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“Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin”

David and Henry peeling apples for the tart to be baked in the wood fired oven.

“One does not sit at a table to create a new masterpiece from scratch. Such an approach seldom produces anything memorable. Food innovation results instead from the alchemy between ancestral knowledge, local produce, and the cook’s talent.”

An unrecorded cook of the Count of Chateauvillard, passed on a remarkable tarte to Fanny Tatin, in the region of Lamotte-Beavron in the late 1880’s. She and her sister Caroline, ran a modest Hotel in Sologne and the Tart Sologne was their signature dessert. It became affectionately known to travelers as the Tarte Tatin, from Hotel Tatin. There is much discussion about the original recipe and which pot one should use, as well as which apples. It seems the King of Pippins, the Carville, (France and England) or the Gala, Pink Lady or Granny Smith in the US, would be preferred. The original recipe calls surprisingly for unpeeled apples. Some prefer a cast iron skillet, others prefer a heavy-bottomed copper or stainless steel pan to caramelize the apples or other fruit such as peaches or pears. One thing is for sure, this dessert is a well loved classic whose story should be told.

Growing up in the south, I am a lover of cobblers. Fruit is collected, usually blackberries from back roads or fresh peaches off the tree, sliced and tossed with sugar and placed into a baking dish and covered with biscuit dough. Summers were long and a cobbler hit the spot at Sunday dinners.

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