For the following two weeks, while I am in France, I am going to try a new pastry. Every. Single. Day.
In case you haven’t memorized your multiplication tables yet (don’t worry, I haven’t either), that’s fourteen pastries. Is that a lot? Honestly, I would be eating that many pastries—or more—anyway, so I might as well get something out of it besides an empty wallet and a gourmet French dessert baby kicking at my stomach.
So what is culturally significant about fourteen variations of dark, rich, chocolate, flaky dough, and vanilla beans? I plan on finding out, one bite at a time.
Read the entire series here.
The Daily Pastry marathon continues with yet another classic French favorite: tarte tatin. This dessert is truly a celebration of apples. By caramelizing them in butter and sugar and then baking the apples into the buttery-salty tart crust, this simple, common fruit truly becomes a phénomène.
Obviously, I think this is delicious, but what makes it even better is its awesome history. But before we delve into that, take a look at this gooey goodness:
In the 1880s, two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, owned and operated Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. Stéphanie did most of the cooking, which must’ve been exhausting, so understandably one day, while making a traditional apple pie, she left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. When she smelled the burning, she rushed to fix the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, essentially making a longer-baked, upside-down apple pie. The hotel guests loved the accidental creation.
Word of their tart spread across France. One legend says that Louis Vaudable, owner of Maxim’s, even disguised himself as a gardener at the Hotel Tatin to get the recipe. As he described it, “I used to hunt around Lamotte-Beuvron in my youth and had discovered, in a very small hotel run by elderly ladies, a marvelous dessert listed on the menu under tarte solognote; I questioned the kitchen staff about its recipe, but was sternly rebuffed. Undaunted, I got myself hired as a gardener, but three days later, I was fired when it became clear that I could hardly plant a cabbage; however this was long enough to pierce the secrets of the kitchen; I brought the recipe back and put it on my own menu under 'tarte des demoiselles Tatin.’”
This guy had the guts to not only steal the recipe, but also steal the sisters’ family name. That is the power of this dessert. In short (in case it wasn't already obvious), highly recommended.