11th July 2012
With the dog walk abandoned after 5 minutes due to very black sky and crashes of thunder and flashes of lightening, we returned very quickly to the house, and the only thing I could do now that the heavens had opened yet again was bake.
I had been shopping that morning and bought quite a few apples, only to find a bag of apples already in the fridge, unopened. I really must get back into the habit of writing a list, but I was in a bit of a hurry this morning and wanted to get back early as the Olympic Torch was coming to our town. The amount of people who turned out to see it was amazing, the atmosphere was buzzing and although it was over in a flash, it was something I will be able to say in years to come – I saw that!!
I thought it was about time I turned my hand to a ‘pastry’ dish. I must admit I do avoid them if possible, but there is a whole section in this book on pastries, so eventually I knew I would have to bake another one.
The Tarte Tatin is the fist recipe in this section out of twelve and I noticed I have only baked one other recipe from this section and that didn’t involve making the pastry as it was filo pastry!
So, deep breath, hopefully this won’t be painful! First thing to do was to prepare the pastry. The self-raising flour (this surprised me as I normally use plain flour) was put into the bowl and a small amount of butter, together with 1 tbsp of sifted icing sugar. I cut the butter into the flour and then rubbed this in with my fingertips until it resembled fine breadcrumbs. So far, so good! Next I had to add one egg yolk and a scant tablespoon of water. In again with the fingers to bring the mixture together. I was surprised at how yellow the pastry was – I know the eggs from my chickens are a very deep orange, but couldn’t believe how it changed the colour of the pastry so much. The pastry was lightly kneaded and then wrapped in clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill.
In the meantime it was on with the apples. A whole bag of apples was required for this recipe. These were peeled, cored and finely sliced. They were put in a bowl and to this I added the finely grated rind of a lemon, together with the juice from the lemon. This was lightly tossed together to ensure that all the apple slices were coated with the juice. This was put to one side.
The next step involved heating some demerara sugar and butter in a saucepan, until the butter had melted and the sugar dissolved. I never know whether I should leave this to melt on its own or give it a stir – I gave it a stir. Once melted this was poured into a 20cm (8″) sandwich tin. It was meant to be put into a 23cm (9″) sandwich tin, but I don’t have one of these. The only 23cm tin have is a deep cake tin with a loose bottom, so I didn’t think it would be very wise to use it – I didn’t fancy cleaning the mess up when it all leaked out the bottom!
On top of the this you then had to put a single layer of apple slices in a circular pattern. I was quite surprised how many slices of apple I had and ended up with them about 5 deep. Mary does say to cover the bottom layer with the remainder of the slices, but I carried on with the circular pattern on top.
It was then onto the pastry. By this time it was nicely chilled. A sprinkling of flour on my work surface and the pastry was rolled out. I tried to keep it as circular as possible. This was then lifted and placed on top of the apples. It was just very slightly bigger than needed, so the edges were just turned in. I was surprised to see that the pastry wasn’t glazed at all, but soon realised you wouldn’t see it as the dish would be turned out onto the pastry once cooked.
Into the oven it went for 20 minutes (I had remembered to put the oven on – just before I started peeling the apples). After 20 minutes I didn’t feel the pastry was golden enough, so it went in for another 5 minutes in total. Once removed the juices from the tin had to be tipped into a small pan. I was slightly concerned as it didn’t look as there were any juices in my tin, but once tipped up, which was very awkward – a hot tin and trying not to let the whole thing slide out – I managed to get the juice out. Mary does say if you have very little juice then you can add 2tbsp demerara sugar to your juice – I seemed to have quite a lot of juice, so didn’t add any more sugar instead just boiled it until it had reduced to a syrupy caramel.
The tart itself was turned out onto a plate. This was easier than I thought it would be and it did look very pretty. A few of the slices remained stuck to the bottom of the tin, so these were gently removed and put back into place on the top.
The juices were then spooned over the apples to coat them all. I was glad to see I had enough for a good covering and some even ran down the side. It looked very appetising and I couldn’t wait to dive in for a piece. However, it would have to wait until we’d had our evening meal.
With the evening meal finished, I couldn’t believe it when I asked who wanted some of the tart – everybody did. It was still slightly warm and it was delicious.
By now the sun had decided to come out again, so it was off out with the dog who had very patiently been waiting for his walk. The tart must have been good because by the time I returned from my walk yet another slice or two had disappeared!!
This was a lot easier than I thought to make and I was happy with the pastry it was lovely and crumbly and just seemed to melt in your mouth. Another recipe to add to the list ‘bake again’.
11th July 2012