Thank you all for the birthday wishes and much appreciated compliments on Katherine’s cake. It really was a delicious bake, very impressive indeed. We had a lovely week in Aylesbury, though sods law came into play a little and the weather has improved exactly one day after arriving back in Aberystwyth. Oh well, at least it is finally here and the month-long deluge is over. Prepare yourselves for a lengthy, but comical, rant regarding pastry!
There are two schools of thought with regard to the pastry with which it is most appropriate to prepare a tarte tatin; one puts its faith in puff pastry, the other in short-crust. Of course, there are arguments for and against each candidate and there are some that dare to declare that it doesn’t matter which one uses. Those who take the more ambivalent viewpoint shall be banished from proceedings, left to revel in their exodus, unable to decide whether they like their new surroundings more than those they were previously amidst. As you can see, my opinion is that short-crust pastry is the most appropriate choice for a tarte tatin; this is because puff pastry is easily waterlogged and can find itself, particularly when used in this dessert, likely to undergo a strange metamorphosis from decadent crispiness, to flaccid sogginess. One may, of course, contend that it is richer than short-crust and therefore is better suited to the artery destroying filling of a tarte tatin. However, I feel that the crust should merely provide the filling with a back-bone and shouldn’t attempt to pilfer too much thunder.
What a long paragraph that was – I do hope no-one was hurt in its blast-radius. Anyway, I suppose I ought to say one or two words about the filling itself. To be honest, there is little difference between a traditional tarte tatin and the one you see before you. Both are delicious, deadly and rather moreish. It is an incredibly buttery dessert and in some ways I believe apricots work better than apples, since they provide the dish with a little contrast which tends to cut across the sweetness of the sugar – this makes for a more interesting mouthful. Whether you agree with this statement or not, I’m sure that you’ll thoroughly enjoy the proceedings. Enjoy the sun, Britain, summer has at long last arrived.
Apricot Tarte Tatin
• 7-8 fresh apricots, halved
• 100g granulated sugar
• 50g salted butter
• A little water
1. Prepare your pastry according to the recipe linked above. Preheat the oven to 200C. Begin caramelising 75g of the sugar in a little water, in a medium-sized oven-proof pan – be careful not to burn it. Stir in half of the butter and press in the apricot halves.
2. After cooking the apricots in the sugar and butter for 5 minutes, dot over the remaining butter – set the pan aside. Roll out the pastry until relatively thin and carefully place on top of the apricots, trim the edges off and press down gently. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the pastry and bake until golden brown. Enjoy with a little cream or ice cream.
Cost: Apricots are very cheap this time of the year, with these costing a mere £1. The rest of the ingredients, though decadent, are always reasonably priced. As such, one can make this extremely pleasing and well-known dessert for little more than £2!