The abundance of ripe summer fruit has been driving me mad! I LOVE baking but my busyness has got the best of me and I’ve been missing out on one of my favourite pastimes. So I had to cheat a little… or compromise…whatever you are more comfortable with.
I was thinking that, since I don’t really have the time during the week or the energy during the weekend, why not use pre-made pastry when overripe plums are literally begging to be made into a pie of sorts. Puff pastry to the rescue as usual!
French Tarte Tatine is traditionally made with apples that are cooked in caramel, then are covered in puff pastry and baked in the oven until golden and crispy. It is then flipped over so the apples are on top and served with cream. As I mentioned above I had a bowl full of plums so I’ve adapted Jamie Oliver’s traditional recipe and made a Plum Tarte Tatin with Lavender Cream.
Warm, vanilla bean kissed plums cooked in a luscious caramel sauce then wrapped in delicate and flaky puff pastry make for a perfect afternoon tea companion. Now let me tell you about this lavender cream. Yes, I really put lavender flowers, that grow in front of my window, into my whipped cream and I am happy to report that It Was Heavenly. Slightly floral scent of the lavender quickly lifts the heavy cream and infuses the tarte with beautiful aroma of the summer. Just a little pinch goes a long way, don’t overdo it or you will risk ending up with something that tastes more like medicine than a sweet treat. 🙂
Despite worldwide fame and its impressive look, this classic French dessert is very easy to make as illustrated above; just a few simple steps that you master in no time. The trickiest part is flipping it over after it’s cooked. You need to do it while the caramel sauce is still runny so the tarte doesn’t stick to the pan. You also have to be very careful and not burn yourself with hot caramel sauce that might spill a little while flipping. It’s best done wearing oven mitts so your forearms are protected.
- plain flour , for dusting
- 500 g all-butter puff pastry
- 3 cups- ripe but firm plums
- 100 g sugar
- 100 ml Kirsch
- 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways, seeds scraped out
- 50 g butter, cubed
- 1 cup- heavy/double cream
- 2 tbsp- granulated sugar or use lavender infused sugar from Sainsburry's
- ⅛ tsp- dried lavender buds (skip if using lavender infused sugar)
- Preheat your oven to 190˚C/375˚F/gas 5. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out your puff pastry until it's just over 0.5cm thick. Set aside.
- Half the plums and pit them. Split a vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds with a knife.
- Put the non-stick and ovenproof pan on a medium heat and add the sugar, Kirsch, vanilla seeds and pod. Let the sugar dissolve and cook until the mixture forms a light caramel.
- Once the caramel looks thick and sticky, add cubes of butter, stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
- Carefully arrange your plum halves in caramel cut side down. (Keep the vanilla pod in, it will add much flavour and look gorgeous imprinted in your caramelised plums.)
- Then quickly drape your puff pastry over the plums and tuck the sides in with a wooden spoon. Remember to not touch the pan or hot caramel with your hands or you will suffer bad burns. (I burned myself twice)
- Bake the Tarte Tatin for 30 minutes, or until golden, with caramel bubbling around the edges.
- Let it rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Next step is to flip it over. Shake the pan lightly to make sure the tarte is still loose in the pan and the caramel hasn't gone hard.
- Put on oven mitts or cover your arm with a towel to prevent getting burned from hot caramel.
- Put a large plate on top of your pan and quickly turn the pan over so the tarte ends up on the plate. (If you flipped the pan but the tarte didn't come out just shake it lightly until it falls out.)
- Whip cream with sugar and lavender buds until stiff. Serve with hot Tarte Tatin.