I was lucky enough to spend a week in France with my family at the beginning of the month and was initially looking forward to doing a lot of baking with my Mum. However after a stressful couple of weeks of PhD work before I went away I ended up feeling ill for most of the holiday and then even worse when I got home. All I managed to make was a simple Victoria sponge to celebrate mine and my boyfriends 6 and half year anniversary which we shared with everyone else. When it came to making the tarte tatin for this month's Classic French challenge I had to pass over the majority of the work to my Mum as I just didn't feel well enough to do it. I'm feeling much better now and if I have time this month I'll have a go at a different tarte tatin.
We used the recipe from Larousse Gastronomique which I've already posted here along with the challenge details. This recipe is for a classic apple tarte tatin and we used the apples that my parents had been foraging from around the village. Normally they manage to harvest several kilos but this year the trees weren't bearing much fruit. The recipe calls for a 23cm tatin dish but my Mum only had a 20cm stainless ovenproof frying pan so we used that instead but we reduced the quantities of all the ingredients by 20%. We used the following quantities: 160g sugar, 180g butter, 640g apples. For the pastry we used 170g flour and 85g margarine, bit naughty as the recipe is supposed to use butter for the pastry but we ran out so had to substitute.
Even after living in France for over 6 years Mum hasn't made a proper tarte tatin following a French recipe so we were both looking forward to seeing how this would turn out. She seemed quite surprised by the amount of sugar and butter needed to caramelise the apples as when she's had a go in the past at her own version she's only used a couple of spoonfuls of butter and sugar. But in the spirit of the challenge we stuck to the recipe. After all Larousse Gastronomique is supposed to be the chefs bible. The only contribution I managed to make was to mix the butter and sugar together before laying the apples on top. I got Mum to peel and core the apples because she makes a much neater job of it than I do. We used shortcrust pastry as that is what the original recipe suggested even though I think many others tend to use puff pastry.
After baking and letting the pan cool for about 10 minutes I was given the dubious task of turning out the tart. This was only fair as I skived out of baking it. After a bit of hesitation the tart landed on the plate without making a mess. The apples weren't caramelised as much we thought they would be but the pastry was perfectly cooked. I don't know how she does it but my Mum's pastry is always so much better than mine. The tart was quite rich and the apples were very buttery and delicious. I think it's just as well the pastry was made with margarine instead of butter because I think it would have been a butter overload otherwise. Even though the tart tasted good, I can't see either us making this again except for special occasions simply because it is very heavy on the butter.
This is my entry into my Classic French challenge and also into Simple and in Season, as apples are currently in season, this month hosted by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen.
I'm also entering this into Made With Love Mondays and into the Bloggers Around the World challenge hosted by Chris where the theme is France.