Tarts & Pies · The Beginnings (Season 2 BBC)

Tarte Tatin

I was really looking forward to making this one, but it took buying apples three times before I was able to actually make it. I’ve got four other people here, and at least two of them nicking the apples so I didn’t have enough to make the dessert.

I used a recipe that I found on the BBC web site, here. I don’t quite understand, but there’s some weirdness with printing from that web site; it prints the first page, then nothing on the second page, and spits out a third page with unrelated stuff, so I usually end up with most of the ingredients and a photo, but all the step-by-step directions are missing. I usually end up copying and pasting onto a Publisher page so I can print that and use it. While I’m cooking, of course, the page gets demolished with spills and drippage.

This recipe had several steps to it. First you make the pastry–2 sticks of butter, flour and powdered sugar, rubbed together until it’s a breadcrumb consistency, then add 3 egg yolks and mix together until it’s a soft dough. Then you inexplicably divide it into two equal size balls, wrap them in cling film and put them in the freezer. FREEZER…not fridge. Uhm….OK….

Then you prepare the apples. I ended up using Fuji apples–five of them–which I peeled, cored and segmented into 8 pieces each.

The directions kinda went sideways here–telling you to get a pan and make the caramel, which I was able to do successfully!! Then you are supposed to leave the caramel in the pan and arrange the apples on top. Well, I don’t know what kind of pan *they’re* using, but I made it in a little saucepan. I think there may be a linguistic barrier here.

I had already arranged the apples in a pie tin, adding some dried cherries for color and flavor (could have used some other seasonings, too…) and tried to pour the caramel on top, which cooled instantly as it hit the apples and turned into globs. It didn’t look like enough caramel, so I made more while the tart went into the oven (no topping) for the first 10 minutes.

I pulled the tarte out of the oven and poured the new caramel on top, dotted with another stick of butter, and shaved the pastry over the top with a cheese grater…honest…that’s what it said to do! I shaved the entirety of the first ball, but there was already plenty on it, so I wrapped up the second and threw it back into the freezer. I have no idea if this was right or not, since it seemed I already had the wrong size and shape of pan, and this may end up being a complete disaster anyway.

I chucked it into the oven–it said 500 degrees. I think that was too hot. It cooked too quickly, the liquid boiled over (I forgot to put a cookie sheet under it) and caused the whole house to fill up with smoke. I took it out after under 15 minutes, had every door and window open to air the place out (the smoke alarm never did go off…I may have to look into that).

Then you get a plate and flip the tart onto it. A few apples stuck to the pan, which I carefully plucked out and set back on top.

The tarte was beautiful. It tasted great. It could have used a scoop of ice cream…I didn’t have any.

I guess I’ll be cleaning the oven tomorrow.