Having spent many of my childhood holidays exploring not the British (I’m ashamed to admit), but French countryside, it’s perhaps not a surprise that some of my favourite dishes are France-inspired. One particular recipe is the famous tarte tatin, traditionally made by two sisters using apples. My mum (and many other chefs) have adapted the ingredients over the years – pears, parsnips, onions – forming both sweet and savoury options. And now it’s my turn – and I’m pretty happy with the result. Juicy sweet plums covered with thick caramels, on a bed of puff pastry, and delicately spiced with aniseedy star anise.
You will need
100g unsalted butter, cubed
100g caster sugar
1 star anise, broken
10-12 firm, ripe plums, halved and stoned
1 tbsp brown sugar
250g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1. Melt together the butter and sugar over a medium to low heat. As the ingredients combine, keep stirring (use a whisk) and add the star anise. The mixture will turn a deep golden caramel colour; when it reaches this point, remove from the heat and pour into an oven-proof dish or cake tin.
2. Arrange the plums on top of the caramel, cut sides up and sprinkle with brown sugar.
3. Roll out the puff pastry and cut a circle, the same size as your pan. Place this disc over the plums, tucking it in around the edges. Pierce a number of small slits over the surface – to let steam escape during cooking – then brush with a little beaten egg and bake in an oven, pre-heated to 200C – for 25-30 minutes.
4. Leave to stand for five minutes, before turning out onto a plate and serving with ice cream or double cream.