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Tartes tatin with salt caramel and smoked almonds (V)

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I've been making tarte tatin for years, and then a guest asked me if I'd ever eaten a salted caramel version. We also had some smoked almonds lying around, which I'd been eating in handfuls, with raw apple and it occurred to me that they, too, would be a great addition.

 

The classic way of making tarte tatin is to do it all in one dish - that is, to caramelise the sugar in an ovenproof pan and add the apples to it. I use separate pans, partly because I don't have an ovenproof shallow pan and partly because I like the aesthetic of serving individual miniature versions at the supperclub. But by all means make it in the classic way, in a single large pan, if you prefer. If you do so, you may need another couple of apples.

 

Serves 6


For the pastry

150g plain flour

80g butter

30g icing sugar

1 egg, beaten

 

For the filling

3 apples, peeled, cored and halved (if you have time, leave them once peeled to dry out in the fridge for a few hours)

100g caster sugar

40g butter

a handful of whole smoked almonds

fleur de sel

 

First make the pastry. Rub the flour into the butter and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in enough of the egg to bring the mixture together (you will probably need about half to two-thirds). You want a soft dough, but not a sticky one. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

 

Heat the oven to 210°C. Butter and line a 6 hole muffin tin.

 

To make the filling, heat the sugar over a medium-high heat until melted and dark brown with a strong caramel smell. Stir in the butter until melted, then divide the caramel between the 6 muffin moulds. Scatter a few smoked almonds and a pinch of fleur de sel into each. Take each apple half and press lightly, round side down, into each mould.

 

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to about half a centimetre thick. Cut six rounds, slightly larger than the apples' diameter, and put each one over the top of the six apple halves, tucking it in around the edges into the muffin tin.

 

Bake for about half an hour until the pastry is golden-brown. Leave to cool for five to ten minutes, then invert the tin with a large plate or baking sheet on top. The individual tartes should drop out, right way up (pastry on the bottom) complete with smoked almond caramel on top.

 

Eat warm, or at room temperature, optionally with vanilla icecream.

 


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