Old-Fashioned Blogging (Clotilde Dusoulier’s Tarte Tartin)

Clotilde Dusolier's Tarte Tartin 

 I wish you could see how I blog. This morning, it started as I wandered around my apartment in a blouse and slip, pondering the holes in my nylons and wondering if I could go to work without stockings.

 (Not that I could really have worn them – they were doing a lovely spider web impersonation. I read an article the other day on the decline of nylons in America, which attributed their unpopularity to an association with grandmothers and hose-clad legs with orthotic shoes. Not so, I’d argue. I prefer the look of nylons with heels any day, but wearing them feels like a python is trying to eat my waist and I can’t keep myself from snagging them on invisible pointy things in the air. Maybe I’m a klutz, but a giant hole in my nylons does not portray the image of “young, professional, responsible student doctor.”)

Of course, that was when I had an idea for a blog post and, of course, that was when I had no time to write it down. This is a common occurrence. I found a skirt, put on boots that came up to my hemline (thus negating the need for the holey hose) and left for work, stethoscope bouncing against my breast bone. Upon arrival on the floor, I began reviewing notes and overnight lab results and consults; seeing patients and examining pneumonia-riddled lungs and alcohol-soaked livers. All the while, the first three sentences of what I wanted to write played themselves over and over in my head. Four hours later (about the time I was good and sick of said sentences), I had five free minutes, so I grabbed the back of someone’s x-ray report and started blogging. Yes. On paper. With a pen. I managed to get out a whole paragraph before my attending needed daily presentations.

The whole day went by like that. Three minutes here, six there, and the back of an envelope, the underside a receipt and a 3”x5” card later, a blog post is done. This is also how I write letters, long emails and short stories. When I get home, I’ll type it up quickly and make sure I didn’t use the same word eleven times in one paragraph. Virginia Woolf, it’s not A Room of One’s Own, but I’m writing, and I’m sustained by good food, like this tart, just as you recommend. Good enough? I think so.

Tarte Tartin 
 Tarte Tartin is a classic of pastry that has always mildly terrified me. I love caramel, but when I tried to make it two years ago, I forgot that melted sugar is significantly hotter than boiling water, and I badly burned myself. Combine fire-y caramel with a dessert I have to flip to get right-side-up, and one that is as famous as this, and I’ll avoid it for months. That is entirely too bad, because this dessert was fast and simple to make and if the fact that my roommate came back from bible study with an empty platter is any evidence, it is also quite tasty. Good thing I snagged a slice before it went out the door – salty caramel, tart apples and buttery crust made a perfect midnight breakfast.

This is a very simple, well-written recipe to which I made very few adjustments. I switched out semi-salted for unsalted butter and then subbed in some sea salt, because I like having some control over the saltiness of my caramel.

Tarte Tartin
Adapted from Clotilde Dusoulier
Allow 2 hours (30 minutes hands-on); serves 8-10. 

 1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 2 pounds baking applies

Cut together the sugar and the butter with a fork, two knives in opposition or a pastry cutter. When it’s well combined, add in the flour and continue to cut together until even crumbs form. Mix in the milk a splash at a time, and knead the dough together just until it forms a cohesive mass. Continue to add milk as necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the fridge for thirty minutes, or until the caramel and apples are ready.

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the sides of a 9” or 10” round cake pan. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and the water over medium heat and swirl together. Allow the sugar to melt and come to a boil, continuing to swirl the pan as necessary. During this time, peel and core the apples and cut into slices. When the caramel turns amber or light brown, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter. Spread the resulting paste in the bottom of the cake pan. Arrange the apples in a spiral on top of the caramel.

 Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into a round big enough to cover the top of the apples. Transfer it carefully over the top of the apples, and tuck the edges inside the pan around the apple slices. Repair any tears in the crust – it will be underneath the apples when the dessert is finished, so patches won’t be visible. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust has turned a gentle golden brown. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the sides of the pan and flip the dessert out onto a serving dish. Replace any apples that are stuck to the bottom of the pan to their proper places on the base.

This is a late post in the 50 Women Game-Changers Series. Clotilde was our Honoree for Week 18, and while I made her tarte way back then, I didn’t have the time to post until now. 

Every Friday, a group of women writers is blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – find more information here. Here’s who’s joining this week.

Mary of One Perfect Bite | Joanne of Eats Well With Others | Val of More Than Burnt Toast | Susan of The Spice Garden | Heather of girlichef | Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney | Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living | Kathleen of Bakeaway with Me | Sue of The View from the Great Island | Linda of There and Back Again | Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds | Barbara of Moveable Feasts | Amy of Beloved Green | Linda of Ciao Chow Linda | Deborah of Taste and Tell | Barbara of Lines from Linderhof | Nancy of My Picadillo | Mireya of My Healthing Eating Habits | Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen |  Annie of lovely things

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