Friday, March 27, 2015

Daring Bakers March: Tarte Tatin



For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.


I jumped at the opportunity to bake with one of my favorite fruits, Bosc pears, to make a pear tarte tatin.


The dough is luscious.


I used a melon baller to core the pears so they didn't end up too badly mangled. I didn't need a big tarte tatin, so I used a smaller saucier in which to cook it.


The caramel was pretty stress-free, although I was afraid of burning it while cooking the pears in it--true to the recipe's word, the caramel showed no signs of burning even after 15 minutes on the heat. I needed an extra pear for the center, but since I didn't have one, I just threw in some blueberries so the crust wouldn't sink too much.


After resting the dough in the fridge, I rolled it out and used my pot lid as a template for the dough--easier than using the hot pan where the cooked pears were cooling.


Trimmed with the excess, which I sprinkled with sugar and rolled out a couple of times and then baked along with the tarte tatin for a treat.


If you follow the crust recipe to a t, it's delicous--airy, buttery, tender.


Once the pears had stopped steaming, I put the crust on--I didn't have to wait for the pears to cool completely.


Baked to golden-brown! Now to let the caramel to stop bubbling before the scary trick where I flip it into a plate.


All done!


A modest slice.

This recipe is fairly quick and easy, and the result was one of the yummiest things I've baked in a long while! It's definitely a keeper.


Tarte Tatin Rough Puff Pastry
Makes one 9″ tarte, serves 8-10.
Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini. Makes one single pastry crust.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 cup (250 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
¼ tsp fine salt

Cut 2/3 cup (160 ml) (5 oz) (140 gm) unsalted butter, cold, into small cubes and add it to the flour. With a pastry blender (or two table knives) cut in the butter until the mixture in crumbly but even, with pea-sized pieces of butter. Make a well in the middle and pour in ¼ cup (60 ml) ice cold water. Toss the flour/butter and water together with a fork until the dough starts to clump together.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface – don’t worry if there are still pockets of dry flour. Gently knead and squeeze the mixture a few times just enough to bring it together into a square (a bench scraper is helpful for this). Be careful not to overwork the dough: there should be visible bits of butter and it should still look very rough.

Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a rectangle about 10” (25 cm) long. Fold the bottom third of the dough up into the middle, and fold the top third down, like you are folding a letter. This is one fold. Turn the dough a one quarter turn so that one of the open edges is facing you, and roll out again into a 10” (25 cm) rectangle. Fold again – this is the second fold. Repeat the rolling and folding 3 more times, for 5 folds total. Your dough will get smoother and neater looking with each fold (the pictures show the first and fifth folds).

If your kitchen is very warm and the dough gets too soft/sticky to do all the folds at once, chill it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes between folds. After the fifth fold, use your rolling pin to tap the dough into a neat square. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for a least 1 hour, or overnight.


For Bosc pears

I used 4 pears to make a smaller tarte tatin, although five would've been ideal to have a pear bottom for the flower's center. For a large skillet, you'll need up to 8 pears, and this recipe is for that amount.

Core and peel pears--I used a melon baller to core them. Toss them in 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice so they don't brown.

Place 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cardomom, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in skillet, and heat until it's a caramel-brown color. Then toss pears in to coat, and arrange into the final pattern you want the pears to take after you flip it. They should be cut-side up. Cook for about 15 minutes, and set aside until the pears have stopped steaming. 

To bake the tarte tatin

Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, and trim it into a circle about 1” (25 mm) in diameter larger than your saucepan. Lay it over the filling, tucking in the edges between the apples and the sides of the pan, and cut a few steam vents in the pastry. Place the saucepan on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case the filling decides to bubble over the sides) and place in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/190°C/gas mark 5 oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, increasing the oven temperature to moderately hot 400˚F/200°C/gas mark 6 during the last 5 – 10 minutes of baking if the pastry isn’t browning properly.

Remove from the oven and let sit just until the caramel stops bubbling. Immediately place a serving platter (slightly larger in diameter than the saucepan) over the pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grab hold of the saucepan and platter and quickly invert everything to unmold the Tatin onto the platter. If any of the apples stick to the pan or come out of place, rearrange them with a spatula.

Remove from the oven and let sit just until the caramel stops bubbling. Immediately place a serving platter (slightly larger in diameter than the saucepan) over the pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grab hold of the saucepan and platter and quickly invert everything to unmold the Tatin onto the platter. If any of the apples stick to the pan or come out of place, rearrange them with a spatula.






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