Then, I recalled the picture of the tarte at Australian MasterChef website and remember that the caramel of the MasterChef tarte is actually as dark and deep like mine. So, I embraced myself to take the first bite and it was surprisingly delicious. It was not burnt at all and both apple and pastry were very nicely cooked together.
This is my first time baking a tarte tatin. Based on this recipe, I thought that baking a tarte tatin should be easy and the description of the recipe in the Masterchef Australia Cookbook (volume one) is a little exaggerating but I was totally wrong...
The book wrote:
"Follow the recipe to the tee. Don't vary it, don't move it, don't do anything other than what the hell's on the recipe - Aaron (MasterChef season one contestant)"
Zoe: Really? (with my eyes rolled...)
The book wrote:
"...be careful not to cut your apples too thin"
" cutting each quarter at the core so it has a “flat” side"
Zoe: clueless... LOL!
The book wrote:
"When it's rested for ten minutes, you should be able to put your hand on the top of the tarte and spin it round. This is a really important part of the whole process. If it doesn't move, it's stuck - Gary (MasterChef judge)"
Zoe: Oh man! Mine is stuck!!!
Yes, my tarte was stuck to the pan but I was lucky enough to "poke" the stuck area off the pan. At this stage, I realised that baking a tarte tartin is really not as easy as I thought...
For an extra challenge, I have actually made my own puff pastry (in a rough form) and I reckon my pastry looks a little too thin and "brittle" for my 26 cm tarte but I was lucky again that most of the pastry on the tarte survive after the flip. Overall, it was a fun cooking experiment. I reckon that my thin but flaky and buttery pastry was in its right amount to compliment the caramel apples and the whole tarte was all gone in a flash. However, to be on the safe side, I will increase the amount of pastry slightly if I'm baking this again.
|"Did I burn my tarte?"... Luckily, I didn't.|
|Making the pastry dough|
|Making layers in the rough puff pastry|
|Cutting the apples... in my "clueless" way :p|
|Cooking the caramel apples|
|Ready to bake the tarte...|
|Happy to see that my rough puff pastry was puffing up :D|
|Phew! Most part of my tarte survived!|
|Serving my tarte with store bought custard|
|We are enjoying this combination of flaky pastry and deeply caramelised apples with custard. Yum!|
Here are the recipes (with my modification in blue).
Tarte tatin from the book, Masterchef Australia, The Cookbook (volume one) or Australian MasterChef website
3 Golden Delicious apples
(Golden Delicious is not available at the day of my shopping so I bought Red Delicious instead. Then, I realised Golden Delicious is not closely related to the Red Delicious. Ops!)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
20g unsalted butter, chopped
Ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
(I made my own rough puff pastry, see below)
Cream, to serve (I served mine with store bought vanilla custard)
Preheat oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan-forced)
Peel apples, cut into quarters, remove cores (cutting each quarter at the core so it has a “flat” side) (I don't really understand this and so I cut my apples to eighths), and toss the apples in a large bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the sugar.
Using a 20cm frying pan as a guide, cut pastry into a round slightly larger than the pan, prick with a fork.
Melt butter in a 20cm non-stick frying pan (Mine is 26 cm) over medium-high heat. Cover with the remaining sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, shaking pan occasionally to spread around any dark spots that appear, until a rich caramel forms.
Place apple into pan, rounded side down, arranging them around pan. Cut remaining apple to fill gaps. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 10 min until caramel is bubbling up in the pan, shaking pan occasionally to prevent burnt spots. (After 5 min of cooking, I did give my apples a flip to make sure that they are cooked evenly.)
Lay the pastry over the apples, tucking any protruding edges around edges of pan.
Place the pan in the oven, cook for about 25 min, or until the puff pastry has risen and cooked. The pastry should be dry and flaky. Stand tarte in pan for 10 min before carefully turning out onto a serving plate. Serve with cream (or custard)
Rough Puff Pastry from French Food Safari Book by Maeve O'Meara
This is an easier version of puff pastry. It can rise almost as much as the classic puff pastry but without having layers of butter folded inside it.
Recipe from Guillaume Brahimi
Makes 1.25 kg
500 g (3 1/2 cups) plain flour
500 g chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
250 ml iced water
Mound the flour on a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the butter and salt to the well and use your fingertips to gradually rub the flour into the butter. When the butter is in small pieces, giving the flour a grainy texture, gradually add the water. Mix until just incorporated into a dough. Shape into a disc and cover in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 min.
Place the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and roll it away from you into a long rectangle, about 20 x 40 cm (I didn't measure mine but definitely smaller than this size). Fold in one of the ends, going two-thirds of the way to the other end. Fold the other end on top, giving a stack of three layers like a folded pamphlet. Turn the stack so a short edge is facing you and roll out to another long rectangle, then fold into three again. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for another 30 min.
Repeat another set of rolls and folds (2 of each) and chill for another 30 min. The pastry is now ready to use. If you don't need to use all the pastry at once, it can be frozen.
Note: Using 1/4 of the recipe, I have made about 300g of pastry and used only half for making my tarte tatin.
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