Given the circumstances, this tart should never have existed. I was definitely having one of those days where nothing, it seems, was turning out, but because of my stubborn disposition I was not going to let this tart die an unfortunate death because I knew it would be glorious, and it was.
We were off to a rocky start when my puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge, ended up being a gloopy mess of goo. Maybe it was due to the humidity in the house, I dunno, but with no backup in the freezer, I just combined it into a ball, dusted my counter top with flour and re-rolled it into a lovely circle. Phew! One hurdle jumped. Then came the caramel making, which seemed to take forever for it to turn "dark amber" so I cranked the heat a bit, and turned my back for a minute and two minutes later I caught it just in time, or so I thought. I added the butter and it totally separated into a hard, dark caramel mass. Thinking this would simply not do, I remembered a small container of whipping cream in the fridge so I put the caramel back on the heat, whisked it so it became uniform then added a couple of tablespoons of whipping cream. And it worked! I had a lovely, non-separated, caramel sauce to go on the bottom of my cast iron skillet. Second hurdle jumped! Meanwhile, just to make things more interesting, with the gooey puff, and the separated caramel, my oven was supposed to be pre-heating. But every time I opened it, there was no heat. With an assembled tarte tatin and fumes of gas filtering into the house for half hour I figured it was time to shut 'er down and head over to my mama's, just down the road a tiny bit. Thank God for that! My mom is used to my baking high jinx, so showing up unexpectedly with a cast iron skillet of goodness isn't exactly out of character for me. Anyway, her oven worked and once it was cranked to 425, I popped this baby in and it came out absolutely amazing. So that was a rather long story of all that could and did go wrong. But with a little perseverance and a nearby mama, it paid off big style.
So, let's rock 'n roll! Get thee to the market and find the nicest apricots. Firm, but yielding. Give them a sniff while you are at it. Toss them in a little sugar, just to release the juices. Jamie Oliver told me to do that and I believe him.
Make a little caramel sauce, and add it to the bottom of your skillet or tart pan. Arrange apricots, so they look pretty.
Tuck them in with some puff pastry, bake in a well-working oven for about 25 minutes and out comes this gloriously golden tart. Carefully invert it onto a plate and you have tarte tatin, friends. It's not overly sweet, and the candied ginger marries well with the jammy apricots and
Apricot & Ginger Tarte Tatin
I combined recipes from Epicurious and Jamie Oliver into this and it worked rather well.
10 fresh apricots
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed.
thyme for garnish, if you like
Preheat oven to 425*F. Position rack in centre of oven.
Wash and pit the apricots. Toss together with 2 tbsp of sugar - this will help release the juices. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tbsp water. Stir over medium low heat until sugar dissolves then increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water and swirling pan, roughly 8-9 minutes. Add butter and cream, mixture will bubble like crazy! Stir over low heat until caramel is smooth, and add the chopped candied ginger. Pour into a 10 inch oven proof skillet, swirling to coat the bottom. Arrange apricot halves, with rounded side down. Roll out puff pastry just so it's a little larger than your pan, or if yours is already flat, tuck it in and around apricots, pressing down a little. Bake for 25 minutes until golden. When tart is cooked, run a knife around the edge and put a large plate on top of the skillet and turn it upside down onto the plate. If some apricots stick to the skillet, just gingerly lift them out and onto the tart. No big deal. Absolutely wonderful served warm with vanilla ice cream and sprinkling of thyme. Serves 6-8.