Saturday, 30 August 2014

My very first bakes - Tarte Tatin and Pineapple Upsidedown Cake

For my first bake I decided upon a Tarte Tatin, which is something I have wanted to taste, for such a long time.  I just loved the idea of the caramelised apples.  However the recipe I decided upon didn't have puff pastry, as is most common for a tatin, but rather it used shortcrust pastry.  But, even with the shortcrust pastry it wasn't to be rolled out and laid over the top of the apples. Rather it would be grated.

Now, as this was my first bake, and I had no idea just how much I would enjoy baking, it didn't occur to me to take a photo of the end result.  When I next make this recipe, though, I will take a photo and add it to this post.

The recipe I followed, with some additional comments, is below:

For the pastry
For the filling
  • 6 Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8-12 wedges.  You can use other firm apples such as Cox's, but I just love Braeburns
  • ¼ lemon
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 110g/4oz butter
To serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 250C/500F/Gas 9.
  2. First, make the pastry. In a food processor, mix the flour, butter and icing sugar just until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and, using the pulse button, mix until it comes together in a dough. Note:  I didn't have a food processor, so I crumbed the flour, butter and icing sugar between my fingertips.  Then when I achieved the breadcrumb state I added the other ingredients and mixed together. 
  3. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and divide into two pieces. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the freezer to chill for at least an hour.
  4. For the filling, place the apple wedges in a bowl, squeeze the lemon juice over them and toss them gently.
  5. Sprinkle 3/4  of the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and place on the hob over a medium heat, turning the pan frequently and making sure the sugar doesn't burn. Allow the sugar to caramelise a little and become a pale golden brown, then remove from the heat and arrange the drained apple pieces in one layer over the bottom of the pan. Note:  do not be tempted to stir the sugar at all, or it will start to crystalise.  You can add just a little water at the start if you wish to help the sugar dissove. 
  6. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the apples have softened a bit and started to release some liquid - about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the remaining sugar and dot the butter on top. Remove the pastry from the freezer and, using the coarse side of a cheese grater, grate the pastry with long steady strokes over the apples until it forms an even layer at least 2.5cm/1 inch thick. Do not press down. Return to the oven, turn the heat down to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and bake until the pastry is golden brown - about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a minute or two.
  8. Take a heatproof serving dish that is generously larger than the pan on all sides and place over the pan. Protecting your hands with a dry folded tea-towel, and holding the dish and pan firmly together, quickly and carefully flip the pan and the dish so that the pan is on top. Tap the pan sharply a few times all round with a wooden spoon, then lift off. The tart should be left on the serving dish with the apple on top.
  9. Serve warm with double cream,  or vanilla ice cream.
The result of my first attempt was very good indeed.  As I have nothing to compare it against my view is subjective.  However everyone who ate it thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.

Next up was a Pineapple Upside-down Cake.   

My choice of this was as my niece, one of the major tasters, had never had one.

It turned out very well though, as you will see from the photo, I am not one of natures naturally talented decorators.  The cherries were too small to fill the ring of the pineapple slices, so I had to use two each time.
Pineapple Upside-down Cake


Prep time:  15 mins - Cooking time - 40 mins(including standing time)

For the topping
  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 7 pineapples rings in syrup, drained and syrup
  • glacĂ© cherries
For the cake
  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. 
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Spread over the base and a quarter of the way up the sides of a 20-21cm round cake tin. Arrange pineapple rings on top, then place cherries in the centres of the rings.
  3. Place the cake ingredients in a bowl along with 2 tbsp of the pineapple syrup and, using an electric whisk, beat to a soft consistency. Spoon into the tin on top of the pineapple and smooth it out so it’s level. Bake for 35 mins. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then turn out onto a plate. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.
It turned out very well indeed, the cake part rising well, being very light.  Sorry that the photo doesn't show a side view as well.  Now that I have started this blog I will try to get better photos each time.

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