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Caramelized fruit tart heralds autumn
The cool days are back and it is time to reflect about the coming fall and winter months. I am spending this week harvesting apples and pears from several nearby orchards. The main idea is to caramelize all the fruit to make topping for meat and poultry, goat cheese or blue cheese salads, jam, sauces or to be used for apple and pear pie or tarte tatin.
I suggest that you obtain a peeler-slicer-corer tool. It will make the job of preparing fruit less arduous, especially if you are dealing with 20 pounds or more. You can order this tool online from several retailers.
For this week's tarte tatin recipe, I have selected Fuji apples and Anjou pears. Both need to be on the ripe side with a bit of firmness. The apples and pears are carefully caramelized in sugar, honey, vanilla extract, lemon juice and butter until they get the flavor and texture of caramel.
You can jar or freeze the caramelized fruits, or you can cook them further to transform them into an apple or pear sauce.
We will be serving apple tarte tatin this weekend at Café Collage.
CARAMELIZED APPLE OR PEAR TARTE TATIN
10 ounces unsalted butter
1⁄3 cup sugar
8 medium Fuji apples or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1⁄3 cup vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup local blackberry honey
1⁄4 cup Meyer lemon juice
3 cups flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
10 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream (add more if the dough is still dry)
To caramelize the fruit: Melt the butter in a 12-inch pan. Add the sugar and cook for five minutes, spreading the mixture evenly. Place the sliced fruit on top of the sugar layer; fit the slices together tightly. Add the vanilla, honey and lemon juice.
Set the pan over medium heat and cook until the melted butter mixture bubbles and turns golden brown. Adjust the flame to evenly brown all the fruit slices. The fruit will shrink when cooked.
If you want to prepare a large quantity of fruit, I recommend that you bake the apples or pears in the oven using a cookie sheet or baking pan following the same steps as if you are using a cooktop.
To make the dough: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs. Pulse until all the ingredients are mixed together. Gradually add the butter while pulsing. Add the cream.
Remove the dough from the container and knead it lightly to finish the mixing. Wrap it in plastic and let it a rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Keep any extra dough in the refrigerator for the next batch.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter six deep ramekins. Fill each ramekin with caramelized fruit. Add any of the extra juice from the pan.
Form the dough into six flat disks and cover each ramekin tightly with dough. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Let the ramekins cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the crust from the edges with a knife, so it does not stick. Invert each tarte onto a plate.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.