Our house is under siege, and the flu is winning. It has been lingering for a week and a half now, from about the exact same minute I stepped off the plane from Vancouver the weekend before last. It likes to manifest itself in different ways for each of us, just for kicks. Sinus infection? Check. Ginormous tonsils with white polka-dots? Check. Body aches? Check. Fever? Check. Swollen lymph nodes? Check. W has finally emerged, having fought off myriad symptoms and a fever for EIGHT! NIGHTS! It even spread across the street, to my sister’s house, and is wreaking a whole new havoc over there. Since I arrived back as it was emerging, I’m a few days behind and having already been sick a week, just now getting the worst of it. Anyone calling me on the phone might wonder who was strangling me as I spoke, or I sound as if I’ve swallowed a golf ball.
We’ve mostly been eating soup and toast and smoothies, and not much of any of it. I did manage to make this tarte tatin for my Tuesday segment on CBC – one I should have skipped, but I was at that stage of thinking I must be coming out of it now – and again at the Start From Scratch class I promised to help with last night. The photo really doesn’t do it justice – at all – but you get the gist, right? Just squint your eyes and imagine chewy, caramelly edges and soft-firm mapley fruit. If you plan ahead, pick up a tub of vanilla ice cream.
Maple Apple Tarte Tatin
adapted from Canadian Living
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
pastry for a single crust pie
Core the apples and cut them into 8 wedges (one of those apple slicers works perfectly) – don’t worry about peeling them. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a 9-10″ cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat; add sugar and cook, stirring, until bubbly and just turning golden, about 2 minutes. Add maple syrup; cook, stirring, until everything is dissolved. Remove from the heat and arrange apples, flat side down, in concentric circles in the syrup.
Return to medium-low heat and cook, basting with a spoon, until apples the begin to soften and syrup starts to thicken, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, on lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 10″ circle; drape over the apples, pressing the edge of the pastry down between the apples and the pan. Cut a few steam vents in the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge and invert the tarte onto a platter or plate. Replace any apples that may stick to pan and scrape out any leftover sauce, pouring it over the apples. Serve warm.