It all started out innocently enough.
K made an extraordinary chicken soup for Friday night dinner, and, as several of us are a bit under the weather, we decided to have it again for lunch on Saturday. Lunch was late yesterday, we slurped our soup at 2:30, and that is how the scheme was hatched.
Spying a recipe I hadn't tried, I proposed that we finish our soup, that K go fetch me a lemon, and that I make a Tarte Tatin for our six o'clock meal. I further tempted them with a cheese board at eight, with a baguette, to round out the day.

No one could imagine the failure that was to befall us. Or me.

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Don't you think this is funny, Mom, because it says Dwarves and I'm kind of a short guy?
Oldest was in a chatty mood while I was going over the recipe. Perhaps I missed something.
Also, he's not that short.

pirates and ninjas

There was a raging battle between a Pirate and a Ninja while I was choosing the apples. I really didn't understand how a Ninja, with no firearms or sword, could possibly win against a pirate with two pistols and a scabbard, and perhaps that's how I chose the wrong apples.


I've tried many Tarte Tatin recipes in the past couple of years, but I never did one wherein the apples are set aside, in some sugar and lemon juice to drain. So, I did that - and then I began the sugar to caramel process. The recipe, I am realizing now, was not well written. It didn't specify how high the heat should have been or how long it should have taken to caramelize the sugar - but that is no excuse for me touching the sugar to see if it was done. This resulted in a stinging burn to my right index finger. I managed to hold an ice cube on it though, so it never blistered.

With the sugar successfully burned without ever going through the brown and delicious stage,
I proceeded to plop the drained apples in the pan. After cooking them within an inch of their lives in the burned sugar, I topped the mess with a store-bought crust. We didn't have two hours for home-made crust to chill, but, don't worry, I suffered for this too.

Into the oven it went. There were vague mentions of a cookie sheet, then no cookie sheet, and I finally decided, while the phone was ringing, to go with no cookie sheet. This time in the oven allowed the crust to take on an oveny flavor while absorbing the charcoaly burned sugar aroma at the same time.

While discussing North Face jackets with brother L, who spends his free time shopping rather than kayaking, I realized that it was time to retrieve Mr. Tatin from the oven.
All covered up with crappy dough, it didn't look that bad.

I was still on the phone when I decided it was time to flip the mess over. Flipping the tarte over ensures that the wondrous caramel slides down over the juicy apples and puts the crispy, buttery crust on the bottom. Sounds good, doesn't it?
I may have been distracted when I grabbed the handle of the saute pan without an oven mitt.
That's how I burned my palm. I hung up on L too.


It really takes both hands to flip a Tarte Tatin.

It didn't look much better on the plate either...



K is not a stupid man.

dinner use

The cheese was delicious.

Oh, and, if you have a chance, ask Irene for some saucisson. We've just finished the last of it and it was superb.


Another day, another tarte.

I hope your burns are feeling better.
Anonymous said…
what north face jacket was discussed?

Wendy said…

A tarte could best me any day of the week.
Geggie said…
I love saucisson, with my current fave cheese, fromanger d'affinois. Lovely!

Sorry about the tarte. Even vanilla ice cream couldn't rescue it?
Anonymous said…
Oh sugar burns!
Ive seen students taste it, touch it, the master pastry chef was building a 30ft sculpture for the opening of a ballet in town and he took all the skin off 1 palm, it was nasty!
I can't tell you how many times I've grabbed the hot handle after I take a saute pan out of the oven and turn around to grab something.
You should see my
Anonymous said…
You had me snickering and moaning along with your disastrous adventure, right up until you showed the tarte innards embedded in your stovetop. Now THAT hurts. Brings tear to my eyes, really.

