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Tarte Tatin

Oct 1, 2012

Pear and Apple Tarte Tatin

When I saw the October issue of Delicious with the scrumptious Pear Tarte Tatin cover, I figured it was about time I brought my own Tarte Tatin post I had been dragging since the last apple season, into daylight. 

Although at first sight the making of it seemed easy and practical, I found out it wasn't. I had to try different methods to obtain the Tarte Tatin of my dreams, with perfectly cooked apples inside a thick caramel burnt just right, topped with sticky and crunchy puff pastry. Unlike my expectations, from cooking the caramel to the right degree, to flipping the tart in the end, the recipe was a relatively demanding one. But after the third baking, my hands got more skillful and it eventually became one of those desserts I bake with confidence. 

Tart Tatin

When it comes to my cooking capabilities I get quiet delusional; it must be no secret by now. I don't recall at what point I was convinced that I could make puff pastry from scratch but the last thing I remember I was confidently following the instructions from Pierre Hermes' Larousse des Desserts. During one of the six foldings, each of which entails removing the dough from the fridge every two hours, flattening and enlarging it with a roller pin and folding it into three after turning it 45 degrees counter clockwise, I must have mistakenly turned the dough to the wrong direction. In the end, I failed badly; the pastry didn't puff at all. In fact, it was as flat and firm as my cutting board. Lesson learned, let me advise you not to attempt to make puff pastry at home unless you are Jamie Oliver. Oh wait, don't attempt it even if you are because I heard you saying on this video that even you can't make puff pastry, remember? 

Dilim Tarte Tatin

Another tricky part was figuring out how to incorporate apples into the tart: cooked or uncooked. I tried the lazier, uncooked option first, however apples and pears got watery, thinned out the caramel and ruined the crunchiness of the pastry. I tried using drier Granny Smiths but they didn't make much difference either. I benefited from the Guardian's Felicity Cloake's article where, in her search for the perfect Tarte Tatin, she shares the outcomes of different versions and techniques from the recipes of major chefs. I took her advice on using Gordon Ramsay's tip of drying out apples by leaving them peeled and uncovered in the fridge for a night. Cloake says it worked for her but for me it was another vast failure which brought me to the verge of a break-down. Before I did anything stupid I read her conclusion where she recommends adding apples after cooking the caramel, for a sticky toffee-like consistency. The result was successful enough and that's how I came back to sanity.

After one of the most comprehensive researches I've ever made for a single recipe, followed by four attempts whose mediocre outcomes were still delicious, I was finally united with my version of perfect Tarte Tatin. And here it is:  

Tarte TatinBefore and After

Tarte Tatin

serves 4

    Kitchenware required:

    • 22-25 cm, round ovenproof dish

    Ingredients:

    • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
    • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) water
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon orange zest
    • 25 g (2 tablespoons) butter, cubed
    • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored<
    • 3 sheets of store bought pastry dough, softened at room temperature

    Directions:

    1. Halve the apples and cut each into 6 slices.
    2. Add sugar and water into the pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until sugar caramelizes. Caramel should be dark brown, almost burnt. Remember that caramel will not cook any further in the oven. Remove pan from heat and add butter. Shake the pan in gentle, circular movements to allow butter to melt.
    3. Add cinnamon and orange rind. Then, cautiously arrange apples inside the pan. Cook them with over high heat for 8-10 minutes. Midway through, carefully flip them.
    4. Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.
    5. Join the the edges of pastry sheets on a dusted surface. Dust the sheets with flour and gently smooth the combined edges with a rolling pin to obtain one piece of pastry. Cut out the corners to obtain a round shape slightly bigger than the dish you will be using.
    6. Transfer cooked apples with caramel into the oven dish. Cover the surface with the pastry. Tuck the edges in. Pierce couple of holes on the pastry with a fork.
    7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
    8. Wear oven gloves. Place the dish on a heatproof cutting board. Cover it with a plate bigger than the pan. Carefully slide the dish onto your other hand. Holding it firmly between your hands, flip swiftly. Do this on the counter to avoid dripping of caramel on your body. Serve with warm with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream.

Mini Photonovel 

BıdıkBıdık, yearning to reach for leftovers of dough to rip and spread them all over the apartment, is startled with my warning...

Bıdık... eventually  gets what she wants. As always.

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