Tarte Tatin is a rather simple dessert, from France, that I love everything about, except I can't eat much of it. It is too rich, but I still seem to be in love with making it, eating a bit of it, then refusing to finish it. But perhaps your sweet teeth are more vigilant than mine.
The short history of Tarte Tatin is that it was a mistake. Two sisters, the Tatin sisters, ran a hotel. One of the sisters started making an apple pie but left the apples cooking in the butter and sugar too long. Rather than start over, she cleverly threw a sheet of puff pastry over the pan and put it in the oven to finish baking. She turned it out, upside-down, on a serving tray and all the guests loved it. And because of her bumbling incompetence/genius, we now have the world famous Tarte Tatin.
|Tarte Tatin, served with|
You can use any oven-proof shallow pan, I use a 24cm (9.5 in) carbon steel crepe pan. Let me sidetrack for a minute to gush about it. I LOVE my carbon steel crepe pan. You can see it some of the images below, it has a shallow lip and geometry that makes it easy to flip crepes with a spatula. It is a bit of work with the seasoning and special care to prevent corrosion, but the results are amazing. And it cost me only $25.
Warning! This recipe uses a caramel, made from boiling sugar and liquid. This is like really yummy napalm. Be very careful when handling napalm and caramel. Take your time, be safe, wear asbestos gloves if they are available. Just don't burn yourself, and make sure there are no kids running around the kitchen.
Today we will be making an Apple Tarte Tatin, but you can use other fruit, like pear, should you like. In the folly of youth (about four weeks ago) I made one with apple and prune. It was great!
|Very much! (How do you like |
Peel, core and quarter
4 or 5 medium size applesPreferably use two or three varieties, sweet and tart. All I had available were Pink Lady (sweet and tart) and Royal Gala (sweet).
In a shallow, oven-proof frypan (did I mention my excellent carbon steel crepe pan?) bring to the boil
100g (3oz) caster sugar
100ml (3 fl oz) brandy/Grand Marnier/Cognac/Calva
1t vanilla paste/essence
|The caramel won't thicken until the ghosts |
have been boiled out
Once the caramel is thick and the apples nearly cooked, dab
50g (2oz) butterin small chunks all around the apples in the pan.
|Sweet dreams little apples|
(note the lined baking tray underneath)
Before putting the pan with the tarte in the oven, I recommend putting the pan on a baking tray that is lined with baking paper. You don't want caramel spitting or dribbling onto the oven floor. It will turn to toffee and will be very difficult to remove. Go on, use a tray, no need to be a hero.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
To turn the tarte out, place the serving plate over the tarte that is still in the frypan. With once swift motion, over a sink, away from children and stray dwarfs, carefully flip the tarte onto the plate.
Serve with creme fraîche, mascarpone cheese, double cream or ice cream.
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