Sometimes an accident is a good thing, even when it means a burning dish. Anyone who cooks regularly knows how things can get out of control in the kitchen, and how sometimes you have to find a way to still manage something for dinner despite overcooked / burned pots. When sisters Tatin came up with their signature dish, an upside-down tart was rather unusual. Originally made of caramelized apples, Tarte Tatin became a classic with many versions, some of them savoury. To keep me into French mood, I made a shallot tart tatin. Voilá!
French Shallot Tart Tatin
Adapted from Delicious Magazine, February 2009
For the pastry:
125 grs plain flour
60 grs unsalted butter, chopped and cold
3 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 large egg yolk
For the "topping":
750 grs small medium shallots (about 12-16), unpeeled
125 grs plain flour
50 grs unsalted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
The pastry can be done by hand or using a food processor. (I've done mine by hand, and it was easy) Sift the flour with a good pinch of salt, and mix in the mustard with a fork. Rub the chopped butter with your fingertips, until combined and resembling coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Use a knife to mix in the egg yolk until it comes together. Add 2 or 3 Tbsp ice water if it seems too dry. Without kneading, use your hands to press the dough together into a round disc. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
Boil the shallots in salted water for 5 minutes, to make them easier to peel. Drain and cool, then peel the shallots (leave the root ends). Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 15 minutes or until starting to soft. Mix in the sugar, vinegar and 3 Tbps of water, and stir. Cook over low heat until the liquid has reduced and has become syrupy (about 15 minutes), turning the shallots occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a shallow tin (about 20 cm round) with butter. Place the shallots and any remaining liquid in the tin. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of parchment paper to a circle slightly larger than the tin. Top with the pastry round, tucking edges into pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven. Keep in the tin for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully invert onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Serve while warm.