Tuesday 15 April 2014

The simple things…. Apple Tarte Tatin.

They say the simple things in life are always the best. How true!

The french are renown for their simple style of cooking that uses seasonal produce and simple ingredients, and yet once complete, it becomes a culinery masterpiece. They are also renown for their love of butter and not skimping on fats and sugars. Everything in moderation- love this thought!

Last Friday night, I had a craving for something sweet but didnt have the energy nor a full pantry to bake a fancypants dessert.  It was coming onto dinnertime and we had 'zoo hours' to contend with. Desserts are a treat in our house (believe it or not….we actually dont eat it daily despite what you might see on this blog!). Because of a very wet week, a few days away and incredibly tired people (both big and small), tonight was about getting the kids to bed early and  flopping on to the couch with something warm and sweet to indulge in and totally relaxing.

So with keeping in mind our limited food supply and options, what time of night it was and my yearning for something sweet and delicious, my eyes roamed the kitchen desperately seeking some inspiration. Thankfully, there in front of me was a bowl of apples. I couldnt be bothered baking a cake nor making pastry. Then I was hit by a bolt of lightning- Apple tart tatin.

Something I haven't cooked in ages and yet ticked all the boxes….Simple ingredients- apples, butter, sugar and frozen pastry and super quick to make…..Bam! Night sorted.

Simple really is best - Don't you just love the french x

Apple Tarte Tatin

1-2 frozen sheets Puffed pastry
75g sugar
150g butter
4-5 apples- I used Red delicious instead of the traditional Granny Smiths
1 egg- for eggwash

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius.

Pull out pastry sheets from freezer and let thaw on bench.

Peel and core apples then cut into halves or quarters- your choice!

Heat an ovenproof frypan (about 22 cm in diameter), add butter and melt. Add sugar and stir for 5-10 minutes. Keep stirring and watching this mix so it doesnt catch and burn. I find this process is broken into three phases- so dont give up because you think it isnt working. It will if you just keep stirring and watching the pan. First phase- the butter and sugar mix looks pale, thick and when you stir it, it has a similar consistency to when you make a roux. Next phase, the mix becomes even lighter and starts to foam a bit. Again, keep stirring and just check the stove top isn't too hot- adjust if needed. Within a few minutes this foamy mix will start to darken and melt into a caramel. When it turns a fudge colour, add your apple pieces and toss each one in the caramel until all have been added and pan is full. Cook on a low heat for another few minutes. As you add the apples you may notice some of the caramel becomes toffee. This will melt down once apples warm through- its just the caramel reacting with cold/room temperature fruit. The juices from the apples will release and stop the caramel from cooking further.

Take pan off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Gently place the pastry over the top and tuck the sides into the pan so that it encases the apples completely.

Brush pastry with some egg wash then place into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until pastry has risen and is golden brown.

Best served straight from the oven, with cream, ice cream or our favourite…custard.

Note- I left my caramel to long in pan before adding apples and so the colour of my tarte tatin is slightly darker then it should be. Ideally aim for a dark golden colour. 

You can also substitute any other fruit you might instead of apples…try pears, bananas (yum- a cheats banoffee pie!), rhubarb, quince….whatever you have in the bowl! My only tip would be not to use fruit that is too over ripe as they will lose shape when cooking and break down as if stewing. The whole visual impact of the tarte tatin is to see the whole pieces of fruit.

Making the caramel is the most labour intensive part of this dish- it actually sounds more demanding then it really is. For the novice caramel maker, its a bit like driving somewhere for the first time- it seems to take a while. But once youve made the trip and know what to look out for along the way- each trip after that is a breeze. Dont be put off- its really not tricky or time consuming at all. And so incredibly worth it!

1 comment:

  1. wow. this just looks SO delicious. i love love love french food... can't wait to try it. i know my kids will love this one! thanks for posting the recipe. pretty photos, too :)


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