RECIPE: Actually three recipes in one (Mini Tartes Tatins, Delicate Sweet Pastry and Fruit Glaze), these tarts were fairly easy to follow, but you definitely need to be precise and follow the instructions. The recipe asked for a combination of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples, which at this time of year I was unable to get, so I had to use only Granny Smiths.
COMPONENTS: It’s very important to freeze the rolled pastry before cutting it. What the recipe doesn’t tell you is it’s best to let it sit for half a minute once you take it out of the freezer because if you cut straight away the pastry sheet cracks. The lightly floured circles of pastry lifted up with the cutter, which meant you could gently pop them out on to the baking tray. I cut them to 3mm thick but then they spread in the oven so ended up being more like 2mm, which was a bit thin. My heart always races when making caramel, which doesn’t help. I made a perfect caramel, then poured it onto the apples before adding the water and butter. It immediately set to toffee, which I then had to remove before starting the caramel again. It worked perfectly the second time with the water and butter added at the appropriate time. Keep hands away from the sugar as you add the warm water – it spits. I baked the apple in a shallow baking tray with the caramel, but what is important is that the apple is in a single layer so the liquid can reduce properly at the end of the bake (mine was more like a double layer). I pressed the apple in a fine sieve to remove the last of the liquid before placing it into the moulds. The fruit glaze was straightforward and doesn’t take long. I did realise halfway through grating the citrus peel (fortunately before I added it to the sugar mix) that the recipe had said to use a peeler so it was possible to strain it out at the end.
ASSEMBLY: The apple took longer than the suggested hour to become firm enough in the freezer to push out on to the moulds. Fully frozen is fine, and the glaze works beautifully spooned over a the apples on a rack before putting the apple on the pastry.
IMPRESSIONS: This tasted okay but they were more tart than I expected, which may have been because of my choice of apples. The apple texture wasn’t that exciting. Having said that, everyone at work raved about them, possibly because they weren’t overly sweet like tarts can be sometimes. It was a good exercise for practicing technique, but I probably wouldn’t bake this one again.
Recipe from Patisserie by Christophe Felder