Last week I featured a super Easy Bouillabaisse from a cooking class my husband and I attened in Ireland last March. Well… I’ve got another one for you. Now you may be wondering why I’m just getting to posting these recipes now – 8 months later. Admittedly I am a procrastinator; but I’m at least a “productive procrastinator”. Look it up, I swear, it’s a real term. So for instance, instead of balancing my checkbook (am I the only one who still does this?) I may decide to organize my closet. But no, it did not take me nearly a year to bring you these recipes because I decided to productively procrastinate and conduct a full self audit of last years cheese intake. As interesting as that might be, I actually had a more methodical reason for holding onto this recipe until now.
While delicious anytime of year, I thought this Shallot Tarte Tatin would make a wonderful compliment to various holiday dinners. A great dish to pass around the Thanksgiving table, perhaps serve along side a holiday roast, it even makes for a great finger food at a New Year’s party.
A tarte tatin is best known as a sweet dish, an upside-down pastry often made with apples. As the story goes, it was accidentally created in at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France in the 1880’s. It was run by the Tatin sisters. Stephanie Tatin was the primary cook and one day as she was making a traditional apple pie and she smelled the ingredients burning in the pan. In a desperate attempt to save the dish, she threw the pastry base on top and quickly finished it off in the oven. After flipping it over, she served it to the hotel guest and much to her surprise, they loved it! The other version (which is a bit less fun, in my opinion) has Stephanie simply cooking it upside-down by mistake. In actuality, the upside-down tarte was not a new concept. In 1841 Marie-Antione Careme made a mention of such a dish in his Pâtissier Royal Parisien. Whether or not Stephanie Tatin came up with a genuine creation or merely copied it, it was certainly made famous by the Tatin sisters and the Tatin Hotel.
Whatever story you subscribe to, this sweet, turned savory tarte is sure to be a show-stopper of a dish on any table.
- 8 shallots, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons port
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- all-purpose flour for dusting
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces blue cheese
- 1 small handful of arugula
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat a heavy, oven-safe, 9-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots, placing the cut side up first. Cook for 4 minutes, without separating the halves. Then gently flip so all shallots are cut side down. Cook for 2 minutes, again without breaking them apart. Then add the thyme, port, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle the sugar overtop. Allow to cook for another 2 minutes until the shallots are lightly-browned. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Gently roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface just to smooth out creases. Place a bowl that's several inches larger than the skillet, upside-down on the pastry and using the tip of a sharp knife, cut a circle around the edge of the bowl. Lift out the circle and gently drape it over the shallots. Using your hands, carefully tuck the pastry down between the shallots and the sides of the skillet. Combine the egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and brush over the puff pastry.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown. Allow to cool in the skillet for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate or platter. When the skillet is inverted onto the plate/platter, give it a little jiggle to make sure the tarte has released from the pan. Often you can hear and/or feel it release. If some of the shallots stick to the pan, simply remove them gently and place back into the tarte.
- Crumble the blue cheese overtop and add the arugula. Slice like a pizza, serve, and enjoy!