Tredwells chef Chantelle Nicholson shares her classic tarte tatin recipe, plus three nifty ideas for using up any leftovers.
The convenience and thrift of make-ahead dishes make them perfect for the idle months between Christmas and spring. But your batch cooking repertoire need not be confined to just stews stews, curries and soups, as this deliciously adaptable tarte tatin recipe from Tredwells’ Chantelle Nicholson demonstrates.
Having moved to Britain from Wellington in 2004, Chantelle has risen up the ranks of Marcus Wareing’s restaurant empire (which, along with Tredwells, includes the two Michelin-starred Marcus and The Gilbert Scott) and now serves as both Chef Patron for Tredwells and Group Operations Director for the portfolio as a whole.
Despite her close working relationship with Marcus, she has developed a distinct cooking style of her own, drawn from her experiences of growing up in rural New Zealand and commitment to sustainably-produced ingredients. This April sees the release of her first solo cookbook Planted, which will major in plant-based recipes big on flavour and creativity.
For now, you’ll have to make do with this deeply comforting dessert, which is one of Chantelle’s favourites.
“Tarte tatins have to be one of the best desserts ever created, and with only four ingredients they are so simple, but so delicious,” says the New Zealand-born chef, who trained as a lawyer before discovering her love for cooking.
I recommend peeling the apples in advance, and leaving them uncovered in the fridge for a day or two, so they dry out a little and hold their shape better when cooking.
“The custard has a slight savoury note to it, from the bay leaves, which works really well with the richness of the tatin. I would also recommend vanilla ice cream!”
Apple Tarte Tatin with Bay Leaf Custard
8 Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and halved
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
Bay Leaf Custard:
250g double cream
3 bay leaves
5 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Use your knuckles to spread the butter across the bottom of an 18cm saucepan to form an even layer. Top with caster sugar and shake to distribute evenly. Press the bottom of the apples into the butter and sugar around the outside of the saucepan. Use 15 of the halves for the outside and place one, sideways down, in the centre.
3. Cut a 19cm circle out of the pastry and place on top of the apples. Place the saucepan over a moderate heat until the butter has melted fully, then transfer to the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes until the pastry is golden and a deep coloured caramel has formed.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the custard. Bring the cream, milk and bay leaves to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
5. Place the pan with the cream mix back on to the heat and bring to the boil. Whisk the sugar into the yolks then temper with the hot cream.
6. Pour back into the saucepan and gently cook out the custard until it coats the back of a spoon. Pass through a sieve and then serve with the turned-out tarte Tatin.
Chantelle’s Three Leftover Ideas
A warming and lightly spiced dessert: Charming clafoutis
Bring 300ml double cream, 300ml milk, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 4 cardamom pods, 4 juniper berries and the zest from 1 lemon, to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Beat 4 eggs and 90g caster sugar together. Whisk in 90g plain flour, then add the strained hot milk and mix well. Pour over broken up leftover tarte tatin and cook for 20-25 minutes at 180°.
An indulgent breakfast: When it’s okay to enjoy pudding in the morning
Reheat and serve a slice with Greek yoghurt, or try chopping up and adding to a bowl of porridge.
An unexpected snack: the clever cheese course
The leftover tarte tatin makes an excellent accompaniment to blue cheese; try Colston Bassett Stilton or a crumbly blue. A post-dinner snack of champions!
Chantelle’s first book, Planted, will be released in April 2018.