Tart Tatin is the classic, French dessert based on caramelized fruit on puff pastry and then baked ‘upside down’. This plum and almond Tarte Tatin is best with Victoria plums when in season but you can use any sort of plums. It’s equally good with apples or pears. If you are using apples use dessert ones and not cooking apples. Dessert apples hold their shape whereas cooking apples ie Granny Smiths ‘fall’ and collapse. The addition of marzipan is also optional so leave it out if you don’t like this ‘made in heaven’ combination. As ever I have tried to simplify the recipe by not making a traditional caramel first with all the possible problems that entail (ever tried making caramel? no? give it a go, it’s not without its challenges ) but it works fine by just melting the sugar in the butter. Make sure you turn it out onto a serving plate that has a lip on it to catch the juices.
Ok, I agree the photo isn’t great; I agree it looks like a cowpat. But the taste is…..SUBLIME, the slight tang of the plums in the sweet, caramel buttery juices which soak through the flaky, puff pastry….
Now what can these be? I have had a few tentative guesses…….Christmas decorations, fly papers, raspberry and meringue strips…actually they are fruit leathers! Deliciously chewy and fruity snacks, they are fun to make and children will love them. There are some similar sweets you can buy for children but they are very sweet and come in very violent colours which are unlikely to have come from any fruit known to man. I made these from windfall apples and foraged blackberries (I had some in the freezer as you are always reluctant to stop picking once you start-generally there are some here) and so they cost next to nothing to make. Here are the recipes for Apple leather an also some Apple with Bramble leather. I’m going to experiment with some of the more exotic fruits that you can buy tinned ie mango and apricots. Just buy the ones in fruit juice and not in syrup which would be quite sweet. Liqudise them using just enough of the juice and then pour into your tray. If you over do the water heat the puree up and cook until the water evaporates. Later in the year I’m going to use my redcurrants and blackcurrants to make more ‘tangy’ versions-like the brambles you would need to put the fruit through a sieve first to remove the pips
We were picking brambles at the week end-a favourite Autumnal day out-and windfall Bramley apples………………….a lovely combination to use for a traditional pie. None of this continental malarkey with sweet pastry and a custard base. No this is a very plain and simple pie using a shortcrust pastry made with margarine and lard. Yes, I can hear you say, it does have to be lard.
Where I come from, Yorkshire, pies have a top and a bottom if you please, tarts only have bottoms. I only added a little sugar to the fruit so that you can taste the fruit but you could always pass the sugar bowl around when you are serving for those that like a sweeter taste. I like to rebel and haven’t precooked the filling- wild I know but it is more usual to precook the apple. It really doesn’t need it and it is much better this way because Bramley apples quickly ‘fall’ when cooked ie they loose their shape and go mushy which then makes for a mushy pie-so I have avoided this by putting the apple in raw, just slice them thinly after coring and peeling. Use a traditional enamel metal plate to get a crisp bottom and no sogginess.
To get back to the brambles,it is tempting to pick too many, especially as this is a’ free’ food, but you don’t need many for this recipe as they are quite strong to taste. However you can also turn them in to jams and jellies if you are so inclined. Or what about turning them into Blackberry gin for Christmas-just pack into a large glass jar, add sugar and pour gin over the top. Put the lid on, give it a shake and then store it somewhere cool for about 6 weeks. Give it the odd shake when you remember and then sieve before using. I also like to make Christmassy gin from damsons and also from sloe berries but these are not so easy to come by. Damsons work well and give a more fruity twist to your gin and tonics. If you want more of a liqueur then add more sugar and less gin.