Sharing the love of food and trying new recipes...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

La tarte Tatin

Many years ago when I was at Yale, I was taught how to make tarte Tatin (an upside-down caramelized apple tart). It was a quick and easy approximate recipe which I clearly never was able to reproduce. So I went on to try different recipes to get the same result but was never quite satisfied. Until last week! The major issue was the caramel: it has to be really well done, dark enough to get nicely caramelized apples but not overcooked either unless your apples become bitter and ruin your tart.

The choice of apples is debatable but I would go for hard apples that do not give rise to a compote when cooked, so either granny smith or greenish golden apples. Also you need a nice tarte Tatin form that can go both on a hot plate and in the oven (avoid spring forms as caramel can easily leak out from edges). I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is one of my favorites, and I would say this tarte Tatin is even better than the one I was taught to make :-)

Recipe for the tarte Tatin (28 cm)

Shortcrust dough:
240 g flour
137 g butter
1 dl cold water

Mix flour, sugar, salt. Cut cold butter in pieces, add to flour and mix with your fingers to make crumbs. Add cold water and mix fast with a wooden spoon. Make the dough, cover and refrigerate it 30 min.

12-15 apples
(I have tried and liked Gala and Pink Lady apples, Boscoop apples are not good here but rather for compote, and Granny Smith apples are too hard and sour)

Peel apples and cut them in 2 (in quarters if you prefer).

150 g butter
300 g sugar

Place sugar and pieces of butter in a Tatin form. Place the form on a warm plate and let sugar and butter melt on medium/high heat (3-4/6). Mix with a wooden spoon until obtaining caramel: remove the form from the heat source when you are happy with the color. Note: it will go from light yellow when melting to amber color when sugar fuses, to light brown when the caramel starts forming: then it only gets darker with time. I like a real brown color such that apples will have that color once baked (but if you let your caramel darken too much it will become bitter).

Place apples really tight together (vertically) on the caramel in the Tatin form (and fill possible holes in between apples with more apples because when they bake apples shrink and you don't want random empty spaces in your tart). Put the form back on the fire and let apples bake and get impregnated with the caramel for 7-8min on high heat (5-6/6). Put aside and sprinkle the apples with some cinnamon.

Roll out the dough on a floured table (approx 4 mm thick) and transfer onto the Tatin form on top of the apples. Fold in the edges of the dough such that it does not go on the form itself. Bake in the oven 35 min at 180-200 C. Flip the tart over when still warm (else the apples will stick to the form).

Serve lukewarm as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I think it is even better :-D Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Linzer Torte

The other day I made some shortbread biscuits with different jams and my friend said "Ah you made a Linzer Torte?". No I did not but after her question I realized I like that cake and never tried to make it before. Also, given that the dough contains hazelnut, I thought I might prefer it over plain shortbread.

So I went ahead and made a Linzer Torte, an Austrian cake also known as the oldest known cake in the world! It's composed of crumbly hazelnut short pastry, filled with raspberry or redcurrant jam, and then decorated with criss-crossed short pastry strips. It is relatively easy to make but takes a bit of time because the dough has to sit in the fridge 30 min and baking is approximately 40 min.

Linzer Torte Recipe:

150 g butter, room T
150 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of cloves
zest of 1/2 lemon
150 g flour
150 g ground hazelnuts

200 g raspberry or redcurrant jam*
1 beaten egg
some extra flour (4-5 tbsp)

In a bowl beat up butter. Add sugar and salt and mix. Add the egg, spices, and lemon zest and beat up. Add pre-mixed flour and hazelnuts and mix together into a dough (sticky). Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 30 min.

