Being someone who grew up Greek in Canada, I was taught to celebrate my Greekness without belittling or diminishing anyone else’s culture in the process. My parents came here (Canada) as immigrants and we as Greeks wave our flag but we also enjoy the culture, company and foods of other peoples.
Canada is an officially bilingual nation – French and English. I have enjoyed the regional Quebec cuisine and the homeland French cooking from continental Europe. I prefer the rustic French dishes and I’m particularly fond of Provence and it’s food as it reminds me much of Greek cooking.
One French classic that I recently sought to re-create is the tarte tatin. Last year I made a plum tarte tatin and I enjoyed the dessert alot. This time I took a stab at the classic which uses apples.
Tarte Tatin is the famous upside-down tart that’s caramelized with sugar, water and butter. It was created by two French sisters in what could be France’s most famous kitchen mistake gone wonderfully well!
There are many variations on the original dish which originated in the humble home kitchen but it’s popularity has taken it to the kitchens of most great restaurants.
The tarte should be served warm or at room temperature. If prepared ahead of time, keep in the the cast-iron skillet and just before serving time, place in a hot oven and and re-heat.
Finally, I brushed some heated and strained apricot preserves over a cooled tarte and served it with some cinnamon ice cream. This dessert is simple, an eye-catching treat that will make your family, friends and guests feel right at home or…at a bed & breakfast in Sologne.
Apple Tarte Tatin
approx. 1 1/2 lbs. of firm, slightly tart apples (I used Royal Gala)
2/3 cup of regular sugar
3oz. of unsalted butter
puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge
large cast-iron skillet
Pre-heated 400F oven
- Peel the apples, core and cut into thick wedges (I used an apple slicer) and place in a bowl with enough water to cover them and the juice of about 1/ lemon. Treat your cast iron skillet with room temperature butter.
- In a small pot, add the sugar and 3 Tbsp. of water and caramelize over medium-low heat. Once the syrup has turned to a copper colour, add your butter and swirl the pan to mix and take off the heat and pour the caramel into your cast-iron skillet.
- Take the apples out of the water & lemon bath and quickly drain. Now quickly place the apples wedges in the skillet, so that they are squeezed tightly together. (You want to do this step quickly so that as not to allow the caramel to harden too quickly)
- Now place the skillet on a baking sheet (avoid any dripping caramel in oven) in your pre-heated oven (middle rack) and bake for 40-45 minutes. Take the tarte out of the oven and allow the apples to cool a bit. Once cooled, place the puff pastry on top and trim any excess pastry off. Place the tarte once again in a pre-heated oven andÂ bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In the meantime, add some apricot jam to a small pot and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and pass through a metal sieve to remove any chunks of fruit. Place the strained jam back in the pot and keep warm.
- As soon as your tarte has cooled, place the serving dish on top of the tarte and carefully flip over, so that the apples are facing up. Now brush the apricot jam on the apples to give your tarte an added glaze and another dimension to it’s flavour.
- Serve a wedge to each person with some of Holler’s cinnamon ice cream on the side.
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