Harry’s Ramblings Tarte Tatin, Easy Peasy
My wife of 47 years went out for the day yesterday, so I said to her ‘don’t worry about dinner tonight, my love, I will cook it. Just leave it to me.’
We watch Bargain Hunt on BBC every day as we have lunch, wasting the previous ten minutes on ITV, when they frequently have a cooking section. The other day a man made Tarte Tatin, and I thought to myself ‘how easy’. I sometimes cook our evening meal, but have never ever attempted a dessert. His looked delicious, but I did think it strange that he had four different pans at various stages of preparation. Our kitchen is more limited with choice, so rather than just take a chance, I looked up the recipe on the BBC web site Good Food, and there was also a video lasting almost three minutes. It all looked so easy, so I wrote down the ingredients, hot foot to Eastbourne’s Marks and Spencer as I was confident that they would have all required on their shelves.
At the bottom of my list was chicken pie, veg, bananas, and bread. I knew that the main course had to be simple in preparation, hence the pie which was a previous favourite. Veg was a fresh cauliflower for £1, bananas because I have one with my lunch every day and had run out, and bread was to make lunch sandwiches. As it happens, I got the wrong bread, but that frequently happens, I just have a blockage when it comes to selecting the right bread. Yes, I do look at the packaging, no, I do not pay attention.
I know that I should have looked in the kitchen cupboard so I didn’t duplicate ingredients, so didn’t need to buy flour or sugar. I asked the pleasant young lady assistant if the apples were for cooking, I found the golden caster sugar easily, but had to ask the location of all butter puff pastry. Why put it on the top shelf by the dairy? For those unaware, it is in a long thin carton, with just the end showing, so you have to be higher than my 5’6” to even think of looking up there. Back home I placed suitable items in the fridge, sat back with a cup of tea and chocolate digestive, then spoke to absent wife on the phone. There was a blip, another caller, so we stopped talking, and it was Alison, who we hadn’t spoken with for a couple of weeks. Fifteen minutes later I was starting to run late, so after a brief goodbye, I printed out the instructions for my potential masterpiece.
It says ‘roll the pastry to a 3mm thick round on a lightly floured surface and cut a 24cm circle, using a plate as a guide’. As a feet and inches man, I have no idea how thick 3mm is, is a cm bigger than a mm? I got out the Perspex office ruler, found a dinner plate that is 28cm, so rolled out the pastry, cut round the plate, then cut a further edge away using my eye judgment. Well, it looked okay. Oh, I forgot the flour, carry on regardless. The rough circle went into the freezer, the oven was turned on, apples peeled, cored and sliced. Yummy, looking good. The sugar packet didn’t have the weight on the outside, so I guessed at how much to place in the pan. Butter diced and ready, sugar smoking away, don’t stir, then added butter. Yummy, smells good. Apples nicely placed, 7/10 I think for preparation, can’t find a brush to use for the heated butter over the apples, but it worked okay to slowly pour over. Then into the oven it goes.
Peel and cut potatoes, same goes for the cauliflower, then it’s back to the creation. Remove puff pastry from the freezer, very surprised at the way that it’s gone so cold, as well as stiff. It won’t come out of the small freezer compartment easily, when it does it’s in two pieces. That is when the doorbell rang, return of wife, that’s when disaster happened. I had used an oven glove to remove the pan from the oven, my that was hot through the material, but then I went to put the pan back, and forgot protection. That really hurt, hence the photo of my left hand. Under the cold water tap, then back the pan went into the oven, with my hand throbbing. Any damage? Well, it hadn’t blistered, but it was really painful. Back under the cold water. After a further 40 minutes, checked if pastry had turned golden brown and crisp. No. Back in for another ten minutes, then to rest for an hour. Then turn over onto the too-large dinner plate, now it fits lovely so all those delicious juices are contained.
Serve with quality ice cream. And what was it like? Well, it depends on whether you cooked it or not. If you did, then maybe it’s a little burned, with the sugar cooked in the pan for too long, so what’s poured on the apples is too dark and strongly flavoured. If you were just the eater, then the pastry is delicious.
Very good for a first effort, will definitely try again, without the burnt sugar and the throbbing hand. Thanks for asking, it’s a lot better now.