Tuesday 18 December 2012

Salted Caramel and Rosemary Tart Tatin

If you cast your mind back (or scroll to the post before this) you may remember me regaling you in some detail how I was suddenly struck dumb(er) by the potential flavour combination of salted caramel and rosemary and how originally I envisaged it in some kind of apple dish (that at the time I couldn’t be arsed to make) well; hang on to your aprons people…I have pulled my finger out, and I have created, no…crafted… with my own fair hands, something…golden brown….

Oh yeah!

It’s a Salted Caramel and Rosemary Tart Tatin, and to replicate it’s wonder you need only read hither….

Salted Caramel and Rosemary Tart Tatin

You’ll need:-

For the tart:

200g Puff Pastry
12-14 medium Cox’s Apples
10g Butter – Melted
1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
2 Heaped Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Rosemary
1 Lemon

For the Caramel:

50ml Water
100g Caster Sugar
25g Butter
2 Hefty pinches of Maldon Sea Salt

You’ll also need an 18cm baking or pie tin, 4-5 cm deep, preferably a solid one-piece job, not the removable bottom type.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to around 2mm thick, place on a baking tray, and chill, covered with Clingfilm for 20 mins.

Cut a circle out of the pastry, 20cm in diameter. Prick all over with a fork and place back in the fridge.

Next, make the caramel. Put the water in a small saucepan, and scatter over the sugar. Let it absorb for a couple of minutes, then place on a medium heat and leave it. Don’t stir. Simmer until it turns a deep golden caramel colour, quickly stir in the butter and add your Maldon Salt. Quickly pour into your baking tin, turning to make sure the bottom is evenly coated.

Peel, halve and core the apples, placing into a bowl of water as you go, to which you’ve added a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C
Arrange your apples in the baking tin. First, sitting a half apple in the middle cut side up and topped with another half apple, cut side down. Place the rest of the apple halves upright around the edge in a circle. Cut the remaining apples into wedges and plug all the gaps. Really squeeze as much apple in as you can, the finished result will be better.
Brush melted butter over the top. Sprinkle with the caster sugar and the finely chopped Rosemary.

Bake the tin in the oven for 35 mins.

Remove and place your puff pastry circle over the top of the apples, tucking down the edges inside the tin with the handle of a teaspoon.

Place back in the oven, and bake for another 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Finally remove and let it cool down, for a good 1-2 hours.

To unmould, slide a sharp knife around the edge, place a large plate on top and flip, giving it a gentle shake to release the tart.
Serve with Crème Fraiche or Vanilla Ice Cream.

Friday 7 December 2012

Salted Caramel and Rosemary Baked Custard

Every now and again I have a flash of recipe inspiration. A gear slips somewhere in my brain, and just for a moment the dull grey veil that obscures my normal waking state, parts and I suddenly see flavours, textures and twists on classic dishes in extreme high definition clarity and then, it’s gone and I’m left scrambling to make sense and notes of my vision.

Of course I’d like you to think that my ‘gift’ is something special, enviable and absolutely infallible. An idea that could best described as absolute cobblers. I’m sad to say I’ve dreamt up some absolutely shocking ideas in the past; I was once adamant that I could get grapes to somehow work in mashed potato, to the subsequent disgusted grimace of everyone I shared it with. But sometimes…

I’d certainly seen the flavour combination somewhere else and forgotten, but the other day came an idea; rudely shoulder-barging aside any more mundane thoughts ‘apple, rosemary and salted caramel, I scribbled this down and mused on it a while. Deciding that I definitely couldn’t be arsed to do anything with apples right then, I thought on it some more and then it came. A crème caramel (or baked custard if you’re me) infused with rosemary and topped with salted caramel.

Right then and there, I decided to give it a go, mentally ticking off the short list of ingredients and realising that I probably didn’t have to buy a thing. Result.

As is often the way, I started making it, and then half way through wondered if anyone else had made something similar and wrote about it previously. A cursory Google provided the answer ‘not really’ which was slightly worrying. I ploughed on regardless, my quick research break had confirmed that rosemary and salted caramel go together, so what the hell.

Later that evening, I unmolded my inaugural Salted Caramel and Rosemary Baked Custard. Despite having made an individual portion that could choke a donkey, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact it was bloody nice. The rosemary-flavoured custard was perhaps a bit too subtle (I think I’ve fixed this in the recipe below) but yeah, I’m happy with the results.

Here’s the recipe – I’d really like to know what you think.

Salted Caramel and Rosemary Baked Custard

Serves 3 Greedy bastardos or 4 slightly more sensible people

Salted Caramel:
65g Sugar
3 Tbs Water
Generous pinch of Maldon Sea Salt

Rosemary Custard:
3 Sprigs of Rosemary (leaves stripped and chopped)
130g Sugar
Pinch of Salt
470ml Full Fat Milk
½ Vanilla Pod or equivalent in Extract
2 Whole Eggs
3 Egg Yolks
Vegetable Oil or other neutral oil.

Of course, you’ll also need 3 or 4 individual moulds or ramekins.

Preheat your oven to 160C

First, make the salted caramel. In a small pan, bring the sugar and the water to the boil. Turn it down a little so it’s not boiling quite so furiously and watch it like a hawk. When it turns a nice deep caramel colour, quickly sprinkle in your generous pinch of Maldon and give the pan a swirl.

Quickly pour the salted caramel into your moulds, making sure to coat the bottom and a little way up the sides. When they’ve cooled, grease the sides with the vegetable oil.

To make the custard, add the rosemary, sugar, salt, vanilla and milk to a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and allow to remain at the boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and put aside for 5 minutes

In a bowl, beat the eggs and yolks together then slowly add your warm milk mixture, beating all the time.

Pass through a fine sieve and leave to stand for 5 mins.

Skim off the foam and any bubbles on the surface.

Pour the custard into your moulds, and place them into a bain-marie using a roasting tin with boiling water two-thirds of the way up the sides. Place into your pre-heated oven and cook for 30-40 mins, until the centre is set and no longer liquid.

Remove from the oven, cool and then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

To unmold, run a sharp knife around the edges, place a small plate on top, and flip over, giving it a bit of a gentle shake.