Father’s Day: tarte tatin and éclairs redux

With frozen éclair shells still quite fresh in the freezer, what better to do than give them a little warmth and crisping for Father’s Day? My first adventure (last week) wasn’t bad, but I stuffed up the glaze a bit. This time round, all went wonderfully and lo! éclairs filled with mandarin whipped cream (lightly sweetened) and topped with a smooth, easy chocolate glaze.

A little fearful of the egginess of these shells (a very eggy choux pastry recipe), I made a backup dish as well. Now, when I say backup, what I really mean is to-be-eaten-sequentially, cos no backup dish ever gets left standing in my family. Éclairs well digested (or at least ingested), it was time to whip a tarte tatin out of the oven!

My first full-sized tarte tatin (I’ve made individual ones before which were ok, but not perfect). For those unfamiliar with it, tarte tatin is a simple upside-down apple tart, for want of a better definition. You line a tin with apple pieces, sugar and butter. This is covered with a shortcrust pastry (or in some recipes, puff pastry), and baked until the apples have softened and the sugar has become a delicious caramel, seemingly absorbed into the apple and the pastry.

Using the simplest method, described above, many people find they have too much liquid or thin caramel in the pan as the apples soften. To avoid this, many recipes make the caramel in advance, sauté the apple in advance, and then combine everything for the final spell in the oven… but that somewhat spoils the simplicity of this dish. If you cook in a hot oven, make sure there’s a small vent cut in the pastry, and if possible use a heavy pan, the tarte should come out beautifully after 30-45 mins. I took mine out of the oven after 35 mins and it could have done with perhaps another 10 mins just to reduce the caramel a teency bit more. But it was delicious just as it was!

9 thoughts on “Father’s Day: tarte tatin and éclairs redux”

  1. the tart looks stunning. Might we ask what apples you used, given that they don’t seem to have disintegrated during the cooking? Yum yum.

  2. Thanks Greg:) I used two Granny Smiths and a Royal Gala. I was a little afraid that the grannies would be too tart, but they were just right. I’ve seen recommendations for Braeburns and the unfamiliar-in-Aus Cox Pippins.

    Another tip I should add is not to cut the apples into thin slices. People often tend to do this, and I know I’ve done it when trying to make individual sized tartes. Result=lots of liquid. Older recipes often specify quarters, but they’re referring to much smaller apples than we see in Aus most of the time, so I’d recommend eighths (not smaller) for common largeish apple varieties.

  3. Duncan,
    This is my favorite tarte, I made it so many times and people are crazy with my tarte tatin. I agree with you about the simplicity of this tarte and I think is the most delicious apple tart out there. The way I make it, it’s a little bit different from yours. If you have the time, please take a peek of my tarte tatin. http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/search?q=tarte+tatin

  4. Hey, choux have a right to be eggy! Well, they do look wonderful 🙂

    I must confess, if you ordered me to make a tarte tatin today I would make it in the labor-intensive manner that you just described. I’ve never made one before, but it’s just the way I’ve been “taught” (and by that, I mean in books and on television). But I’ve no doubt that the simple version works equally well– after all, yours looks great.

  5. Sometimes you see recipes that have you put the pastry on while the apples are caramelising. Tried it once and the pastry melted into the apples.

    Nice looking tart, my tart for father’s day was an egg tart at yum cha!

  6. off-topic, but stimulated by Neil, is yum cha the new Fathers’ Day event? We went on Sunday morning, and were trampled in the rush….and this is Canberra!

  7. simple dish bu enough to make people sliver, thanks for the tips on the apple part, i think yum cha drink tea or gor for coffee shop to have coffee time in term of cantonise in malaysia

  8. It’s funny how many different tarte tatin recipes there around the traps. My current favourite french cookbook doesn’t add the pastry until half-way through the baking time!

    I agree, Greg (and breadpitt), yum cha seems to have been a very very popular choice this year!

    @elra: what a pretty tart!

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