Saturday, July 10, 2021

Baker's Corner: Easy Peach Tarte Tatin


So Covid-19 restrictions are easing in many countries across the world. You know what that means right? Social gatherings to resume! While travel still may not be a feasible option for many people, meeting friends and family living within the country is the best way to get out of the isolation we have been in for so long. 

In the last 18 months, I can probably count with my fingers the number of people who have visited us at home. For people like my husband and I who LOVE to cook, invite people over and who would host dinners and small gatherings with ferocious regularity, this has been a rather disconcerting feeling. Even our children keep asking us why people don't come over any more! Fortunately, that has slowly started to change. In Singapore, for the past few days, the new local community cases have been in the single digit range and the vaccination rate (for the first dose at least) has risen to above 60% so it has really started to feel like a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We had a few small-sized social visits recently and it felt really good. Hoping for more in the months to come 😊

Since dinner parties could soon be a thing, I have the perfect dessert to sweeten things up!


The Tarte Tatin was accidentally created at the Hôtel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, Loir-et-Cher, 169 km south of Paris, in the 1880s. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. After turning out the upside down tart, the sisters were surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert!

The Tart Tatin is a sweet pastry in which the fruit (usually apples) is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked. It originated in France but has spread to other countries over the years. Originally, the tarte Tatin was made with two regional apple varieties: Reine des Reinettes (Pippins), and Calville. Over the years, other varieties have tended to displace them, including Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala.

Tarte Tatin can also be made with pears, quinces, peaches, pineapple, or even steered in the savory route by using tomatoes or onion. The Tarte Tatin is made with shortcrust or puff pastry.


This Peach Tarte Tatin uses canned peaches and store-bought puff pastry so it is kind of a cheat's version! This recipe requires only 4 main ingredients and the dessert comes together in less than 45 minutes. And won't you agree that it looks good? Trust me that it tastes very good! The sweet and slightly tart caramelized fruit with the hints of warming spice and the puffed up buttery pastry makes for a great combination. Serving this dessert with vanilla bean ice cream would have taken it a notch higher but I wanted to keep things simple so I did away with the ice cream. 

This is a forgiving dessert. Even if your caramel isn't the exact shade you intended it to be, even if your pastry isn't precisely centered over the fruit or even if the fruit slices get dislodged, you can get away with being messy and the dessert still tastes good!

If you have been following my blog, this dessert might look uncannily similar to my Caramel Peach Upside Down Cake. Both desserts taste good but this tarte tatin is easier and faster to make thanks to the puff pastry. Next time I'm planning to make this recipe with a few tweaks. I would like to use canned pineapple slices, add a splash of rum to the caramelized sugar, use toasted desiccated coconut and sprigs of mint for the garnish and serve it with coconut ice-cream to give it a tropical feel 😊 


I hope wherever you are living in the world, you do get the opportunity to meet and greet your loved ones real soon (if not right now). If you happen to be cooking for them then do give this dessert a go! 

Here is the recipe. I suggest that you go through the entire recipe to familiarize yourself with the steps involved and check out the notes section at the bottom for tips and substitutions. 

Easy Peach Tarte Tatin

Preparation time: 15 min; Baking time: 25-30 min
Total time: ~45 min
Serves: 5-6
Recipe category: Dessert/French
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

825 gm tinned/canned peaches (500gm drained weight) 
50 gm unsalted butter, cubed, keep refrigerated
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
500gm package puff pastry, defrosted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp finely ground spices of your choice (I used a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & star anise) 
Vanilla ice-cream for serving, Optional

Method:

1. Drain the peach slices and dry them between absorbent paper towels to get rid of as much of the moisture as possible. When the fruit is dry, it absorbs the sugar better. 



2. Pre-heat oven to 190°C (375°F) with fan

3. Cut the cold butter into cubes and keep it ready

4. Place sugar into a large (10-inch) oven-safe skillet and place over medium-high heat and cook, without stirring, until sugar is partially liquefied, about 4 minutes. Whisk until all the unmelted sugar disappears into the caramel and turn the heat down to medium low. It needs to be cooked for a little longer but the color will change quickly from this point so pay close attention to it. Cook until the sugar is a dark amber. Remove from heat, immediately add the cold butter, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and the finely ground spices and whisk to combine. 





5. Now arrange the dried peach slices in a concentric circle around the outside edge. You can overlap them a little if you like. Arrange the remaining peaches in the center of the ring. You can be as haphazard as you like! Let this cool for 10 minutes, and use this time to roll out the pastry.


6. Using a light dusting of plain flour, roll the dough out to a rough circle about 5mm thick and about 1-2 cm larger than the pan. If you’re not ready to use it yet, chill until needed on a lightly floured plate or tray. Poke with a fork in multiple places to provide ventilation. 


7. Gather the pastry with a rolling pin and gently layer it over the skillet, tucking the edges in all around the fruit. An egg wash is optional. 




8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes minutes, or until pastry is nicely browned and the fruits are bubbling around the edges.


9. Let cool in the pan at least 10 minutes. To invert, top with a serving plate or stand and grasp the pan and plate tightly together as a unit (wearing oven mitts is recommended!) and flip quickly. Remove the pan. If any fruit stick to the pan, just replace them where they should go on the tart. 


10. Serve warm, with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or crème fraîche if desired.



Notes:
  • Instead of peaches, you could use canned pears or pineapple in this recipe
  • You can use a split vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract
  • You can add in nuts of your choice for crunch such as almond slivers, crushed walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts
  • Letting the tart rest after baking will thicken up the juices so do wait a while before inverting
  • Serve the dessert soon after inverting it on the serving dish otherwise the juices will soak into the puff pastry and render it soggy. A shortcrust pastry is a more robust substitute for the puff pastry
  • Leftovers keep well in the fridge, rewarm gently before serving

Cheers,
Megha

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