Friday, 16 April 2010


“Youth is like spring, an over-praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” - Samuel Butler

Autumn has come bringing with it delectable fruits and vegetables. The new season apples are delicious at the moment as are juicy blackberries, bright pumpkins and persimmons, sweet plums and pears. I had an apple for lunch today and it was juicy, crisp and rich with a fruity aromatic smell. The inclination then came to me to have home made Tarte Tatin at the weekend. We have a good recipe and it will be just the thing for weekend breakfast!

Tarte Tatin
Ingredients – for the filling
    10 crisp eating apples
    Juice of 1 lemon
    150 g vanilla sugar
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/8 tsp ground cloves
    80g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the short-crust pastry
    180 g plain flour flour
    a pinch of salt
    90g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    2 and 1/2 tbsp ice-cold water
Fresh cream to serve with

1. First make the pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add pieces of the butter over the flour. Rub the butter in, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water, a little at a time, mixing thoroughly. If the dough is still crumbly after adding all the water, add a little more water. The moment the dough coheres into a single ball, stop the mixing. Wrap in cling film and put in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C

3. Peel the apples. Cut one in half, then cut one of the halves into two. Cut the other apples into quarters and remove all the cores. Put in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning.

4. Sprinkle the sugar into a large oven-proof round pan in a thin layer. Heat gently over low heat, watching it all the time, as some of it will brown before others. The sugar should melt to a dark brown liquid all over without burning. Remove from the heat and immediately scatter about one-third of the butter over the sugar. It will bubble instantly.

5. Place the half apple, cut side up, in the middle of the pan. Arrange a tightly packed wheel of quarters around it. Dot with the remaining butter. Sprinkle with the spices. Place over a gentle heat to start it cooking. Remove from the heat.

6. Roll out the pastry to a circle just bigger than the pan. Drape it loosely over a rolling pin and then place over the apples. Tuck the pastry down the sides of the pan to seal in the apples (take care you don’t touch the hot pan!).

7. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

8. Cover the pan with a serving plate and flip the tart over onto it. Rearrange any stray fruit. The fruit should look glossy and caramel brown. Serve with fresh cream on the side.

I am going to Brisbane for the day tomorrow as we have our graduation ceremony there. It will only be a day trip, but I am still a little put out by it.

Enjoy your weekend!

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