Monday, 10 March 2014

De cabeça para baixo -thats the way it turned out


Numerous culinary specialities are the result of simple mistakes.In 1808,Stéphanie Tatin and her sister Caroline ran an inn across the street from the train station in Lamonte- Beuvron in Loire-et-cher,France. Stéphanie was renowned for her melt in your mouth caramelized apple tart.One day when the restaurant was full,the usual apple tart was not ready in time.Whether by miracle or in confusion,Stéphanie put her tart in the oven upside down.Apples,sugar and butter on the bottom of the pan and and the pastry covering on the top.Her guests pronounced it a resounding success.One of them, a certain Louis Vaudable,hurried back to Paris in order to put this tart on on the menu of his restaurant, the famous Maxims.The success of the demoiselles Tatins´tart cannot be denied.On the centenary of this dessert,celebrated in 1998,the people of Lamonte-Beuvron prepared the largest tarte tatin ever created..With  a diameter of 2.5 metres  (8.2 feet ),it used 250kg (550 lb) apples,30kg (66lb) sugar and 7kg (15.5 lb) butter.
 

The perfection of this dessert rests with the judicious choice of apples.They must have high sugar content and be both firm and soft.Many chefs prefer the Reinette variety.The grey reinette of Canada (reinetta gris) is a large,tart fruit with slightly rough skin,grey bronze colour,soft flesh and a distinctive flavour.The Reinette is one of the most popular apples in Portugal, available in markets
all year round.
So with this lovely story of the incarnation of tarte tatin,what better way to kick off French week at Casa Rosada.God knows why French week ,we have no French guests in the house, but I just felt like celebrating some of the great classics of this nations cuisine, finding out how they came about and selecting some favorites that have a somewhat, if tenuous, Portuguese connection- in this case apples
The original tart tatin
Serves 8

 

Squeeze as many apple slices as you can into the pan,because the heat makes them shrink.If necessary,add a few more apple slices during the cooking to maintain uniform crown.

1 kg (2.25lb) Reinetta apples
100g/7tbsp butter
150g /2/3 cup sugar
1 packet shop bought puff pastry


Take a loose bottomed round cake pan and grease it with butter.Line it with baking parchment allowing a generous overlap above the rim of the tin.Melt the butter and sugar in a non-stick pan over a high heat.cook until you have a golden butter caramel tip the caramel into the lined cake pan and spread evenly and quickly over the bottom.Peel the apples and core and cut them into eighths.
Arrange the apples in a crown in the caramel.Crowd them in,overlapping one slice against the next in order to make an impressive presentation when unmoulded.Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C/350F.remove from the oven.Roll out your ready-made puff pastry and cut out a circle slightly larger than the diameter of your pan.with the back of a spoon tuck the pastry into and around the side of the tart.Return to the oven and bake for further 15 minutes.remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.Carefully  invert the tart over palate and peel away the baking parchment before serving.



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