A Tarte Tatin for Quatorze Juillet
The photo above was from last January's Epiphany post. If you're thinking "I don't remember that post", then you're exactly right, because I wrote it, but never posted it! (Even with Winston looking as cute as ever in his Picasso turtleneck and beret!)
Oh people, if you only knew how many times I started writing a post and then never finished because I got side-tracked by perfectionism. This last year has been teaching me lessons about releasing those tendencies and I've made great strides. I've been thinking of writing shorter, but more frequent posts and now, it seems that Covid has provided me with the perfect opportunity to try this experiment. Provided that I'm not too weary, I'm going to try to keep it up till the end of the month. Let's see how it goes and be sure to let me know whether you're enjoying it.
Ironically, it's exactly one year ago today that I created the dessert that I featured in last year's "End of the Summer" post! AND even though it was clearly meant for the 14 Juillet (AKA Bastille Day) 2021, I was such a perfectionist that I didn't post it till Labor Day! And then I didn't write another post till TODAY!! Clearly there is a lesson that is coming round to me once again and this time, I intend to absorb the teachings, stop this self-sabotaging behavior and boldly move forward.
So, that brings us to now: As I mentioned in my previous email/post. I'm lamenting the fact that we couldn't go to the theatre tonight to see the stage production of Moulin Rouge, but in honor of the day, I am sharing this à propos and delicious post with you. It's late on the night of July 14, 2022 and this post that I ordinarily would write off as "too tardy" to post, is getting posted no matter what, because I said I would do it and because reformed perfectionist me, says: "It's never too tardy for tarts". (I might have to make a t-shirt with that printed on it!)
So, rewind to last Saturday night: After a fun and productive rehearsal of "Love Outshines the Moon", we returned home to learn that our sons PCR lab tests came back positive for Covid. Not only that, but Paul was also starting to show symptoms. Faced with the knowledge that it was surely coming down the pike for for me, and we were going to have to cancel the July show, it was all too much to bear. There was nothing else to do, but create some comfort food. In this case, a nectarine Tarte Tatin (upside down tart). Usually Tarte Tatin is made with apples, but as we had a bounty of delicious nectarines from the farmer's market, it's what I used. Though it's also not what I learned in my cooking classes in Paris, I'll tell you that my shortcut is to use store bought pastry dough. And although I loved the even cooking and beautiful caramelization achieved in a copper pan, I don't own one, so I use a non-stick oven safe pan.
Here's what you'll need:
1 package store bought puff pastry dough
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1-2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract. (I like more, so I use about a tablespoon)
4-5 nectarines cut into slices
Optional: Vanilla ice cream if you like it "à la mode"
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Over a medium flame, melt the butter in a non-stick oven proof pan.
Add 1/2 cup sugar and pinch of salt. It will look like a golden sand.
Add the fruit (nectarines, peaches, apples, whichever you prefer)
Lower the heat a tiny bit and gently stir the fruit as it cooks (or shake the pan if the fruit is too delicate to stir). Continue for about 15 minutes till the the sugar turns a caramel color.
While the fruit cooks, roll out 1 sheet of the store bought pastry dough to fit your pan.
Remove the pan from the heat, and cover the fruit with the dough. Tuck in the edges and cut several slots in the dough to allow steam to escape.
Bake about 25 minutes or until browned.
Let cool 10 minutes in the pan.
Then invert the pan onto a large serving dish. I'm a bit wobbly on this part, so I used the biggest platter we had, to reduce the margin of error. I also used Paul to flip it!
So there you have it: A delicious and easy tart that will impress with very little effort. The thing I like about this recipe is that its so simple, so humble, but so good. As Julia Child would say "Bon appétit". -Xoj