Wednesday, April 28, 2010

mild evenings au campagne

right now i am meant to be writing a french assignment, instead i am doing everything besides that, and blogging....

i had a joyous weekend at the farm where i did very little and probably ate too much. We celebrated my grandmothers birthday and since she did not want a cake, candles ect. and would probably kill us if we even mentioned singing happy birthday, i made her a pear tart tatin, which was delicious and a very unembarrassingly informal way of finishing a birthday "shut up i refuse to be old" dinner.

(this is the one i made on the weekend, nice and rustic)

A tarte tatin is a really great thing to be able to make because it is relatively simple and most people have the ingredients already in their cupboard/ fridge so it can be made without planning or shopping if you suddenly get the hankering for something warm and comforting or if someone turns up and you feel the urge to stun them with your Susie-Homemaker talents.

So, all that really is essential for a tart tatin is butter, sugar, some sort of fruit or vegetable (i.e.. apples, pears, bananas, leeks, aubergine..) for the filling and some good butter puff pastry- oh, and i big cast-iron pan to cook it in.

Firstly turn you oven on to about 180'c so that it has plenty of time to get hot, then heat up your cast-iron pan and throw in some butter. now, let that melt down and when it starts to go brown put in about 1/2-1cup of sugar and let it go all syrupy (but not burnt, if it burns there is nothing you can do to save it, chuck it out and start again.) Then lay what every filling you are going with in the pan in a pretty arrangement. you can slice it really thin and fan it out or just quarter your fruit and make it look rustic and really casual. Now it is important that the filling gets cooked by the toffee dosen't burn so put some alfoil over the pan and stick it in the overn for about 20 mins.
while you are doing that take out some puff pastry and cut it to just about the pan size, even a smidgen bigger is better. prick it with a fork and put it back in the freezer or fridge becuase you want it really cold when it goes into the oven so that the butter renders and you get a great flakey puff out of it.
After the 20 minutes take the alfoil off and check on it, the cooking time will all depend on how you sliced the filling and the density of it. if it isn't cooked then you can leave it longer with the alfoil off or if it is cooked take it out and grab your chilled pastry circle. place it ontop like a lid and then carfully tuck the overlap into the pan, which will make a crust, and press down to secure to filling onto it. the put it back into the oven.
Keep watching the pastry and take it out when it is going golden brown (about 18mins) and then let is stand for a few. now, my dedicated 4 followers here is the tricky part- the inverting of the tarte. get a scraper and run it allog the pastry so that nothing is stuck. get a plate which is alittle bigger than the pan and put it ontop, the rest is up to how much it stuck and fate. turn the dish upside down holding the plate firmly ontop of it and hope fully it will all gracefully arrive onto the pate as you made it. Serve this tasty anytime treat with some ice-cream for that great hot-cold, toffee-cream combination... hom nom nom nom...

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