Apple Tarte Tatin, Mezze, And DC

Hello All! It’s been a while. The past few weeks have been a flurry of long car rides, students, grading, parents, plane trips, and apples. It’s been tiring. 


I got back yesterday from DC very very late, and very very exhausted, but for the first time in a while, I fell asleep without an alarm clock.

Columns at the Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial with my finger in the picture

I believe that is called ecstasy. Not waking up to the sound of a horrible little music chime, but instead to the little rays of sunlight shining through your partially shut eyes. Lounging around in bed for an extra half an hour, only partially awake until your puppy licks your arm demanding to be pet. 


Needless to say, it was awesome. 


I was in DC for a medical school interview, and for obvious reasons I can’t write about it. It was nice to experience rain again! And even though I was there for less than 24 hours, I was lucky enough to see the Lincoln memorial in the little time I had between the interview and the flight. It was a beautiful city, and I feel lucky to have been able to see it. 


On my way bake…I had the biggest urge to cook. I mean seriously, just for the sake of it, mix together things that would make something tasty. I know it seems like that’s always the case, nothing new…but it’s not. Sometimes it’s a real drag to cook, and I go for weeks on end without an idea, without a thought about what to make. So I read my own baking/cooking blogs, and I use of their ideas, and try it out, but it’s never the same as coming up with my own sha-bang, or tweaking one of theirs to make it mine. 


So today, I made a Mezze plate and an apple tarte tatin. A tarte tatin, according to wikipedia, was invented in a French hotel, Hotel Tatin, which was owned by two sisters. One day, one of the sisters was overworked and tired, and started to make an apple pie. She accidentally left the apples in the butter and sugar for two long, and it caramelized. Trying to save the dish, she put a pastry base on it, and baked the whole thing in the oven. When she pulled it out, and flipped it over, she was surprised how good it tasted, and how much the guests loved it. It just went on from there…

I must say, it’s a beautiful dish…but, unlike any other tart or pie I’ve ever had, I felt like I didn’t actually NEED the crust, the apples by themselves in the caramel sauce were AMAZING. 


Besides that, I also made some home-roasted red peppers…it seems odd to say “homemade” roasted red peppers since I did buy them from Whole Foods…but anyways, it was SUPER easy. So viola! Two/three recipes for the price of one in this post…enjoy!


Mezze Plate


It had peppered goat cheese, home roasted red peppers in a garlic marinade, homemade hummus, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and assorted olives. I served it with warm bread and olive oil. 



Peppered Goat Cheese


Take goat cheese that has been sitting at room temperature so it’s soft and easy to work with. Use about 7-8 tablespoons of it, and mix it until it’s soft, add in a splash of cream (about a 1/2 a tbsp.) and some salt and pepper to taste, and viola, done! 


How to Roast a Red Pepper


This is surprisingly easy, all you need is a gas stove. Buy some red peppers (large) from the store, preferably ones with stems, since it’ll be easier. Wash them, make sure that they don’t have any stickers on them. 

Then get a large bowl ready to put them in after they’re roasted, with a cover (either plastic wrap or a plate that will fit on top). The point is  that after we roast them, we stick them in the bowl so that their steam will finish softening them. 


Anyways, turn the stove on high, and place the red pepper directly on top of the flame. You might hear some crackles and pops, but that’s okay, that’s just the water sublimating. Keep it on the stove until the skin of the red pepper is nice and charred all over. Don’t get worried if it’s taking a while, that’s normal. 


As soon as the entire thing is charred, place it in the bowl, and cover it. IMPORTANT: don’t open the cover except to put in another pepper. The steam needs to stay trapped.


As soon as you’re done charring all the peppers, set up another bowl with a fine-mesh sieve placed on top. Then take one of the peppers, and slice it from the step to the tip. Then gently cut the stem and the seeds out, and place them in the sieve. If there is any liquid in the pepper, go ahead and run into the bowl under the sieve. Flip the pepper over, and using your fingers or the back of a knife, remove the charred part, slice up the pepper, and put it in the bowl. Do this with all of them.

When you’re done, go ahead and mix in some chopped garlic, a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. You can keep them in the fridge in a container for about a week, or serve them fresh! 

Apple Tarte Tatin
Modified from joythebaker.com


7 apples, peeled and cored, and quarted (gala or fuji)
1 stick butter (4 oz)
0.75 cups sugar
4 tbsp. lemon or orange marmalade. [subsitute: 2 tbsp. lemon or orange and 1 tbsp. zest]
1 puff pastry tart
1 cast iron pot or dutch oven


Preheat the oven to 375F


In the cast iron pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then take it off the heat, and mix in the sugar. Make sure the sugar is spread over the entire bottom, and then arrange the apples prettily on the bottom, in concentric circles, starting from the outside, in. 

 

Then heat the whole sha-bang on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. The sugar will caramelize and the apples will cook. After about 10 minutes, the apples will have gotten smaller, so any left over apples can be smooshed in there. Cook for another 5 min. 


While this is going, cut the puff pastry in a circle (I used a large plate as an outline) to fit over the apples. After you cut it, put it in the fridge to keep it cool, along with the scraps, which you can use along the sides of the tart.


After the apples are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then place the puff pastry cover over the top. Make sure to push the edges down along the sides, and if there is any space that’s not covered, use the scraps to cover it. 

Then toss the whole thing in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. The apples will absorb the carmel mixture during this time while the crust cooks.


After it’s done, pull it out of the oven, and let it cool for 30 minutes, it’ll be SUPER HOT, and super messy if you try to pull the tart out before it cools. 


When you want to take it out, run a knife along the edges, and place a large plate on the bottom, grab each side with pot holders and then just flip it over.. I suggest flipping it over the sink as some caramel sauce might still be loose and spill like it did with me. 

But then you’re done! Serve warm with some ice cream! It should keep for another day or two 🙂  


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