Sunday, 3 February 2013

Leek tarte tatin

I love how a coincidence can make for a creative outcome. Did you know the tarte tatin was actually an accident and should have turned out like a perfectly normal apple tart? The story goes the elderly St├ęphanie Tatin, who ran a hotel in France in the 1880s with her sister, got confused and put the pastry on the top of her apples rather than the bottom. An alternate story is that she was overworked and simply forgot the apples and sugar in the pan and when realising her mistake put the pastry on top and all quickly in the oven in order to rescue the dish. Either way it makes for a pretty tasty outcome.
My recipe involves baby leeks rather than apples but you could swap them for anything that is in season and takes your fancy, sweet or savoury. Just go easy on the salt and pepper. Or maybe not, could be a great new invention too and could turn our taste buds upside down.


1 sheet puff pastry
150g baby leeks (6-8)
50g salted butter
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of nutmeg
twig of thyme or mixed herbs
cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Wash the baby leeks and cut to 2-3cm long wheelsIn a small pan melt the butter and sugar until it starts to caramelise. Add the nutmeg and herbs and arrange the leek wheels in the pan and turn temperature down to medium so the leeks won't burn but start to cook. Cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan and place on top of the leeks. Tuck under and pierce a hole in the center so steam can escape. Bake in the oven for 15-20min or until the pastry is golden brown in colour. Flip over onto a plate but be careful with the hot pan.

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