Saturday, 1 December 2012
Tarte tatin, without question the simplest, yet most impressive, dessert I have every made. Even easier than an apple crumble, but with a bit of added showmanship in the form of plate-flipping. How glad I was that I hadn't thrown away the packaging for my lovely glossy red Emile Henry tarte tatin dish, gifted to me by my brother and sister-in-law, when we had the whole family over for lunch a few weeks ago. For printed on the back was a recipe for said dessert courtesy of Monsieur Raymond Blanc himself. The most complex techniques required were melting butter and peeling apples. It was that easy. So I'm sharing, partly because it's nice to share, but also partly because I envisage making this dessert many more times, and if I write down the recipe here then it won't matter if I lose the packaging at a later date (very likely).
Ingredients (to fill a 30cm dish):
About 9 apples - (the recipe suggests Braeburn) peeled, cored and quartered
150g Caster sugar
80g Unsalted butter (cubed)
40g Unsalted butter (melted)
400g puff pastry (I used all-butter puff pastry, Raymond didn't say I needed to make my own, thank goodness!) rolled out into a disc large enough to lay over your dish and tuck in slightly around the sides.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Melt the cubed butter and caster sugar in an oven proof dish on the hob to make a caramel.*
Arrange the apple quarters with the outside edge down in the caramel, packing them in quite tightly, then once you've filled the whole of the dish, continue to fill in the middle part.
Press down the apples and brush with melted butter.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins.
Remove the dish from the oven, place the pastry disc on top and tuck it in around the edge of the apples.
Prick a few holes into the pastry so that the steam can escape.
Bake in the oven for 40-45 mins until the pastry is risen, golden and crisp.
Allow to cool for around an hour before calling all your family into the kitchen and doing the show-stopping flip of the dish onto a plate to serve your glossy apple tarte tatin.
It was genuinely quite exciting doing the reveal - to the point where my brother (iphoneographer) and sister (appointed food stylist and owner of the pair of hands holding the dish in this photo) were debating quite heatedly at one point where to place the tarte for best photographic effect. And the whole thing was speedily demolished by adults and children alike. Even my littlest who normally loathes apple tarts and crumbles due to the tartness of the cooked apples. An inch-thick smothering layer of caramel would doubtless persuade her to eat almost anything.
I'm a sucker for any apple-based dessert, and this knocks sports off my usual endeavours. I'm also a fan of recipes which require minimum effort and technical skill. Have you got any favourites to share?
*this is the only place where you let me down, Monsieur Blanc, as you didn't tell me whether to stir or not and I had vague memories of not stirring sugar when making a caramel lest it crystallise from Masterchef or Great British Bake Off or some such programme. I did, however, stir, as I am an impatient cook. and it seemed to work.