Weigh your refrigerated dough and prepare a springform

Transfer a bit over 1/3 of the dough onto the base of the form

Roll out the dough directly on the base of the springform

The dough covers the whole base of the springform

Put back the edge of the springform

Take another 1/3 of the dough and add 1-2 tbsp flour

Roll out dough by hand to make two sticks

Transfer dough sticks to form edge of the cake

Flatten the dough edge a bit with a fork

Fill the space between the base and the edge with raspberry jam

Take last 1/3 of dough and add 1-2 tbsp flour

Roll it out onto a heavily floured table and cut out 2cm-wide stripes

Transfer stripes to cake (make them a bit long and then cut the extra dough with scissors)

Transfer 2nd layer of stripes making a lattice (diamond-shaped holes)

Paint the dough with a beaten egg

The baked Linzer Torte has a nice golden color
Weigh your dough (it should be around 670 g) and prepare a 22 cmspringform (greased and floured). Roll out a bit more than 1/3 of the dough (230 g or so) onto the base of the springform and then put the edge of the springform back on.
Take another 1/3 of the dough and add 1-2 tbsp flour to make it less sticky. Roll it out into 2 thin sticks to make the edge of the cake all around. Flatten it nicely and regularly with a fork (not too flat because it is the edge of the cake).
Fill the space between the dough base and the edge with raspberry jam.
Take the last 1/3 of the dough, add 1-2 tbsp flour to it and roll it out on a (very) floured table. Cut out 2 cm wide strips and decorate the cake with them making a lattice design (diamond shaped holes):
- You can use a wide knife to help transfer the stripes
- Make the stripes a bit longer than needed and then cut the extra dough with scissors
- Start with a middle stripe and then add a stripe to the right and one to the left; repeat for the stripes on top
Paint the cake (dough) with a beaten egg.
Bake in the oven 40 min at 180 C.
Serve lukewarm or cold as dessert or with coffee or tea in the afternoon. Enjoy!

*You can use another red fruit jam if you prefer
**If you have dough leftover use it for a mini-Linzer torte :-)

mini-Linzer Torte in a mini-cocotte

Betti Bossy

Monday, October 7, 2013

Caramelized upside-down pear cake

One weekend not so long ago I was invited to my friend's house in the South of France. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a wonderful soft pear cake,  called "fondant aux poires" for it was melting in the mouth. Pears are caramelized in a tatin tart form then the dough is added and the cake baked. After baking, the cake is flipped and appears caramelized all over. So good!

Recipe for a 28cm cake form (in parentheses for a 24-25cm form)

225 g flour (180)
5 eggs (4)
250 g + 63 g butter (200 + 50)
250 g + 63 g sugar (200 + 50)
1 pack baking powder
2 packs vanilla sugar
1 kg canned pears

In a cake form (not a spring form, rather one for tatin tarts) put 63 g butter and 63 g sugar. Turn the heat on and let it caramelize a bit while stirring continuously. Remove the juice from the pears and add the pear halves upside-down (the inside up).
Melt 250 g butter and in a bowl add together with all other ingredients. Mix and pour on the pears in the form. Bake at 180 C 30 min in the middle of the oven, then 15 min in the lower part of the oven. Let the cake cool down for a few min and then flip it upside down onto a plate. Et voila!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Plum tart for Jeûne Fédéral

Two weeks ago was the Jeûne Fédéral in Switzerland and according to the tradition a plum tart should be the only food for lunch that day. Since I had a day off I decided to make a plum tart two ways: one tart with fruits only and one with a cream-egg filling on top of the fruits. Both were very good, but my favorite is the plain fruit tart, which is also much more appealing to the eye I find.

Recipe for a big plum tart (~26 cm)

Pâte brisée (shortcrust dough):
220 g flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
120 g cold butter
1 dl cold water

1 kg plums
5 tbsp ground hazelnuts (or almonds if you prefer)

Mix salt, sugar, flour in a bowl. Add butter and mix with your hands to make crumbs. Add water and mix rapidly with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate the dough under cover for at least 30 min.

Clean the plums and cut them in four quarters. Prepare a tart form by buttering and flouring it. Roll out the dough on a floured table and transfer to the tart form. Prick it with a fork. Cover the dough with ground hazelnuts. Place plum quarters tightly next to each other and sprinkle them with sugar. Bake in the oven 30-40 min at 200 C.
Enjoy it lukewarm and serve it with some whipped cream!

Small plum tart with filling (~18 cm)

1 egg
1 dl cream
1 tbsp sugar

Half all the ingredients and follow the recipe above. After placing the plums on the tart, mix egg, cream, and sugar, and pour on the fruits. Bake as described above.