SHF: Tarte Tatin of 1001 Arabian Nights
This month's Sugar High Friday, with the theme of tarts filled me with possibilities. I had all but decided to make a rhubarb tart when we found ourselves at a winery and cidery just outside Bendigo over the long weekend (Bress Winery & Cidery, Harcourt. Website not yet launched). After buying some excellent cider, which tasted like champagne with an appley aftertaste, the winemaker (cideron?) pointed us to a big crate of aples from the orchard and told us to help ourselves. 'Make a tart!' he suggested.
'Ah ha!' we thought. Not only do we have free ingredients for our SHF tart, but we have ingredients with a story! Why the Arabian Nights? We decided to go with a Middle-Eastern feel for this standard recipe.
So, we collected about 1.5 kilos of Pink Lady apples, small enough to fit in your hand; unwaxed and full of real apple flavour. Not too sweet, but not too sour either, as it is the end of the apple season down here. These weren't cider apples though; apparently nobody could eat one of those; "far too bitter!' we were told.
We managed to hold off eating the whole lot, and saved enough for the tart. A few days earlier I decided to make the Processor Danish Pastry in Nigella's Domestic Goddess - post to come, but it was really easy, and I plan to make Almond Danishes with it soon - which I used as my base.
I started making this tart at 10.30 Friday night, after we'd come home from a long Bach Cantata rehearsal after a long day at work. Apart from the tedious peeling of the apples (my most HATED kitchen chore. Being left-handed poses so many problems sometimes!), this was really easy to do. We were eating tart by 11.30 while watching The Sound of Music, for the thousandth time, on tv.
As I have a few Middle-Eastern ingredients in the pantry at the moment, I decided to jazz up this standard tart a little, to make it stand out amongst the thousands of SHF entries. Plain Tarte Tatin - meh. But Tarte Tatin with some pomegranate molasses cooked with the apples, and splashed with orange blossom water and rosewater then sprinkled with chopped pistachios - now, that makes it more interesting!
Interestingly, I couldn't taste the rose or orange blossom water when it was cooked. The pomegranate came through, and made me think I should have reduced the sugar a litte; I found it a bit too sweet. I've reduced the amount in the recipe below. But I just had some cold for lunch, and I much preferred it today, at room temperature, when it tasted not so sweet. A. loved it last night, however, and thought it tasted 'just like stewed apples on pastry. Yummy!'.
Tasty and very easy. And if you can get somebody else to peel the apples, even better!
Read on for the recipe:
Tarte Tatin of 1001 Arabian Nights
Adapted from Nigella's Tarte Tatin in Domestic Goddess.
100 g butter
100g caster sugar
1kg apples, peeled, quartered and cored
2 tbl pomegranate molasses
1 tbl orange-blossom water
Handful chopped pistachios
half-measure Danish pastry, rolled out and ready to use (or use frozen puff pastry or whatever you have)
Preheat the oven to 200C and put in a baking sheet.
Put the butter in the a cast-iron frying pan and heat. Let the butter melt and add the sugar. When it foams, add the prepared apples, arranging them in a circular pattern (as best you can), hump side down. Add the pomegranate molasses. Cook on high heat until the buttery, sugary juices turn a caramel colour and the fruit has softened a little. Now splash in your orange blossom and rosewater and chopped pistachios.
Take the pan off the heat, and leave it to stand for 10 minutes.
Roll the pastry thinly into a circle to fit the top of the dish, plus a bit of overhang. Lay it on top of the apples in the dish, tucking the edges in. Transfer the dish to the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the caramel syrup is bubbling.
Take the cooked tart out of the oven, place a large plate on top of the dish and, wearing oven gloves and with great care!, turn the whole thing upside down. Remove the dish and you should be presented with your tarte tatin, Patch together any dodgy looking bits, and serve with yoghurt or creme fraiche. Or cream!