When I was writing my entertaining book, with all the different tablescapes and ideas for entertaining through the seasons, my editor Madge Baird suggested that we include some recipes. Just a few to illustrate how we like to live and eat by the season here in France.
Having grown up in a large family, then having raised our four children, it was easy to come up with a list of favorite dishes, that are more about traditional family food than fancy cuisine. The Tarte Tatin or upside down apple tart is the perfect example. This tart is baked in homes all over France. It is easy to prepare and totally delicious, the most important ingredient being the apples which must be full of flavour and able to hold their shape while cooking.
This recipe is for a 25cm or 10” tart, and it is the recipe included in the book accompanied by Franck Schmitt’s fantastic photos.
Before I give you the recipe, and on another note I apologise for the silence on the blog over the past week or so. All is well here, but on the technical front we have been battling with an unwelcome intruder which some of you have experienced in the form of pop-up windows and other spam links. We thank everyone who cared enough to tell us about the problem, and believe that it is now fixed. Hopefully you’ll be able to browse uninterrupted from now on!
This is what you will need for the tart:
½ cup, 100g or 3.5oz butter
¾ cup 100g or 3.5oz sugar
A batch of home made pastry, or if you prefer a pack of good quality puff or sweet pastry
To make this tart I use a heavy based frying pan that lost its handle many moons ago, which allows me to start cooking the fruit over the heat and then transfer it to the oven to bake the pastry.
Peel and core eight apples. Be sure to use a variety that has plenty of flavour but will also maintain a good shape during cooking. I speak from experience, the first tarte Tatin that I ever made, I used an apple that was ideal for purée but not for tarts and the final result was not at all presentable!
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan and swirl it around, add the sugar then carefully position the apple halves core side down. Turn up the heat and let the apples cook gently in the butter and sugar with little interference, remember you want to keep their shape intact. Just be sure to keep moving the pan around on the heat so that the butter and sugar caramelize equally in the pan without getting too dark. After about ten minutes on a medium heat, gently use a fork and a large spoon to flip the apple pieces, so that you now can see the centre of the apples.
Cook for another five minutes then turn off the heat. Roll out the pastry wide enough to cover the pan, and carefully lift and position over the fruit. Tuck the pastry into the edges of the pan like a blanket and cut off any excess.
Pop the tart into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little before laying a large plate on top of the pastry and gently turning the plate and the tart pan upside down. Set the plate on a table and ease the pan upwards; your fruit should remain in place on the pastry base, but if a piece of fruit remains stuck to the pan, simply slide it back into place with a knife.
Serve warm, with or without cream or ice cream. Bon appetit!
Recipe and photos from My French Country Home – Entertaining through the Seasons