I'd expected and hoped to be writing a different post today. A post dedicated as much to recounting a fun-filled reunion with my best friend N as to the delicious tarte tatin we'd have baked together. But Mother Nature clearly had other plans. Snowy slick wintry weather plans that crippled London's Heathrow Airport to a surprising extent and are thus keeping N and me just as far apart as we've been for the last 2 years.
While I agree safety should be their top concern, I can't help but feel an intense frustration for not only N and myself but also the thousands of other families and loved ones who're losing the precious time they'd planned to spend together. It boggles the mind a bit that such a major airport would be so ill-prepared for a little snow (at least compared to my area's "Snowpocalypse" last winter 8p).
Debbie Downer for good, let me assure you that
Though I'm still desperately hoping to meet up with N for even a few hours, I clearly have a lot to be thankful for and look forward to. So with a warm and cheerful heart, I still made this lovely tarte tatin on the day N had planned to join me. As I took my first taste, I knew she'd have loved its warm spices and little bursts of tartness. I'll definitely be saving this recipe for whenever we do meet up, whether in a week or a year.
Do you also have someone you love but won't be able to see this winter? If so, is there something special you cook or bake to remind you of them?
Cranberry Apple Tarte Tatin [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Waitrose and Good Housekeeping
XIAOLU'S NOTES: The original recipe called for 1 tsp of British "mixed spice." I don't have access to this, so I used some of its component spices instead. Feel free to use mixed spice if you have it. If you have a 9-inch ovenproof pan, you can use it to cook the fruit then spread the pastry directly on top. Dried cranberries will also work if you don't have fresh.
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, soft
2 to 3 large firm apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (I used Ambrosia and Gala)
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Pinch each of ground nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
Pastry Dough (Recipe below)
Melt the butter in a large frying pan until foaming. Add the sugar and apples, and cook gently over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the apples begin to soften and the sugar is dark and syrupy. Stir in the cranberries, pecans and spices and continue cooking for another 5 minutes (some cranberries will break open).
Transfer the buttery apple mixture to a 9-inch round shallow cake pan (not springform) or tarte tatin pan. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the pastry dough into a disk, roughly 10 inches in diameter, to fit the top of the pan. Lay the pastry over the top of the apples, trim away any excess and tuck the pastry in around the sides. Chill for 5 minutes.
Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. To turn out the tart, place a serving plate over the top of the still-hot pan and invert, taking care to protect your hands from the extremely hot liquid caramel. Cut into wedges and serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened cream, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up
2 Tbsp trans-fat free vegetable shortening
1 tsp lemon zest
4 to 5 Tbsp ice water
In a food processor, with knife blade attached, blend flour and salt. Add butter and shortening, then pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pulse in lemon peel. Sprinkle in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until large, moist crumbs just begin to form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, 1 hour to overnight. (If refrigerated overnight, let dough stand at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling.)