Dessert
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Mini Nectarine Tarte Tatin


Prep time: 1 hr 5 mins | Cook time:  40 hr | Total time: 1hr 45 mins

serve 4-6

PUFF PASTRY

  • 125g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 250g/9oz unsalted butter, cold but not rock hard (or you can use half butter, half lard)
  • 50ml ice-cold water

TARTE TATIN

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted butter cubed
  • 300g fresh nectarine halved and stoned (about 4 apricots)
  • 50g plain flour for dusting
  • Ice cream, for serving

Method

PUFF PASTRY

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, then put the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes to chill. (Keeping the flour and bowl cold will help you to get a better result later and create nice layers of pastry.)

  2. Meanwhile, cut the butter into small cubes.

  3. Using a round-bladed knife, stir the butter into the bowl until each piece is well coated with flour.

  4. Pour in the water, then, working quickly, use the knife to bring everything together to a rough dough.

  5. Gather the dough in the bowl using one hand, then turn it onto the work surface. Squash the dough into a fat, flat sausage, without kneading. Wrap in cling film then chills the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  6. Lightly flour the work surface and the pastry. Roll out the pastry in one direction until it’s about 1cm thick and three times as long as it is wide, or about 45x15cm/18x6in. Straighten up the sides with your hands now and again, and try to keep the top and bottom edges as square as possible.

  7. Fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third down, to make a block about 15x15cm/6x6in. It doesn’t matter if the pastry isn’t exactly the right size – the important thing is that the corners are nice and square.

  8. Turn the dough so that its open edge is facing to the right, like a book. Press the edges of the pastry together with the rolling pin.

  9. Roll out and fold the pastry again, repeating this four times in all to make a smooth dough, with buttery streaks here and there. If the pastry feels greasy at any point, or starts to spring back when as you roll, then cover and chill it for 10 minutes before continuing.

  10. Chill the finished pastry for an hour, or ideally overnight, before using.

  11. When you use the pastry roll it out to about the thickness of a £1 coin, and cook it at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for about 30 minutes.

TARTE TATIN

  1. For caramelising the apricots, you need a small ovenproof frying pan with a base that measures about 20cm/8in in diameter. Put the sugar in the pan and set it over a medium heat. Cook until the sugar first melts and then caramelises and turns golden brown. Don’t stir the sugar but swirl it around the pan every now and then.

  2. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the butter with a wooden spoon. The caramel will be extremely hot so watch out for splashes and don’t dream of tasting it.

  3. Continue stirring for 2–3 minutes as the caramel cools and thickens. It will look oily and separated to begin with, but will become smooth and toffee-like as you continue stirring. When the caramel is smooth, carefully arrange the apricots on top, cut-side down. Leave to cool for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  5. Unroll the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out until it is 2cm/1in wider. Place a dinner plate or 25cm/10in cake tin on the pastry and cut around it.

  6. Gently slide the pastry on top of the apricots and push down the sides with a round-bladed knife. Prick the surface to allow steam to escape.

  7. Bake the Tarte Tatin for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown and the apricots are cooked. Remove the pan from the oven using an oven cloth to hold the handle of the pan – don’t forget – it will be very hot.

  8. Leave the tart to stand for a couple of minutes to allow it to settle, then loosen the edges and place a large serving plate or board on top of the frying pan. Very carefully, but quickly, turn it over, using a folded dry tea towel to help you hold it, and allow the Tarte Tatin to drop gently onto the serving plate.

  9. Serve warm with crème Fraiche or ice cream.

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