It’s the second day of Chinese New Year, a time for indulgence, a time of plenty and of sweet treats, so I decided to try my hand at a tarte tatin with a local flavour. If you buy the puff pastry, it’s all relatively easy to make. Our pineapple was a little underripe, so I thought I’d caramelise it fist in some butter, both for added flavour and to soften the fruit a little. You can do the tart without first frying the pineapple, if you’re feeling lazy, but make sure you get a nice, soft and ripe fruit.
- 1 pineapple of about 1kg-1.2kg
- 100g caster sugar
- 25g dark palm sugar
- 25g salted butter, plus extra for frying
- 2 Tbsp coconut cream
- enough puff pastry to cover
Line your spring form with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes all the way up the sides and has no holes or splits in it. Heat your oven to 180ºC at least half an hour before you put your pie in. Convection heat will give you the best result for this tart.
Peel and clean the pineapple and cut it in half lengthwise. I’m quite lousy at this, so I normally get the someone to do this for me, or I just buy a peeled fresh pineapple. Slice into thick slices, about 1.5cm. Cut the strawy core out. Heat plenty of salted butter in a non-stick pan and fry the pineapple slices on both sides until they are nicely browned. This will take a while, so be patient and don’t worry if it isn’t even and there are some quite dark or almost black patches. It will just add to the look. Remove the pineapple from the pan and reserve. Keep all the butter and juices.
Melt the sugar in a stainless steel and turn it into caramel. Once nice and dark, add the palm sugar and stir to dissolve, then add the butter and last the coconut cream. Don’t worry if it stiffens a little and if it becomes too stiff, just heat it gently. The trick is to work this part as fast as you can and pour the finished caramel into the lined tin, then tilt the tin to spread it all over the base.
Put the pineapple into the caramel, placing the nicest looking side face down into the caramel, as that’s the side that will be on top when you reverse the tart. Roll your dough out to about 5mm thickness. If you have bought ready-made sheets of puff pastry (like I did), use it as is. Cut a circle about 3cm wider than the bottom of your cake tin, all around. So if your tin is 20cm in diameter, your dough should be 26cm diameter.
Place the dough on the pineapple tart so that the dough is folded up along the sides of the tin. Check that it’s pretty evenly placed, then fold the sides under the pineapples. It’s pretty forgiving, so just squeeze them in, creating a bit of an upside down tart shell. This does not need to be perfectly even. Prick the dough at intervals with a sharp knife to create some small holes through which the steam can escape. Don’t make chimneys, though!
Bake at 180ºC for about 40 minutes, until the dough has nicely puffed up and is dark brown. Take it out and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Remove the ring of the spring form and fold the parchment out, so it’s not in the way when you turn your tart upside down. Place your serving tray or plate over the tart and gently, but resolutely reverse it. I say gently, because you do not want to have the caramel fly all over the kitchen.
Enjoy your Tarte Tatin!