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Entertaining, Recipes

Summer entertaining: tarte tatin

As I patiently count down the minutes until sunset when I can finally break my long fast, I find that -oddly- one of my preferred ways to pass the time is to think about food. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but somehow, browsing through my favorite recipes or watching Ina on Food Network gives me something to look forward to. My mom keeps telling me off for “torturing myself”, but this really isn’t, as she seems to believe, a torturous, masochistic way to obsess over what I cannot have. The way I think about it is that if my tummy has to stay hungry for a few more hours, at least my eyes can feast on something yummy. Also, being busy in the kitchen – my favorite pastime bar none – is a great way for me to keep myself distracted, because I find it hardest to persevere through my fast when I am idle and bored. Soooo, right now I am salivating over memories of the tarte tatin I made for my friends before going on vacation a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I’d spread the joy. There really isn’t anything better to salivate over in my current low-blood-sugar fasting state than sweet, decadent, caramelized French apple pie.

You will need:

For the crust:

  • 1 stick butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small chunks
  • 6 apples, halved (I like to use a mix, such as 3 tart Granny Smits and 3 sweet Golden Delicious apples)
  • French Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Combine butter, flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like pea-sized chunks. Add the egg yolk and pulse a few times, then add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time and pulse just until the mixture comes together into a ball. You do not need to use all of the water. Avoid over-pulsing. Knead the mixture on a lightly-floured work surface about once or twice until you have a smooth ball. Place ball on a cookie sheet, and using a rolling pin or gently roll the dough out to form about a 30-cm (~12″) circle. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

In the meantime, make the filling. Preheat oven to 215 C/425 F. Place a round, non-stick, ovenproof skillet or pan on the hob over high heat (make sure pan doesn’t have any plastic handles that could melt in the oven!!!) Place sugar, apple cider, lemon juice, and vanilla seeds in the pan and stir to combine. Brush the sides of the pan with cold water using a pastry brush to avoid sugar crystallization, and bring mixture to a boil. Occasionally swirl the mixture around the pan to distribute evenly, and cook for about 10 minutes until it is a deep, rich, caramel color. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, 1 knob at a time. It is ok if the mixture starts to bubble up, just make sure to avoid contact with your skin as it will be very hot. When all of the butter has been incorporated, turn heat down to medium and return pan to heat. Arrange the apple halves (rounded side down) in concentric circles in the sugar mixture. You want to do this as neatly as possible so that you have a nice-looking end product. Cook for about 20 more minutes, then remove from heat. Place your chilled pastry on top of the apples, tucking in around the pan edges. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry turns golden. Allow tarte to cool to lukewarm before flipping onto a serving dish. Slice and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I love French vanilla, which is basically like regular vanilla but made for more egg yolks).

This may just be the perfect summer dessert!

In good health,

F

* Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell, courtesty of Food Network

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