Melt butter in a large soup kettle over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and lightly toast the tomato paste to cook out the raw flavor. Add tomatoes and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
Puree the soup in a food processor. Return to soup kettle and add half & half, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a simmer and then remove from heat. Allow to cool for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Divide soup into six 8 ounce soup cups or bowls. Roll out puff pastry to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 6 rounds slightly larger then the soup cups. Paint the dough with egg wash and turn the circles, egg wash side down, over top of cups. Pull lightly on the sides to make dough tight like a drum; do not allow dough to touch the soup.
Lightly paint the top of the dough rounds with egg wash. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Do not open the oven in the first few minutes as the dough may fall. Serve immediately.