Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Apple Tarte Tatin

One of my favourite all time desserts is the French classic Tarte Tatin. I love the story how it came about too. Apparently Stephanie Tatin, one half of the Tatin sisters who ran the Tatin hotel made a culinary faux pas one day in the kitchen when she burnt the caramelized apples in the pan. To literally cover up her mistake, she placed the pastry over the top and put the pie in the oven. After turning the dish over and presenting to her guests to much acclaim, a classic was born.

There are lots of variations about today whereby chefs add all sorts of booze, spices etc. I tend to lean towards the standard recipe, however the dish works very well with pears, apricots and I've even had an endive one served with duck in the excellent Foliage restaurant before Heston Blumenthal took over! One tip, buy a proper tarte tatin dish. You can get them online for about £12 and you cook the whole dish in it. I also use shop bought pastry (shock, horror) for convenience.

Ingredients - Sheet of puff pastry, 150g caster sugar, 25g butter, 6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and quartered, Cinnamon bark

1. Heat oven to 200 / gas mark 6.
2. Roll out pastry and using dish as a guide, cut out a circle that is slightly wider.
3. Put the sugar into the dish and heat gently. Do not stir. Once it has turned brown, remove from heat and stir in the butter and some finely grated cinnamon.
4. Carefully line the dish with the apple quarters, so that they interlock into a pattern.
5. Cover the apples with the pastry and tuck the edges down the side of the dish.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and brown.
7. Invert the tart onto a plate. Take care as the caramel will be very hot
8. Serve with either cream or vanilla ice cream

The smell and the taste is so evocative of France. It also exemplifies the fact that some of the best dishes are the simple ones. This recipe will serve 6 people, so works well for a dinner party. Bon appetit

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