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Guest Post By The Halal Gourmet: The Trial of the Tarte Tatin

Today I'm delighted to be bringing you a guest post by Umm Haneefah also known as The Halal Gourmet  who specialises in French cuisine within the limits of Allah i.e. no pork, wine etc.

Cooking up classy dishes like confit de canard salad and encouraging a sophisticated palate in the fussiest of eaters - children, with her squid cucumber lime muffins you will find something for everyone and then some.
What started out as delicious dalliance in the thick of apple season, with loads of butter and sugar, became an emotional rollercoaster that turned into a trial from Allaah, Azza wa Jal (The Mighty & Majestic).
apple tarte tatin

Tarte Tatin: the Upside-Down Apple Cake that nearly turned my life upside down.

When my dear sister, Umm Hamza, invited me to post on her blog, she hinted that she liked pastries.

Eeeek. My sweet tooth is well-established but, my "sweet thumb" is not nearly as honed.

While she did not obligate a pastry from me, I felt obliged nonetheless and I couldn't have been more thrilled!

Tarte Tatin is a renowned French apple upside-down cake that is to the French what Apple Pie is to Americans. This is the version found in The Complete Bocuse; a compilation of 500 recipes from the Master Chef Paul Bocuse who was named the chef of the century in 2011. He is often called the "father of modern French cuisine."

Not too shabby.

Mise En Place

I am really a stickler for Mise En Place because I have enough stress in my life. If you are a real keener, you will have everything measured out as well.
As you can see it is nothing complicated even for non-bakers like myself. So how did a simple pastry become such ordeal?

Of Pastries & Patience 

Well, things were going along swimmingly, peeling and coring away, all the while being terribly impressed with myself that my butter was all softened and ready to go.

The recipe asked for a tarte tatin pan or a large cake pan. Since I do not have a "tarte tatin" pan exactly, I figured my spring form pans would do. I happily buttered the bottoms away and started to tightly pack in my peeled and sliced apple pieces.
Oh, they look lovely enough don't they? Here I was half excited that I would have, not one, but two Tarte Tatins to feast on but slightly chagrined that I would have to make two pastries. But more excited for two apple cakes.

In the oven they went and I started to prep for my pastries. Until....

The entire kitchen started to fill with smoke and loud, violent hissing noises bellowed out of my oven.

I opened up the oven door to see sizzling, smoky puddles of butter and sugar caramelizing on my oven floor. I quickly started to yank the two pans out of the oven and witnessed the butter sobbing out of the tiny opening around the bottom of the spring form. 

Why on earth did I use spring form, I said silently, as I mentally kicked myself over and over. I took both pans and placed them onto a baking sheet that was on the stove as I tried to gather myself. 

Then...all of a sudden: CRASH! The copious amounts of butter draining, coupled with the slight slant of the baking sheet was the perfect surface for both of my spring forms to slide off the stove, capsize and come toppling down onto the kitchen floor.

I raised my hands and slapped them down in defeat. Then the tears started to flow. After coring, peeling and photographing the whole cake was ruined.

My husband was trying to cheer me up but I was utterly gutted. I sulked over to the stairs, sat and held my head in my hands and cried.

I mopily stomped upstairs, flung myself on the bed, camera still strung around my neck mind you, and shut off.
[Patience] In the sharee’ah, it is:
‘To restrain the tongue from complaining and whining, the soul from annoyance, and the limbs from slapping the cheeks, tearing off the pockets and the other foul acts that demonstrate a lack of patience' - Shaykh 'Ubayd al-Jaabiree (hafidhullaah ta'ala) in Explanation of The Three Fundamental Principles
Alhamdulillah, I didn't totally freak out. Just a few feminine tears and a clearly needed time out. I hope that I passed the test, inshaa' allaah.

Tarte Tatin: Take Two

What could I do? Qadrullahi ma saha fa'alu. It is the Will of Allaah and He does what He Wills, after all. The zowj was encouraging me saying that all was not lost since there were apples that did not hit the floor.

I started packing up my butter and salt and said "Alhamdulillah" that I didn't start the pastry. But I couldn't just leave it. I couldn't let a little sweet cake do me like that.

This cake was getting made one way or another. I found a glass pie dish and got on the horse again.
With every hardhip comes two eases, and I felt the ease as I finally placed the pastry onto the baked apples. And after 20 minutes I had my cake.
Because of all the chaos, I didn't get the caramelisation that this dish calls for but that's okay. It tasted ah-may-ZING!
I have made all the mistakes so you don't have to. Don't use a spring from pan, whatever you do. A large seasoned cast iron pan will work well also but make sure you have some well-insulated oven gloves if you do use one.

Tarte Tatin: Apple Upside Down Cake

Recipe: adapted from The Complete Bocuse
Makes: 1
Skill Level: Easy
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: Approximately 40 minutes


500-750 grams apples (about 3 medium size) peeled, deseeded cored and thickly sliced or quartered
100 grams unsalted butter, divided for greasing and melting
  70 grams sugar divided

For The Pastry

125 grams flour
    1 egg
 80 grams butter softened


Preheat oven to 350F/175C/Gas Mark 4 (looked that up specially for my Britons)
Butter the bottom of your cake pan with 50 g of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 C (50g) of sugar
Arrange apple slices and tightly pack them so they cover the entire bottom of the pan
Melt the remaining butter and pour over with the remaining sugar
Bake for 20 minutes or until apples are caramelised. Be careful not to burn the sugar!

Pastry Prep

Pour the flour onto a pastry board and shape into a circle and make a well in the middle
Add the egg, softened butter and a pinch of salt to the flour well and incorporate the ingredients (You may have to add a slight dash of water if it doesn't come together.)
Work the dough into a ball and make sure that it is soft
Roll out the dough on floured work surface as thinly as possible
Transfer the dough to the cake pan placing it over the apples and tuck the edges in side
Bake for another 20 minutes
Turn the cake upside down onto a cake pan. Allow to cool some before serving warm.

Umm Haneefah is the author of TheHalalGourmet.Com. A blog dedicated to fine, French cuisine within the limits of Allah.

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At 23 September 2014 at 06:36 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post ladies! And nice to meet you Umm Haneefah! Your post reminds me of the Ayah, "Surely with hardship comes ease" :)

At 23 September 2014 at 09:01 , Blogger Halal Home Cooking - UmmHamza said...

Jazak Allahu Khair ukhti Henna and Umm Haneefah it was great having you here and your tarte tatin!

At 24 September 2014 at 04:06 , Blogger The Halal Gourmet said...

Nice to meet you too! Assalamu alaykum. Happy that I reminded to of the Glorious Soeech of Allaah subhanahu.

At 24 September 2014 at 04:07 , Blogger The Halal Gourmet said...

Ameen! I was honoured to accept the inivitation. May allaah put barakah in your blog.

At 24 September 2014 at 17:36 , Blogger Heni El G said...

Salaamu aleikoum machallah really lovely looking tart tartine. I'll def check out this blog!

At 30 October 2014 at 16:25 , Blogger La Maison Reid said...

So sorry about your first disaster! We used to make our Tarte Tatin in an iron skillet but finally broke down and bought a Le Creuset tart pan....love it. NPR radio has a wonderful recipe...full-proof! and we use it often during fall/winter. They use ready made puff pastry which is so flaky and buttery and EASY! Try it!


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