup. Butter and simmered tomatoes are always a beautiful match and the thickness of the soup can be adjusted with a little more chicken broth. I used 1/2 cup more and I would recommend this versus reducing the flour. The flour addition, in the beginning, provided a velvety and creamy consistency that warranted frequent stirring yet led to a rich and glossy finish. The immersion blender also assisted in the creamy glossiness of this soup and it also saved on cleanup. The adjustments are really about personal preference. My rendition was perfect for me and my family taste testers.

This humble clove-infused tomato soup with puff pastry lids is easy and delicious. But be forewarned this recipe makes a TON of soup as written.

The soup does come together very easily. My main hurdle was not having any oven-safe soup crocks. So after blending the soup, I rolled out 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry and cut out 3 circles to cover the bowls. I baked them at 400°F for 13 minutes on a baking sheet until golden and crisp. I placed the baked circles over the bowls of soup when serving.

I liked both versions of the soup. The cloves were a new spice for me to add to tomatoes and were a nice background note in the soup. The chile flakes added a note of heat and while not overwhelming I’d probably add a little less next time. As for my tasters, they were impressed with the soup saying that it was probably the best tomato soup they had ever had.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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