Cinnamon Apple Tarte Tatin
So my finger’s finally feeling normal again. Why not try out something crazy? Something crazy like puff pastry?
I’ve only ever heard and read about what a nightmare puff pastry can be. So when I came across a recipe that was described as ‘quick puff pastry’ I thought to myself, “Wow! Easy-peasy lemon squeezy”.
In the “Sharper the knife, the less you cry” the author writes, “You cannot rush puff pastry. You must show it respect, like a person you admire”. But for a person who runs quite low on patience in general, it is hard to show respect to a seemingly inanimate chunk of buttery dough when it’s sticking to anything and everything and refuses to be rolled out easily. One would need patience in Gandhi proportions – the dough needs to be rolled out and folded at least 4 times, with an hour’s rest in the fridge in between each time.
Meanwhile I got a crack on with my cinnamon apples. I peeled, cored and sliced across 2 medium-sized granny smith apples (6 slices each). I melted 100g of butter in my lovely and sturdy new Staub cast-iron cocotte along with 50g sugar over medium heat.
Once it turned into a sauce-like consistency I mixed in half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and cooked the apples for about 5 minutes. I then placed each slice into a muffin hole in a 12-hole pan, spooning some syrup over them.
Once I had used up my modicum of patience and got through my 4th fold, I rolled the pastry out to roughly 1cm thickness and cut out circles using a cutter matching the muffin hole size. I then laid each circle gently over the apples in the muffin tray and baked for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C.
I kept peeping into the oven to see if there was any puffing action going on in there. Five minutes in…nope, none. Seven minutes in…nope, none, negative. Ten minutes in…umm is that a puff? A teeny tiny puff? I don’t know. Fifteen minutes in and Yei! Puffing action! So I let them bake for a bit more till they got golden crusts and let them rest for 2 minutes before I flipped them out carefully on a wire rack.
I’ve only limited myself to trying out one. It was buttery and yummy but not fluffy enough. I’m going to have to borrow some patience from Mr Gandhi next time.
Quick Puff Pastry Recipe (from Not Quite Nigella)
100g unsalted butter, melted, cool to room temperature
500g plain flour
2.5 tsps salt
1 cup water
300g best unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
1. Combine melted butter, flour, salt and water until a dough is formed. Add in frozen butter cubes, make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough as much as you can. Shape dough into a rough 8″ x 10″ x 1″ (thick) rectangle, wrap it in plastic and rest in fridge at least 1 hour, max. 12 hours.
2. Lightly flour the work table, roll dough to 10″ x 23″ rectangle, fold the short sides to the middle (the book fold) and then fold one half over the other half (like a leaflet). Rest for 1 hour. During rolling, don’t add to much flour as that toughens the pastry. Whenever you feel the dough sticky, chill in fridge and let it get harden again. And anytime the dough refuses to spread out, also, rest it in fridge for 15 minutes or so; the gluten in dough will be relax again.
3. Repeat this folding process 2-3 more times. Rest overnight or for an hour before using.