Monday 23 April 2012

Toffee Apple Pie

I love apple pie, as does my husband, but our kids just don't get on with it. So, after seeing chef Raymond Blanc make it on TV, I thought I would try something a bit different and finally found an apple pie that we all love. What we fondly call "Toffee Apple Pie", with its delicious caramelised apples and crisp puff pastry, is better known as Tarte Tatin. An upside down pie first created, by accident, by the Tatin sisters in their hotel in France in the 1880s.

The most difficult part of this recipe to master is the caramel. You want to get it to a beautiful golden brown colour to get that bitter caramel flavour that contrasts so well with the tart apples.

Too pale and you don't get the fullness of flavour, but leave it too long and you will suddenly find your caramel too dark and then it just tastes burned! Don't be afraid to throw it away and start over.

The best thing is to experiment with your pan. I have found that if I remove my caramel from the heat when it is about half way to the colour I want, the residual heat in the pan will take it the rest of the way without burning it.

I add my apples in halves, simply because I prefer the way the pie looks when it is done.

I also find that my puff pastry rises better if I cut it exactly the size of the pan (I use the lid to make an impression in the pastry, then cut around it) and don't 'tuck in the edges,' but that is probably just a matter of preference.

Mmmm, just look at the rich colour of those apples, the gloss of the caramel and the crumbly, crispy layers of golden pastry...

...all it needs now is a dollop of ice cream.


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