Johannesburg

How to cook a French tarte tatin by Chef Garth Bedford and Institut Français SA

27 May 2020
If there's anything that can cheer you up during these Corona times then it's a delicious meal and who knows more about cooking up something special than the French?

Throughout May the Institut Français of South Africa (IFAS) has teamed up with top guest chefs from South Africa, France and Francophone countries to share some culinary expertise and delicious recipes with a French flavour.

This week in the #MyConfinement cooking series Garth Bedford, Head Chef at Joostenberg Bistro in Stellenbosch shares his recipe for how to make that most classically French dessert - apple tarte tatin. You can watch Garth demonstrating the recipe here on the IFAS facebook page.

After time spent in the UK running his own bistro, in 2013 Garth Bedford returned to South Africa to head up the busy kitchen at top Winelands restaurant Joostenberg Bistro in Stellenbosch. Garth's distinctive bistronomy style mixes classic old-style French influences with lots of seasonal ideas inspired by fresh local produce.

A classic French bistro dish, Garth points out that now is the perfect time to make apple tarte tatin as South Africa's apples are especially delicious in autumn. To serve you can prep a crème Chantilly although nothing beats vanilla ice cream. 

Apple tarte tatin

Ingredients for the pastry: 
250g flour
75g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk

Ingredients for the caramel:
150g caster sugar
1kg apples (Pink lady or Granny)

Equipment: 
Mixer
Roasting tray for apples
Foil Tarte tray
Rolling pin
Peeler 
Knife
Cutting board

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and start to prepare the pastry. 

Preparing the sweet pastry: In a mixing machine, add the butter and icing sugar and cream together until light. The icing sugar will give the pastry a crumbly feel and lightness to the pastry. Once you have a light mix start slowly adding the cake flour to the mixture. Do not overwork the pastry. Finally, add the egg yolk and leave the mixer going for about a minute, then put in the fridge to rest.  

Preparing the roasted apples: Peel the apples from top to bottom. This will give them a neat appearance when you present the torte at the table. Cut the apple in half and core. Put the cut apples facing down on your roasting tray and add butter. Cover the tray with foil or a lid to allow the apples to steam in the butter. Oven roast for about 20-25 minutes.

For the caramel: Put the sugar in a pan and turn the heat up high. Add a drop of water and allow the sugar to melt and darken. Be careful not to let your caramel get too dark because it will continue to cook in the oven, resulting in a burnt caramel. However, you also do not want your caramel to be too light as it's nice to have a little bitter note in there. The caramel will start boiling and then as it starts to change colour you will be ready to pour the caramel on the foil tarte tray. Let it cool until hard.  If you are wondering how exactly the caramel should look, watch Garth's video here.

Dressing your tarte: Remember that this is an upside down tarte! Place the apples facing up on the hard caramel. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to a 5mm thickness. Take another foil tray to cut the pastry to the size and shape of your tarte tray and place the pastry on top of your apples. Tuck the pastry into the sides, this will help it to hold in the apple juice and caramel.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes in the oven. The pastry should be nice and golden. Remove from the oven and flip onto a large plate straight away. Be careful not to burn yourself as the tarte is still hot!

Enjoy with a scoop of vanille ice cream, crème chantilly, or simply on its own! Bon appétit!

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