Sunday, 10 May 2015

Tarte Tatin the easy way – made in minutes, gone in a flash

Tarte Tatin My family loves this simple upside down apple tart.  This recipe has evolved over time from Delia’s Caramelised Apple Flan into a delicious dessert that is very quick to make using bought pastry.  Be warned, you’re advised to make a big one as no matter the number, it will disappear.  Two, preferably.

There are lots of slightly scary recipes for this dessert, ignore them.  With the right ingredients and the right accoutrements you’ll have this one perfect in no time.  And don’t be afraid of the caramel, just don’t leave it, make sure you have good oven gloves and your arms are covered, and have a pan or sink of cold water standing by to stop it over cooking.

You will need:
A pack of ready rolled puff pastry – defrosted
Butter for greasing the flan dish
8 large Braeburn apples
Ground cinnamon
Soft dark brown sugar
Granulated sugar

A small stainless steel pan (not lined with non-stick coating or copper or you won’t be able to tell when your caramel is ready.
A large flan dish
Baking paper
Apple corer, peeler and slicer – a brilliant little gadget I’ve had for years – of course you can do it all by hand but this makes the main work of making this so much easier…..

Heat the oven to around 350 or if you’re using an Aga put the tray on the floor of the roasting oven.

Butter the base of your flan dish, put a layer of baking paper to fit and then butter again, sprinkle over with about half a teaspoon of cinnamon and  a tablespoon of soft dark brown sugar (this will depend on the size of your flan dish).

Apple corer and slicer Core, peel and slice your apples and arrange on top of the sugar and cinnamon.  You can create a perfect layer of rings if you want, and then a second layer of apples so they reach the top of the dish.

Place your ready rolled puff pastry on top so that it completely covers the dish and cut around the edges so there’s no overhang.  Place in the middle of the oven for around 40 minutes, and if you’re using an Aga turn it half way so it doesn’t go darker on the back.  The pastry should be a lovely deep golden brown.  Your apples will retain their shape and not go squishy as they do in some more traditional recipes where they are cooked first.

Once your tart is out of the oven let it cool down completely.  Then loosen it around the edges of the pastry to stop them sticking to the top of the flan dish.  Put a large round dish or plate on top of the flan dish and turn it upside down.  Do this over the sink so that if you have any unabsorbed juices they don’t go on the floor…..Then remove the flan dish and top layer of paper.

My family love this dish with a layer of caramel on top which goes slightly crunchy and complements the apples.  Put a layer of granulated sugar in your stainless steel small pan (about 3/4 inch) and add a small amount of water if you want to.  The put over a low heat and keep a firm eye on it.  You will see the sugar gradually dissolve and turn brown.  It will take a little longer if you have added water.  Try not to stir your sugar as you can end up with granules.

As soon as it has dissolved properly and turned a lovely deep golden brown, and you can see by tilting the pan that it can be poured, use an oven glove and immediately put the base of the pan into your sink or pan of cold water to stop it cooking.  Just the base.  It will sizzle but don’t worry.  Immediately remove it, wipe the base dry and drizzle over your tart.  Because the tart is cold the caramel will set very quickly. 

This will sit happily on the side for an hour or so.  Leave it too long and it’ll either be pinched by someone or the caramel will dissolve into the apples.