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Tarte Tatin

Everyone has their own recipe for Tarte Tatin – this one is ours.

For the longest time, I avoided making this dish because I didn’t have a cast iron Tarte Tatin dish which could go straight from the hob into the oven.  It wasn’t until I read Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking that I realised I was being daft.  We now do as she suggests and cook the apples (her recipe is for pears) in a large non-stick frypan until golden, and then tip them into a pyrex pie plate, which lets us check on the apples as they bake.

It’s worth mentioning that the first stage of this recipe, which involves caramelising the apples, requires a measure of patience.  I have none, and I’m a bit of a nervous Nelly about things burning, so I never manage to get the fruit really golden and brown before baking.  Pete, on the other hand, is both brave and patient, so he always handles this part of the process.

A traditional Tarte Tatin uses a Pâte Brisée or flaky pastry, but we like it best with June’s sweet shortcrust pastry.  Partly because there’s always some in the freezer!

Tarte Tatin
(an original Fig Jam and Lime Cordial recipe)

1.   Preheat oven to 220C (425F) of 200C (400F) with fan.

2. In a large and heavy, preferably non-stick pan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted.  Stir in the sugar.  Now add the apple chunks, and stir occasionally to stop them from sticking.  Continue to cook, stirring gently and moving the pieces around often to ensure they don’t burn.  The fruit will get very brown and quite soft – this can take half an hour or more.

3. Tip the well caramelised apple pieces and any remaining syrup into a pyrex pie dish or other suitable container.  The pyrex doesn’t need to be greased first, although I’m not sure about other dishes.

4. Between two sheets of parchment, roll out the pastry dough until it is slightly larger than the top of the pie dish.  Peel off the top sheet, and invert the dough onto the top of the apples, then remove the bottom parchment.  Now carefully tuck the edges of the pastry in around the apples.

5. Bake the tart until the apples are bubbling and the pastry is a dark golden brown, between 30 – 40 minutes.  The actual baking time takes a bit of judgment – I was sure the tart was burnt, but Pete was insistent that it was ok – and it was!

6. When the tart is ready, remove it from the oven and immediately (and carefully) invert it onto a heatproof serving plate.  Any stuck apple pieces should fall slowly onto the tart – a gentle tap on the outside of the dish can help.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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