I hope you are all enjoying the crunchy autumn leaves, fresher air and cosy nights now that autumn is in full swing. However, as the nights draw in, although the days are filled with colour, I find the need to distract myself from the darkness and bring myself into the light.
Unsurprisingly, this time of year is synonymous with baking and warmth, as we come to terms with the shorter days. So this year, I have decided to take the opportunity to bake a selection of new recipes to fill the kitchen with comforting wafts of baking bread, caramelizing sugar and the fruits of the season.
ESB’s Autumn of Baking was born when I had the idea of sharing the recipes I am baking with you, to allow you to join me in making yourself feel cosy in your own kitchen. All the recipes I have chosen are by other bakers, but I will be here to share with you my experience and give you the odd extra tip here and there.
I would love it if you would like to join me in baking up some new delights or just to read my posts to give you an Autumnal moment in your day. If you decide to bake any of my selection, please do tag me in your pictures on Instagram @EnglishSingingB and use the hashtag #esbautumnofbaking.
I plan to upload a new recipe post every Wednesday at 1800 GMT as a midweek pick-me-up so you know when a new post will be ready to read.
In this first, of six posts, I am going tell you how I got on making the first recipe on my list – Ma Tante’s Tarte Tatin.
The history of the ‘tarte tatin’ varies depending on who you ask. The most popular version of the story is that there were a pair of sisters in France during the 1880s, who owned the Hotel Tatin. They made a popular apple tart but one day one of the sisters made the mistake of burning the apples and instead of throwing them away, quickly covered the apples with pastry and baked it. It became an instant hit and has been a French classic ever since.
The classic tarte tatin is made from scratch with caster sugar but this simplified version uses dark muscvado which creates a caramel flavour without the stress of making caramel. It also uses granny smith apples which keep their shape during the baking.
I have called it ‘My Tante’s Tarte Tatin’ as I learnt this recipe from my aunt when I was in France earlier this year. Here is the recipe…
3 apples (a sharp eating apple, such as a Granny Smith)
3 oz salted butter
3 oz dark muscvado sugar
A packet of store bought all-butter puff pastry
Vanilla Icecream, to serve
20 cm round spring-form cake tin
A rolling pin
A small saucepan
A wooden spoon
A sharp knife
A baking tray
How to make the bake
- Preheat the oven to 180’C and start by preparing the pastry. Take the pastry out of its packaging and place on a floured surface. Take the base out of the cake tin you are using and place on top of the pastry. Cut around the outline of the base, allowing a few centimetres of excess around the edge. Then set aside in the fridge till you want to use it.
- Melt the butter and sugar in the small saucepan. Stir with the wooden spoon until the mixture is melted together and bubbling. Take off the heat, pour into the cake tin and swirl around to make an even layer of caramel. Leave it to cool while you prepare the apples.
- Peel the apples and cut them into four around the core. Then cut each quarter into 1 cm slices, about four slices per piece. (ESB Top Tip : To stop the apples turning brown, put the cut slices into a bowl filled with water and a squeeze of lemon juice!)
- When the caramel has cooled slightly, place the apples in a circular pattern on top. Remember that the pattern you create will be seen when you serve the tart, as you turn it upside down. Make it as pretty as you can, filling all available holes with smaller pieces of apple.
- Take your rolled pastry circle out of the fridge and place on top of the caramel and apples. Tuck in the pastry around the edges and then place on a baking tray (to prevent spillages) before baking in the preheated oven. (ESB Top Tip : You can make this tart a couple of hours ahead of time. Just leave it on a free surface until you want to bake it and then put it in the oven when you are ready!)
- Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the top of the pastry is golden and the caramel is bubbling up around the edges.
- Leave the tart to cool for a couple of minutes out of the oven before carefully turning it over on to a serving plate. This is quite tricky so make sure you take your time and don’t burn your fingers!
- Serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Bon appetit!
Thank you for popping by my blog today and I hope you enjoyed my aunt’s take on a tarte tatin as much as I did. It really is delicious and a perfect dessert to make use of the abundance of apples at this time of year!
I hope you can join me for my next instalment of ESB’s Autumn of Baking but until next Wednesday,
English Singing Baker x