Sometimes you have days when things go wrong. Sometimes those days turn into weeks! I have just had one of those weeks. Nothing I have baked this week seems to have worked!
On Saturday night we had friends round for dinner. In my head I had everything perfectly planned. As always I was on dessert alert and Tim was doing the main meal cooking. My timings were all set (in my head at least) and I already had all the ingredients I needed as I had dashed into Waitrose on Friday to get Tomar (a non dairy butter that tastes great in pastry and is Parve so can be used in kosher desserts for after a meat dinner). My trip for a “few essential ingredients” turned into a £75 shop and we hadn’t even decided what were making for the main meal yet! Damn those great offers/magazines/early Channuka pressents!
Epic Fail No.1- The Banoffee pie
When it came to choosing deserts Beau really wanted Banofffee pie, which she helped me make. Once it came out of the fridge and was cut into slices it was more goo than anything else and the base was as good as welded onto the pie dish. I won’t mention that I hadn’t whipped up enough cream to pipe over the bananas and it looked really, really sad. I had to serve it anyway. Banoffee goo!
Epic Fail No.2- The Tarte Tatin and Honeycomb ice cream
Tim suggested that I make this Tarte Tartin which I had made last month to take to my Mum’s for our family Rosh Hashanah meal. It went down really well then and he loves it. This time I managed to over bake the pastry but that didn’t seem to stop anyone enjoying it on the night. I also made Honeycomb ice cream to go with the tarte. I didn’t read my friends recipe instructions properly and started making it at 1pm. It was supposed to go in the freezer for at least 8 hours- preferably over night! There were kids coming for dinner and we weren’t expecting to eat that late! Oh well. I decided to go for it. In the end it came out after just 6 hours and was rock solid. Everyone had finished their desserts before it was soft enough to scoop and serve. I still managed to add a dollop to my guests now nearly empty plates. (It did taste good though).
Epic Fail No.3- Chocolate pudding
I really wanted to make Chocolate pots. You know those little individual chocolate puddings you get that when you cut into them they have delicious melted chocolate ooozing from inside? Well, I tried out the recipe from The first Great British Bake off book with my girls and my 4 year old nephew last Friday for the first time. Even with lots of little hands helping me and spilling most of the ingredients, I still had more success then, than I did this time.
Saturday nights chocolate pots were a complete last minute thing. I had to make sure that I was showered, the house clean and tidy, girls dressed and table laid before I even started to make them. Figuring that my guests would be a little late (because I always am) I started pulling ingredients out 10 minutes before they were due to arrive. That’s when I discovered that I only had self raising flour not plain flour as I needed! Oh well, what could go wrong? LOTS it would seem!
My guests arrived just as I was putting the cake mix into each of the holes of the muffin tin. I put the whole thing into the fridge ready for later. Time to pour the wine.
After our meal I put the muffin tin into the oven for 12 minutes. Once ready, I took them out and left them for a minute or two to set. I then got a chopping board and inverted the tin onto it, ready to see if they would release easily. They did. A bit too easily! Eight of the 12 cakes came splurging out all over the worktop. Hot molten chocolate everywhere! I then managed to drop the hot muffin tin into all the spilt cake goo! It was a mess. But a mess that smelt gorgeous. (Have I mentioned that we have a kitchen diner and everyone was watching me make a mess of it?) Serious EPIC FAIL! I just had to laugh. It was all going horribly wrong. I write a cake blog showing people how to make cakes! This is not supposed to happen to me!!!! Luckily I have great friends who know me well enough to know that this is just what happens with me when I do an “add on”. I could’t just leave it at two desserts and an ice cream. I had to ‘add on’ just one more! Lesson well and truly learnt….. well for now anyway.
Needless to say that the Banoffee Goo, chocolate splats , over baked Tarte Tatin and rock solid ice cream were all tasted and good sounds of “Mmmmm” were to be heard over the dinner table. Even if it was from the nine year olds!
So onto the Tarte Tatin.
This tarte recipe is for a 20cm (8″) pie dish and will serve 8 people
For the pastry
- 200g butter / Tomar / Cookeen- at room temperature
- 320g plain flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp cold water
- 3tbsp caster sugar
For the filling
- 450g cooking apples
- 400g eating apples ( I used 4 small Gala)
- 50g butter / Tomar
- 4tbsp apricot jam
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
How to make Tarte Tatin
To make the pastry add the butter to the flour and use your hands to mix them together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until you have a dough. Avoid over kneading as this will create a tough textured pastry. Once all the ingredients are bound together wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When the pasty is chilled heat your oven to 180ºC/ Gas 5. Knead and roll it out so that you have enough to fill your pie dish. It should be nice and thin. When I made this one I pinched the top edge of the dish and then cut off the excess straight away, but it’s actually a better idea to leave the excess on until you have done the blind bake. That way the pastry is a little baked and won’t have shrunk down into the dish. It will sit flush with the top if you cut off the excess after the first bake with the ceramic beans.
To bake blind: Use a fork to make holes in the pastry case. Scrunch up a piece of baking paper (silicon paper is best and less prone to sticking) and place it over the pastry. Fill the dish with ceramic beans and then bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the pie dish from the oven. Carefully take out the ceramic beans and silicon paper and bake for another 5 minutes until it turns golden but not brown. Place the pie dish on a cooling rack till the apple filling is ready.
To make the filling: Peel, core and cube the cooking apples and place them in a lidded frying pan with a knob of butter. Cover and cook them over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they become soft. Then add the golden caster sugar and 2 tbsp of apricot jam and stir in well. Use a fork to mush the apples to a puree consistency. I like to leave a few bigger pieces in there. Set aside to cool down.
Prepare the eating apples by coring them. You can peel them but I think the tarte looks so pretty with the skin showing. Also it cooks down so much that it will be nice and soft to eat. Cut each apple into quarters then each quarter into three or four very thin slices.
Add the puree apple to the pastry case, covering the bottom, then arrange your apple slices on top. Finally brush the decorative apple slices with the lemon juice and pop it in the oven (again at 180ºC gas 6) for 20 minutes or until the apple slices start to brown up nicely.
Et Voila! One epic non-disaster Tarte Tatin. Let’s hope this week brings me a lot more success!!!