Friday, September 14, 2012

(Individual) Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin

What comes to your mind when you think of French cuisine? 

Intricate, delicate, hard, Julia Child. 

Oh, Julia Child. What’s not to love from her? I embarrassedly admit I did not know who she was until I watch the movie Julie & Julia back in 2009. I was instantly hooked and inspired. I wasn’t even interested in cooking back then. I guess I started to cook intensely around late 2010 or early 2011. Do forgive my somewhat hazy memory; I am not quite useful when it comes to remembering timelines and names. 

After purchasing Julia’s book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking I tried several easy recipes and they were awesome. I was hooked on La Tarte Des Demoiselles Tatin. It is basically an apple tarte tatin. Tarte tatin itself actually has a very interesting story behind the rather accidental way it was created. In the 1880s, there was a hotel called Hotel Tatin about 100 miles south of Paris, France. Hotel Tatin was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, hence the name La Tarte Des Demoiselles Tatin. One day Stéphanie made an apple pie but left the apples cooked for far too long. Afraid the pastry would come to waste and burn; she inverted the pastry onto a baking pan and let it cooked with the apples on top. She was surprised that the almost burnt apple pie tasted different from the traditional apple pie and many guests loved it and since then it has become a classic French dish.

I cannot tell you how much I adore everything tatin; be it apple, pear, or pineapple. One day I was craving for something savory and I found a gorgeous Martha Stewart tatin recipe. It’s Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin. Looking at the list of ingredients, I was smitten. This pretty dish includes a balsamic syrup. How rustic! 


-3 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the pan.
-Flour to dust the pan.
-Store bought puff pastry to fit your pan.
-4 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds.
-5 small new potatoes, pelled.
-Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
-¼ cup balsamic vinegar
-A pinch of sugar


-Generously butter six individual pie tin (5 inch) or one 9 inch pie tin.
-Using the tin as a guideline, cut the puff pastry to fit in the tin, set aside and keep refrigerated. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210C.
-Lay two or three onion rounds on the bottom of each pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
-Slice the potatoes very thinly and place them slightly overlapping each other, over the onion to form a concentric circle. The potatoes should cover the onion. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
-Place chilled puff pastry rounds on top of the potatoes and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
-Immediately invert the tarts onto plates.
-In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture reduces into syrup, about 4 minutes. Whisk in butter, a piece at a time, until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
-Glaze the tarts with the balsamic syrup and serve.

I have been making this dish countless times ever since. I tweaked the recipe using different kinds of dried herbs and it just keeps getting better. Even though it is best when served warm, it is also lovely in room temperature. That is why I always make this whenever I feel down and need something so light and pretty to uplift my spirit. 

This Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin is such a chic idea to be served whenever you have a small party in your house or whenever you have some close friends come over. You will impress them with a dish so simple and cheap yet it looks and tastes like it’s coming from some French bistro. It can be assembled and refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, three to four hours in advance, then bake it just before serving.

So shoo.. go buy a pack of puff pastry. Don’t bother making it especially when you have other things that need worrying... like lazying about and choosing what DVD to watch. 

Enjoy this exquisitely beautiful dish!

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