Thursday, 6 August 2015

Pineapple Tarte Tatin

If you want a dessert that is quick to make and is sure to impress, you really cannot go wrong with a tarte tatin. A classic tarte tatin is made using apples but is easily adapted to include other fruit. Essentially the fruit is cooked in caramel and then baked with a puff pastry topping which then becomes the base when you turn it out to serve. Tarte tatins are sweet and sticky and you can almost feel your arteries hardening with every mouthful but they taste heavenly and are one of those desserts which seem universally popular.
 
This version is full of the tropical flavours of pineapple and dark rum and is absolutely delicious. You do need to use a fresh pineapple to make it as tinned fruit is too flaccid and disintegrates when you initially cook it in the caramel before finishing off in the oven. Luckily fresh pineapples are relatively cheap at the moment, so it is quite an economical dish to make.
 
As I always mention… you can, of course, have a go and making your own puff pastry but there are plenty of good brands available to buy so unless you are a baking purist, I suggest using one of these. Do try to get an all-butter version though, because the taste and texture is far superior.
 
You can make individual tarte tatins, using one ‘ring’ of pineapple per serving, but I prefer making one large one which I then divide into portions before serving.
 
This is a dessert that should be served immediately; ideally with a large scoop of ice-cream (e.g. vanilla or coconut) which then begins to melt seductively when it feels the heat from the tarte. I love the contrast of the cool and creamy ice-cream against the hot and sticky tarte.
 
Finally, I made my caramel with a generous glug of dark rum, but you can replace this with some orange juice if you prefer.
 

Ingredients:

60g butter
220g caster sugar
60ml dark rum
1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
1 medium sized pineapple, sliced evenly into 6 rings (remove the woody core)
375g all-butter puff pastry
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200C/Fan Oven 180C/Gas Mark 6.
2. Heat the butter in a large non-stick, oven-proof frying pan with the sugar and rum. Add the vanilla seeds and pod and allow the mixture to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple rings to the pan so that they are all in a single layer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the pineapple halfway through this time so that both sides of each slice are evenly caramelised. Remove from the heat and set aside briefly, placing it on a baking tray while you prepare the pastry.
3. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of about 4-5mm. Using a sharp knife, cut a circle out of the pastry which is about 2cms wider than the circumference of your frying pan.
4. Place the pastry on top of the pineapple and caramel in the frying pan making sure that it covers everything. Tuck the pastry in around the inner edges of the frying pan and cut a small slit in the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven.
5. CAREFULLY invert the tarte tatin onto a large serving plate and serve immediately, divided into portions with a scoop of ice-cream.

Serves 4-6.