Bonjour à tous!
Ça fait trop longtemps (it’s been too long!)
I have been busy finishing uni (yay!) and planning a very exciting trip to Europe in September. I’ll be flying to Paris for a week of delicious food and wine, before heading to Greece. Mais ne vous inquiétez pas, I’ll be sure to report back with photos of everything I eat while en France.
To make up for my absence I have a jam-packed post for you. Today, we’re talking tarte tatin – upside down tart for the uninitiated.
Trusty wiki claims that the tarte tatin was developed in the 1800’s about 100km south of Paris at the Hotel Tatin. One of the owners, Stephanie Tatin, was so run off her feet in the kitchen while making an apple pie that she forgot about leaving her apples, butter and sugar cooking on the stove. In a desperate attempt to save the tart, Stephanie quickly put the pastry on top of the apple mixture and baked it in the oven. After turning it out, Stephanie found the hotel guests were surprisingly impressed with the caramelised apple tart. And the tarte tatin was born.
While the apple tarte tatin is most common, many cooks have created their own (savoury and sweet) versions.
I’ll show you a traditional and more modern version of the tart. You really can’t go wrong with this one so feel free to combine your favourite ingredients for the topping. Les fabuleuses tartes (the fabulous tarts) are sophisticated yet deceptively easy to make, making them perfect for your next dinner party. You could even have a French theme and cook one for dinner and dessert like I did here. Pourquoi pas?
For the sake of simplicity, I have used frozen puff pastry in both recipes below, but absolutely feel free to make your own if you have the time! The use of red and green apples makes for an interesting mix of sweet and slightly sour in the traditional tarte tatin.
Tarte tatin au potiron et aux oignons caramélisés (Pumpkin and caramelised onion upside-down tart):
Cooking time: 20 mins to prep + about 1 hour 40 to bake
-1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into 2.5cm wedges
-1 medium red onion, diced
-Garlic head, cloves separated and unpeeled
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-2-3 sheets puff pastry, thawed
-Thyme, to serve
-Salad leaves, to serve
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease and line a tray with baking paper. Place pumpkin, onion and garlic cloves on tray and coat with good olive oil. Season well, then roast for about an hour or until tender. Leave aside to cool.
Cook balsamic vinegar and sugar on low heat for about five minutes until sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a cake pan. It’s best to use a round cake pan, but if you don’t have one (like I didn’t on the day), a square or rectangle pan will be fine.
Arrange the pumpkin and onion over base. Remove skin from garlic cloves and arrange over vegetables.
Turn oven up to 220 degrees celsius. Cut pastry into triangles (for a round dish) or rectangles (for square/rectangle dish) and arrange pastry over vegetables. Fold back any excess pastry and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Leave to sit for several minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Sprinkle with thyme and remaining pan juices, then serve with salad greens.
Now for something a little sweeter…
Tarte tarin aux pommes (apple upside-down tart):
Cooking time: 20 to prep + about 25 to bake
-50g quality unsalted butter
-2 medium green apples
-2 medium red apples
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 Tbs cold water
-1-2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
-Cream or ice-cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Grease and line a round cake pan.
Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add apple and cook for several minutes until golden. Add sugar and water then cook for 2 minutes or so until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for several minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Arrange apple in prepared pan and spoon over the caramel. Cut pastry into triangles and arrange over apple mixture, forming 2 layers of pastry. Tuck pastry in at edge, then bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes, then turn onto plate. Serve with cream or ice-cream.
I hope you enjoy this tarte tatin feast!
P.S Happy Valentines to those who celebrate! What did you cook/bake for your lucky person on the weekend?