I was browsing through my older blog posts when I discovered one which had a section of code that was all messed up. I had to reenter the block of text in the draft in order to fix it, and in the process I read what I wrote line by line. It was a paragraph that was particularly ridden with frustration and disappointment with the circumstances that I was facing at the time. Memories came flooding back. I recall, in the midst of my angst and fury, deliberating over which words to use that most accurately described how I felt, because I needed to get the emotions out. I tried to wield words like a weapon, to somehow strike back at the injustice that was dealt. And I think I succeeded, considering how I felt today when I re-read the text.
A dark start to the post perhaps, but there’s a silver lining. It made me realise once again how much I love writing as a medium to express my emotions, to have the ability to evoke a response through words on paper (technically, text on screen, albeit a less romantic phrase). Effervescence, was the word that surfaced in my mind when this realisation hit. Euphoria was probably the second. I effing love language. This year marks the eleventh year I started blogging (shoutout to Blogger for bearing the brunt of my angsty teenager thoughts) and I’m pretty sure I’ll be continuing this for another eleven more.
Okay, now for the focal point of this post – the dessert of course. I’d been seeing posts of this sort of modern rendition of a tarte tartin circulating on Instagram. I did not know if there was a common way to refer to this in the pastry world, but I had a hard time finding a recipe for the apple layer. In the end I resorted to YouTube where I found a video in French that was pretty close to what I wanted to make. I feel that the recipe still needs a leeetle more tweaking because the apple layer was extremely sticky and hard to remove from the mold. You have to work extremely fast while the layer is still frozen solid.
I made a small experimental batch of five tarts, of which only one I felt was presentable – a cool 20% success rate. I’m glad that I had one winner to show for my efforts because how glorious is that shine? It’s beautiful. You can’t go wrong with caramelized apples and rich, nutty crème d’amande and a buttery shortcrust pastry that crumbles with a light amount of pressure. Although the apple layer needs more work, I’m leaving the recipe I followed here as reference for future modifications. If it’s currently winter where you live, you might have a pretty good shot at pulling this off. Best of luck Xx
Modern Apple Tarte Tartin
makes 5 tarts
For the tart crust:
102 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams icing sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
64 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 large egg yolk
For the frangipane:
50 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
50 grams icing sugar, sifted
40 grams whole egg, beaten
2 teaspoons rum
50 grams finely ground almonds
For the caramel apple layer:
4 medium apples, diced
30 grams unsalted butter
100 grams sugar
45 grams heavy cream
50 grams honey
2 leaves gelatin
For the clear glaze:
200 grams sugar
130 ml water
6 leaves gelatin
Make the caramel apple layer: Sauté the apples in butter until softened. Be careful not to let them burn. Set aside.
Place the sugar in a saucepan and cook until it turns a medium amber colour. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the heavy cream, then the honey. Soften the gelatin leaves in cool water. Squeeze out the excess water and stir into the caramel until completely dissolved and integrated. Stir in the diced apples. Transfer mixture into a silicon mold. Freeze overnight.
Make the tart dough: Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely. Add in the egg and pulse to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc and cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for at least an hour.
Evenly roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s roughly 3~4mm thick. Divide the dough into portions, press firmly into the tartlet molds and trim off any excess dough. Prick the bottom of the crust and return to the fridge for at least an hour. Bake at 170C for 10 minutes. In the meantime, make the frangipane.
Make the frangipane: Beat the butter and icing sugar together until combined. Beat in the egg, then the rum until incorporated. Stir in the ground almonds. Divide the almond cream evenly amongst the tart crusts You may have more almond cream than necessary, you don’t have to use it all. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the tops are just beginning to brown. Set aside to cool.
Make the clear glaze: Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Soften the gelatin leaves in cool water, squeeze out excess water and stir into the sugar mixture. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Assemble the tart: Working quickly, remove the apple caramel layer from the mold. Dip in the cooled glaze mixture, scrape off the excess and place on top of the tart. Pipe chantilly cream around the edges and decorate with mint leaves.