Shallot Tarte Tatin

I know , I know, savoury Tarte Tatin is all the rage these days and not wishing to be outdone, I made my Bubble and Squeak version a couple of weeks ago.

We were heading to North London for our family Christmas Dinner. The North Finchley Crew, after defying President Macrons sudden rule that Les Britanniques were not welcome in France after midnight on the 17 December, dashed across the Channel in the middle of the night to spend Christmas in France, are decamping to Devon with the other side of their family. So Willowy Blond had us all there. Willowy Brunette took on the dessert along with her 12 year old adorable niece and Myself the starters.

I could have made life simple by, doing smoked salmon, with its trimmings but decided to be more adventurous and make individual Shallot Tatin. Actually very easy, just a lot of shallots and lots of paper tissues or perhaps, onion defying glasses might have been better.

  • For 9/12 individual tarts
  • Allow at least 3 shallots per person and even then I needed some more
  • At least 4 oz butter, but add more if needed.
  • Some dried herbs, rosemary/ thyme or fresh parsley
  • A good splodge of Balsamic vinegar ( maybe 1/2 a cup)
  • About a teaspoon of black pepper
  • A reasonable pinch of salt.
  • How to do it !
  • Peel the shallots and keep one whole per person , the rest slice.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy pan, or if making a lot a wok or large sauce pan, and add the whole shallots and gently fry them so that they cook more or less through and caramelise nicely. Set to one side
  • Add the sliced shallots to the pan add more butter if needed and sauté, stirring from time to time so that they are again more or less cooked and are caramelised.
  • Put one whole shallot into each ramekin and fill up with the cooked slices. Put to one side and make the pastry. Of course you can always use bought pastry! No one will know !

To make my quick and easy pastry, using a food processor you will need

  • 260 grms plain flour
  • 140 grms cold unsalted butter cut into chunks
  • Pinch or two of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten with 60 mls cold water.
  • What to do
  • Put the flour, butter, salt into a food processor and process, the butter will go clunk, clunk for a few seconds and when it stops clunking, switch off, the mixture will look like bread crumbs. Switch on and pour in the water/ egg, and again it will clunk and the mixture will form roughly into a ball. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead gently until it is fully combined and get ready to roll it out.
  • The beauty of a tart Tatin, is that on serving it is tipped upside down and the juices will soak into the pastry. So roll the pastry out to about 1 centimetre ( and no you do not need a tape measure), and using a pastry cutter, cut out rounds marginally larger than your ramekins. Simply put on top of the ramekins, press down slightly and bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes long enough for pastry to brown. Obviously these can be made ahead of time, put to one side and baked just before serving, giving you a enough time to sip a few cocktails with your guests.
  • To serve, simply, put a plate of the top of the ramekin and invert. Be careful as the juices will be hot.

Willowy Brunette however was too busy working or swimming in minus temperatures outdoors so Himself took on a desert, ( more of that later) and Miss Tess made the most wonderful cheesecake ( she loves to bake and I need her recipe)!

Mid week dinner, Mark One ( a savoury Tarte Tatin)

Who doesn’t LOVE a Tarte TATIN? I don’t often make desserts but Tarte Tatin has to be up there with the best. Rustic, non refined, forget the deconstructed ones, go for the real McCoy, the full bodied, full blooded, the whole kit and caboodle. The thick rich short pastry, oozing with caramel that has seeped into the pastry , the apples likewise oozing with caramel. What’s not to like? Well it really has to be served with Ice Cream ( or even more decadent thick whipped double cream, or even even better Cornish cream, rich thick and yellow) my mouth is watering just thinking about it! ( just remember it freezes well, cut into slices and a quick zapp in the microwave to reheat).

But today I’m talking about alternative Tart Tatin, in reality not Tart Tatin at all but why not ring the changes. Yes you can. Currently an “In” version is shallot Tatin. And so thinking about that and scrolling through magazines and books, I came across Cabbage Tatin, and why not I asked myself. I had in my refrigerator a lovely sweet heart cabbage, some mushrooms and onions along with garlic, of course.

I made my standard food processor rich short pastry, but there is no shame in using shop bought. I sliced the mushrooms, the onions and the cabbage, the garlic and sautéed them in butter. Actually, this could be called BUBBLE and SQUEEK Tart Tatin.

  • Ingredients
  • 1small cabbage ( I used Hispi)
  • 2 Oz unsalted butter
  • 60 grams tomato purée
  • 4 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 100 grams button mushrooms sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2tsp Harissa paste or powder
  • I also used some Nduja for a little extra spicy tang
  • A quantity of readymade pastry

Method, Heat the oven to 190 C

Slice the cabbage and onions and sauté them in a large pan until slightly charred.

Remove from pan, add the tomato paste along with the Harissa. Stir and add about 1/4 litre water. Place the cabbage mix back into the pan and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until the liquid has evaporated

  • Cut the pastry to marginally bigger than your pan, and place on top of the cabbage mix, tuck in the edges and prick the top several times.
  • Bake in the middle shelf for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through .
  • Cool slightly
  • Then to serve place a plate over the top of the pan and carefully flip over onto the plate.
  • Serve with salad ,crème fraiche and a sprinkling of Zatar.