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Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to cook perfect tarte tatin.


Toffee apples for grown-ups, the tarte tatin is all about the flavour of the fruit – crisp pastry, firm, juicy apples and that sweet, buttery caramel topping, holding the whole lot together. We may grow the best varieties, but the French really know what to do with them.

Serves 6

7 medium apples: 4 Cox, 3 Granny Smith
200g white sugar
50g butter
175g ready-made shortcrust pastry OR
225g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
120g cold butter
1 medium egg, beaten

1. Peel, halve and core the apples, then put in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.

2. Put the sugar into a 20cm heavy-based ovenproof frying pan along with 50ml water and leave to soak for a couple of minutes, then cook over a medium heat until golden and fudgy. Take off the heat and stir in the butter, and a pinch of salt, until well combined, then carefully arrange the apples in the pan, round-side down, bearing in mind the caramel will be very hot, and put back on the heat – you may need to cut some of the apples into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Cook for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool completely.

3. If making the pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Grate in the butter, then rub together until it is coarse crumbs.

4. Mix the egg with 2 tsp cold water and sprinkle over the mixture. Mix together into a soft but not sticky dough, adding more water (if required) very gradually. Shape into a ball, and then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry (you'll probably have some left over if you've made your own) to 5mm thick, and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan. Put back into the fridge to rest.

6. Put the pastry on top of the pan and tuck in the edges around the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate, slightly larger than the pan, on top and then, very carefully, using oven gloves, invert the tart on to the plate. Best served warm, with crème fraîche.

Is tarte tatin the queen of apple-based desserts, or do you prefer a strudel, a crumble, a Charlotte, or even a good old-fashioned apple pie? What kind of pastry do you use, and how far do you go down the route of caramelisation?

How to cook perfect tarte tatin | Life and style | The Guardian: "Perfect tarte tatin"
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