the tarte tatin that did not get away.

As a Sunday ought to be, I am feeling lazy today. I am entitled to, damn it. Even when you do something that you love one has times that a bucket of ice-cream and the new series of “Madam Secretary” is far more interesting. When I’ve worked for others, despite having to work for a couple of weekends in a row for a specific project, weekends were sacred. They were mine and my family’s and friends’. Now I am working for myself. I am my boss. And I am a pain in the ass boss. So I need to work. It was hard doing so today as the smell of my tarte tatin is invading my nostrils making my hands want to reach a spoon and not the laptop keys. But as the first sentence starts to flow, I can feel free in the middle of crazy and my mind gets an escape from all the sh*t that is happening up there.

Enough of jibba jabba (I wish a punch could solve everything as it did with Mr. T from the “A-Team”; speaking about the best TV-shows of all time, what the hell is going on with MacGyver’s remake series; don’t retouch or redo something that cannot be redone; don’t ruin my childhood memories, please) and let’s move on into our tarte tatin. Again, we have followed the advice of the Guardian’s “How To Cook The Perfect..” columnist, Felicity Cloake. We diverge on the type of pastry used and on the choice of accompaniment. We opt for the puff pastry option (versus the short crust one) as for us tarte is a synonym of golden crunchiness and utter mess when eating it. And the melting ice-cream is an essential pairing.

The buzzer is calling me so it’s time. Need to take the tarte out of the oven, the ice-cream out of the freezer and my ass out of the sofa. But before filling the kitchen floor with crumbs, just a few tips on the below recipe:

  • We use a frying pan to do the tarte; easy, peasy and it saves up on the washing
  • We have done step 1, peeling and leaving the apples in the fridge 24 hours before, but, honestly, it is not worth the effort (and the wait)
  • The caramel is a test to my patience. Do not touch the caramel. Leave it be and stir it a bit only when it starts to get golden (go on, I know you are dying to do it)
  • Always cut an extra apple to cover the holes left by the apple halves when covering the cooling caramel
  • After covering the caramel with the apples halves and when returning it to the heat let it boil again for the caramel to liquefy again and cover the apples all around

// Felicity Cloake’s “How to make the perfect Tarte Tatin

7 medium apples: 4 Cox, 3 Granny Smith
200g white sugar
50g butter
175g ready-made shortcrust pastry OR
225g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
120g cold butter
1 medium egg, beaten

1. Peel, halve and core the apples, then put in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.

2. Put the sugar into a 20cm heavy-based ovenproof frying pan along with 50ml water and leave to soak for a couple of minutes, then cook over a medium heat until golden and fudgy. Take off the heat and stir in the butter, and a pinch of salt, until well combined, then carefully arrange the apples in the pan, round-side down, bearing in mind the caramel will be very hot, and put back on the heat – you may need to cut some of the apples into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Cook for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool completely.

3. If making the pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Grate in the butter, then rub together until it is coarse crumbs.

4. Mix the egg with 2 tsp cold water and sprinkle over the mixture. Mix together into a soft but not sticky dough, adding more water (if required) very gradually. Shape into a ball, and then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry (you’ll probably have some left over if you’ve made your own) to 5mm thick, and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan. Put back into the fridge to rest.

6. Put the pastry on top of the pan and tuck in the edges around the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate, slightly larger than the pan, on top and then, very carefully, using oven gloves, invert the tart on to the plate. Best served warm, with crème fraîche. //

Have a great week. Enjoy. Ooh, la la! C’est très bon.

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