Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Tarte Tatin

For New Year, we had T's brother, and 2 of their cousins staying in the flat. We had tickets for the outdoor concert in Princes Street Gardens, and the temperature was forecast to be -5C that night. With a few extra mouths to feed, and a warming meal needed, I decided to make a roast dinner followed by tarte tatin.

I attempted a tarte tatin last summer. It didn't go well. The pastry was undercooked and underwhelming, and the caramel wasn't sticky enough. I was determined that this one would be better, and decided to go with trusty old Leiths' recipe.

The first thing I noticed is that the pastry wasn't puff, or even ordinary shortcrust. It had rice flour as well as wheat flour. The pastry came together quite easily, who needs a food processor when you have a pastry blender? I rolled it in to a large disc between two sheets of baking paper.

Tarte Tatin

While the pastry was resting in the fridge, I chopped two cooking apples, and melted sugar and butter together in a frying pan. Leiths said to add lemon zest, but I decided a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg would be a bit more seasonal and warming. I layered the apple slices around the pan, and tried my best to make them look neat and even, but the in the end my presentation efforts were thwarted by my short attention span, and unwillingness to dip my fingers in boiling caramel.

Once the caramel had cooled slightly, I put the pastry lid on, and left it in the fridge until we'd finished our roast dinner. Once it went in the oven, the smell of the apples and caramel, with a hint of the spices, was wafting around the flat. It smelt great, but would the pastry be cooked? Would the caramel be ok, and would the cooking apples still be sour?

Mmmmm, leftover tart...

When it came time to turn the tart out on to a plate, it was obvious the pastry was cooked. The apples looked soft and sweet, and the caramel looked dark and glossy - success! Except, the very caramel in the centre of the tart was a little burnt. So not quite perfect, but near enough.

It was delicious served warm with a scoop of natural ice cream (plain cream flavour, no vanilla. I bought it by accident once and am now converted.) The spices warmed it up even more, and the caramel was almost right (apart from the burnt bit). The apples were soft, but still retained their shape and a bit of crispiness. We got through most of it that night, but I've been enjoying the leftovers reheated with ice cream. Or on their own.


Chele said...

Full credit to you for making a Tarte Tatin - I've never had the courage. It looks fantastic. Very lucky guests ;0)

Nora said...

Yum, I LOVE tarte tatin. Cinnamon sounds like a great addition (though I'm not much of a fan of nutmeg...). Interesting that you burnt your caramel - I always go the other way and don't get it quite caramelised enough. I suppose we'll both get the hang of it one day!
And Chele, you should totally make it - it's not that scary.

Jenny said...

Definitely give it a go Chele, it's not as hard as it looks! Caramel and me do not get on - it never seems to go right for me!

Nora said...

Jenny, I have given you a little award - check out my blog! :D

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I LOVE tarte tatins...though I use store bought puff pastry. Sorry about the burnt caramel