Good work with the ice cube, though.
My Google search for saucisson led me to this AMAZING blog called Ms Glaze's Pommes d'Amour with recipes and beautiful pictures of French food. Oooh,la,la.
Nora :) said…
I worked in a grocery store bakery in high school. We did not traffic in tartes of any sort, but I got a nasty burn all across my right palm from a chocolate donut glazing incident. I had something of a claw for a right hand for most of my senior year.
Anonymous said…
K, the genius.
And that saucisson looks very much like our cacciatorini, of which there are a thousand varieties just as in saucisson.
How's your burn today, any better?
Unknown said…
Ow. I hope your hand feels better, too! It is so disappointing when a recipe looks like it is going to be good and then isn't.
Birchsprite said…
ooops. It's the thought that counts...and that cheese does indeed look delicious
alice c said…
Must be something in the atmosphere - I had that kind of a day too.
What are those little things on the cheeseboard? Those white pellet things?
TheOneTrueSue said…
Ouch, ouch, ouch! Hot sugar is so stinkin' hot - it sticks to you and burns while it sticks.
Annagrace said…
Oh my goodness...
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
This is the 4th attempt at Tarte Tatin. We are not sure that Tarte Tatin actually exists except in recipe books. We are pretty good cooks and this just escapes us. Any French chefs out there willing to tell us the secret?

MsCellania said…
Sorry but I busted out laughing. Not about the burns, but still - you did everything but scrape this sucker off the floor!
Harkens me back to the day I tried my New Pressure Cooker, circa 1972. And ended up drop kicking a beef roast resoundingly down our alley; yes - all the way from one end to the other - as it was first raw, then dropped on the floor, then burnt me (a nasty steam burn!) and then ended up tough as shoe leather upon its final moment of truth. We ate Twinkies and milk, as usual, for dinner that night. I was 18! I didn't even know how to boil water and my mil thought a pressure cooker would solve our dinner prep issues. HA!
KPB said…
I have nothing to say.
Terese said…
Stephanie Alexander's Apple Tart recipe is very good;

Bake shortcrust pastry blind at 200'C for 20 mins. Remove and reduce oven temp to 180.
Remove weights allow pastry to cool. Warm apricot jam and brush over case. Arrange sliced apple in concentric circle. Bake 15 mins. Baste with remaining jam and cook a further 20 mins until apple caramelises.

(I did this once in a flan tin with a removable bottom - a big mistake - make sure you use a tart tin that is in one piece.)
Mary said…
Ouch. and bugger!

From a book by David Herbert called Complete Perfect Recipes -

3 tablespoons apricot jam
1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed
2 dessert apples
2 tablespoons sugar
10g (1/4 oz) butter

preheat oven to 400 degrees F Gas Mark 6. Add two tablespoons of hot water to the jam and stir until soft and spreadable.

Place sheet of pastry on an oven tray and line with baking paper. Trim to make a 9 in circle. Brush half jam mixture over pastry leaving a 3/4 in border all around.

Peel halve and core the apples and cut each half into thin slices. Lay the slices slightly overlapping over the pastry again leaving 3/4 inch border all around.

Sprinke the apples with the sugar and dot with the butter. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until pastry border is golden and its edges have risen.

glaze tart with remaining jam. Cut and serve with cream or ice cream.

Can also substitute pears, nectarines or plums (no need to peel those).

Extremely simple. Extremely tasty. Maybe not authentically french!
Caset said…
uf! such sadness! i hope your burns feel better...

There was a wonderful piece on npr about a month ago where michele norris made the nation's mouths water listening to her eat the tarte tatin she made with dorie greenspan. sounds amazing!
Anonymous said…
Would this be a Tarte Tataint?

Anonymous said…
oh no, how's your hand bb?
wish I could send you saucisson AND tarte tatin. maybe I will :)
Keetha said…
Oh, honey! I hate when such a loving, well-intentioned project goes awry.

Hope your burns are better.
Anonymous said…
Ow, ow, OW. I hope your hands are okay. That coulda been bad. What am I saying? It WAS bad.
Unknown said…
I once made a tarte tartin on a wood stove in Maine. WAY up in Maine. It was amazing, but every one I've tried to make subsequently has turned out horrid. I just don't carmelize apples well or something.
Alice said…
Effort should count.
Then they would be delicious...