Cake Chat and more…
Cake Chat and more…
This is surely one of my winters favourite. The dish gets its name from the sisters Tatin (les soeurs Tatin) who were the first to make it. The story goes that on a very busy day in their restaurant, they had in mind to make an apple pie, but things went a bit wrong and they forgot the pastry, so they just decided to add it anyway and place it on the top of the apples, their customers just loved it and this is apparently how this famous Tarte was born. I love it, but I’m naughty because I use puff pastry instead of short crust pastry and a slight bit of cinnamon towards the end of the cooking.
One block of puff pastry or short crust pastry
6 to 8 golden delicious (depending on how big they are)
150g unsalted butter
300g golden caster sugar
A vanilla pod or vanilla paste
The juice of half a lemon
A touch of cinnamon (only if you like it, I love it)
For this recipe, you will need a 10″ dish that can go onto the hob.
Melt the butter in a pan on a very low heat and then add the sugar and place the apples on the top, add the lemon juice and the vanilla, live this to cook for at least 20 to 25 mns on a low heat, as you don’t want your sugar to burn or cristalise, this is an important process, if you get this right, your tatin will get nicely caramelised and not burnt, from time to time you can shake your pan so the apples don’t stick.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 220°C. After 25 minutes the sugar should reach a rich amber colour and, by that time, the apples should be soft but still retain their shape. When that has happened, remove the pan from the heat, sprinckle your apples with cinnamon at this point. Then, remove the pastry from the fridge, transfer it to a flat, lightly floured surface and roll it out to a circle slightly larger than your pan. Fit it over the top of the pan, allowing some to tuck down at the edge, it doesn’t have to be neat. Prick the pastry base all over with a fork so the steam is released when it’s cooking and the pastry doesn’t go soggy. Because I use puff pastry, I don’t bother with pricking, as the pie will be turned up side down once cooked.
Next, place the pan on the centre shelf of the oven and bake the tart for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. This is the technical bit!!! Take a plate larger than the pan and place it over the top. Then, using an oven glove, invert the pan on to the plate, giving it a little shake before you do. Serve the tart warm, with double cream or a lovely vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy with a glass of crisp cider or a mulled wine at this time of year!!!
Tarte aux Citrons Galets de Cilaos et aux fruits de la passion
I just had to cook with passion fruit, they are in season right now in Reunion. I also had to experiment with the lovely “citrons galets de Cilaos” (it literally means rock lemon). This type of lemon grows in the mountains of the island on a rich volcanic soil. It is much more fragrant than the lemons that we find in our supermarkets. So, if you want this lovely fragrance to come out in your tart, I suggest that you use lime instead.
1 sweet shortcrust pastry (to cover a 24 to 25cm tin)
4 eggs/3 lemons/ zest of 2 lemons/ 3 passion fruits/175g caster sugar/250ml double cream
Set your oven to 200°C. Butter and flour a 24/25cm tin and roll out your pastry. Cover the top of your pastry with baking paper and pour some rice or cooking beans over it and pre-cook your pastry for 10 mns, take out the baking paper and cook for another 10mns until slightly brown. Or, you can do it my way, once your pastry is in your tin, stick it in the freezer for an hour or more, until completely frozen, then put it in the oven straight away for 20/25mns.
Lower your oven temperature to 100°C. For the filling, mix the eggs with the sugar without whisking. Take the lemon zest and keep aside. Juice the lemons and pour it into your egg mixture. Slice the passion fruit in half and take out the pulp (please don’t even try to take out the pip, they make the taste and the lovely looking tart), mix it with your egg mixture then pour the double cream and add the zest. Finally pour the entire mixture into your tart tin and cook for 40mns to an hour depending on your oven. You need a slight wobble at the top.
Leave your tart to cool completely before putting it into your fridge for a good hour or two.
Enjoy with a lovely glass of Pink Champagne!
La Crême Brulée: a classic of French Patisserie…
I had to make a crême brulée with the lovely vanilla I bought from the cooperative. It is in fact a very easy recipe, here is the one I use all the time.
400 ml double cream/ 100ml milk/ 1 vanilla pod/100g light brown sugar/ 6 eggs yolks/ 2 to 3 tbs light brown sugar for the topping.
Pre-heat your oven to 100°C. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until light and creamy. Split your vanilla pod in half, with a knife take out the black seeds and mix them with the sugar and egg mixture and put the pod in the milk. Bring your milk and double cream to boiling point. Then slowly pour onto your egg mix whisking all the time (you can use a strainer at this point, I personnally don’t, the choice is yours).
Pour everything in your individual tins, this mix is enough for 4 to 6 pots.
Cook in a 100°C oven for 1 hour or put in a hot bain-marie and cook only for 35 mns. (it’s cooked when you have a slight wobble).
Once cooked, leave to cool and put in the fridge for at least three hours. Once completely cold sprinkle some light brown sugar on the top of your tins. You can either use a blow torch or the grill to caramelise the top.
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