Nikki Dinki’s Leek + Apple Tarte Tatin

July 28, 2016 9:57 am Last Updated: July 28, 2016 10:19 am

Here’s Nikki Dinki‘s recipe for a delicious twist on Tarte Tatin, with leeks and apples, topped with goat cheese and honey, and using puff pastry, which makes this fast to make:

Leek + Apple Tarte Tatin. (St. Martin's Press)
Leek + Apple Tarte Tatin. (St. Martin’s Press)

Leek + Apple Tarte Tatin

Introduction

I’ve always challenged myself to make my dreams come true. I dreamt of an amazing husband and got exactly that (I know, I’m totally corny), I dreamt of sharing my food with millions of people, and this Leek + Apple Tarte Tatin is what my food dreams are made of. A tarte Tatin is a pie baked upside down, named after the Tatin sisters whose apple version became famous. In mine puff pastry is laid over leeks and apples. Flip it after baking: the result is a caramelized filling that has baked right into a soft yet chewy crust. Drizzled with honey and scattered with goat cheese, this tarte Tatin proves that dreams do come true.

Amount Makes

2 servings; double the recipe as you wish

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 small leeks (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/8-inch-thick half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves,    plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 ounce soft goat cheese, crumbled into largish pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut off and discard the root and darker green leafy end of the leeks. Then cut each leek crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Add these to a bowl of cold water and gently separate the layers to remove any grit, but keep the segments intact. Rinse in a colander and then pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  3. Melt the butter in a 9-inch omelet pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the leek segments upright (with a cut end down) in the pan. Sprinkle the salt over the leeks and let them cook, undisturbed, until they begin to brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn all the leek segments over and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the thyme over the leeks and arrange the apples in a single layer on top. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the honey over the apples.
  4. Cut the puff pastry into a 10-inch diameter circle. (Most puff pastry comes in 10-inch squares so really, all you need to do is cut off the corners; this circle doesn’t need to be all that precise.) Lay the pastry over the omelet pan and tuck the edges down between the pan and the leeks to enclose the apples and leeks. The edge of the pastry should be touching the bottom of the pan. It’s okay if the pastry folds over on itself a bit. Use a paring knife to cut several slits in the top of the pastry so the tart can vent as it bakes.
  5. Bake the tart until the pastry is golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Then transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Invert a plate over the tart in the pan. Using oven mitts, and holding the plate and pan together, quickly flip them over, so that the tart drops onto the plate. Lift off the pan. If any leek segments have stuck to the pan, place them back in the tart. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon honey over the tart, sprinkle with a little more thyme, scatter the cheese over all. Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm.

Keep It Simple

• I like Granny Smith apples because they hold up well when cooked, but several other apples would also be fine in this recipe. You can experiment to see whether you like it better with tart or sweet apples.

• Substitute feta, queso fresco, or little dollops of cream cheese for the goat cheese—whichever appeals most to you.

• If you get off on your timing while prepping, put the thawed pastry in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. It should always be as cold as possible.

Make It Meaty

Cook up 3 ounces of finely diced pancetta in the pan before you begin step 3. Then remove them, add the leeks, and continue the step, but before you add the apple slices, sprinkle the pancetta over the leeks. Continue with the rest of the recipe, and enjoy the porky, salty bite of your Leek + Apple Tarte Tatin.

(Recipe from “Meat on the Side: Delicious Vegetable-Focused Recipes for Every Day” by Nikki Dinki, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016)

(Courtesy of St. Martin's)
(Courtesy of St. Martin’s)