Alison’s Apple Tarte Tatin

Come on a second to none gourmet trip : A French Culinary Adventure at le Calabash and enjoy hands-on cookery classes with award-winning chefs, Alison and Sidney.

This famous Tart takes its name from the Tatin sisters Stéphanie and Caroline—who, in the 1880s, owned a hotel near the train station in the small French town of Lamotte-Beuvron. The sisters were busy in the kitchen and nearly burned some apples they were cooking with butter and sugar in a pan on the stovetop. To save them, they hastily threw some of their delicate flaky pastry top of the apples. The tart dough cooked evenly and the apples caramelized, forming a glaze. And when the dessert was turned right side up, it was a glistening tart to behold.

Ingredients

  • 8 Apples
  • 170g caster sugar
  • Puff pastry
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Heat the caster sugar in a heavy based saucepan and cook very gently until the caramel is golden.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the cubed butter stirring well until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Pour a layer of caramel on the base of a tatin pan.
  4. Peel and core the apples and cut them into six and place them evenly on top of the caramel close together.
  5. Sprinkle the apples with sugar and knobs of butter, about 30g of each.
  6. Drape a circle of pastry over the top of the apples, then tuck in well to completely encase the apples. Leave to rest in a cool place for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Dust the pastry with a little icing sugar and bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 1 minute to let the caramel cool and set slightly. Turn the tart upside down so that it ends up apple side upwards on the plate.
  9. Serve with a rich vanilla bean ice cream.

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www.lecalabash.com

Rungis International Market


Alison and I visit Rungis several times a year and each and every visit we leave filled with inspiration.

Rungis is a dream to any culinary adventurer, a world class fish market, poultry hall, cheese monger market, tripe market, 9 fruit and vegetable pavilions and meat market, just to mention a few.

The market boasts equipment, wine, spice, charcuterie, chef clothing and several fine food specialists for the chefs to visit. There are fine dining restaurants, bistros, boulangeries, bars and cafés on site. The market covers 232 hectares, so large an entire train station and highway exit has been built to serve it.

The Fish, Poultry and Meat market are second to none, when it comes to sheer quality and choice.

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What has always inspired me is the deep knowledge the vendors have of what they sell and the willingness to share and help you in finding what you are looking for.

Walking through the poultry market excites me as much now as it did when I visited the old poultry market there in the mid-70s as a young trainee chef, for nowhere on the planet is there a finer and larger selection of chicken, duck and game birds. Speaking to one of the Poultry vendors on our last visit, he informed us that at present he is airfreighting around 2 tons of produce a day to Japan alone.

When I was Executive chef of Hilton and Le Méridien hotels in London, as well as team captain of The British Craft Guild Culinary Team, I made it a point to take my young chefs on a visit to Paris and an intensive tour of the whole of Rungis.

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This would normally find us leaving London at midday and arriving in Paris and the market at midnight and starting off at the Fish market which opens at midnight and finally ending with a walk through the 9 fruit and vegetable halls at 6.30am, before having breakfast at the bistro attached to the poultry market, sitting down having a Croque Madame and a glass of wine with all the vendors and staff who worked all night. I always refer to them as ‘Real People’ as there is not veneer, what you see is what you get, straightforwardness, no time for fools, hardworking and respect for those who know what they want when it comes to good ingredients, and a knowledge of how the produce should be prepared, for you can be assured, they know! On more than one occasion have I been witness to Chefs making a fool of themselves when underestimating the vendor’s in-depth knowledge of cookery.

It was here that I would always take the opportunity to take careful note of the enthusiasm and interest taken by my young chefs as we passed through each of the halls and pavilions.

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Inevitably the interest and enthusiasm was a sure way of identifying their place in my brigade and the part they would play in it.

Passion and Ingredients are the two key elements needed for success in any reputable kitchen, and where better than Rungis could I identify them.

A young or aspiring chef’s hunger to grasp the knowledge and ability to identify good ingredients is a sure sign of the presence of Passion and inevitably a good indication of a young chef who is serious about his chosen career.

It was and still is the place where I take this opportunity.

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CHIVES –

Taste : Chives have a delicate onion flavor and are a great substitute for onion if you prefer a milder flavor or are cooking for finicky eaters. The tender, mild leaves are eaten raw or cooked in many dishes.
The uses : Toss chives into a dish at the last minute, because heat destroys their delicate onion flavor. Thinly slice them to maximize their taste, or use finely snipped chives as a garnish. Chives are great in dips and quesadillas, and on baked potatoes.

At le Calabash we cook with the freshest ingredients available and 2016 will see us share a herb experience with our clients second to none.

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PARSLEY –

Taste : Mild, slightly grassy and sweet with a hint of bitterness.
The uses : It adds pizzazz to boiled and buttered new potatoes; can be combined with garlic, olive oil and vinegar to make chimichurri, or garlic and lemon zest to make a gremolata, and it’s key ingredients in minestrone and tabbouleh.

At le Calabash we cook with the freshest ingredients available and 2016 will see us share a herb experience with our clients second to none.

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The Loire Valley and ‘le Calabash’ an outstanding culinary destination.

Finesse rather than fireworks marks the gastronomy of this gentle, lovely region, known for exceptional white wines, delicate fish, and France’s most bountiful fruits and vegetables. At le Calabash we are always asked, why have you chosen this area to setup ‘le Calabash’ and our answer is simply, it is Europe’s most unspoilt, undiscovered and fastest moving Culinary Destination. Putting aside some of the most beautiful countryside, architecture and history, we have so much to offer the Culinary Adventurer. The Loire boasts of the finest wines and sparkling wines in the world. Truffle and Saffron production is on an astronomic increase. Poultry, Pork, Beef and now Lamb is of the best in Europe. As the Loire valley borders the Atlantic, we have some of the finest Oysters and Mussels to be found on the continent. The Loire Valley is known as France’s Bread Basket, and this is evident throughout the year with wonderful Asparagus, Berries, Fruit, Vegetables and our Cheese Production is second to none.

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What we have to offer our guests is an opportunity to enjoy and experience cooking in a Culinary environment second to none !

A Jewel of the Loire Valley ; Château Villandry

In our new French Culinary Adventure le Calabash take you to the stunning Château of Villandry, the last of the great Châteaux of the Loire built during the Renaissance. The sober elegance of its architecture combined with the charm of its outstanding gardens make this one of the Jewels of World Heritage.

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The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. Acquired in the early 16th century by Jean Le Breton, France’s Controller-General for War under King Francis I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace.
During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 19th century, Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Jérôme Bonaparte.

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Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges. In 1934, Château de Villandry was designated a Monument historique. Like all the other Châteaux of the Loire Valley, it is a World Heritage Site.

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bonds@lecalabash.fr | http://www.lecalabash.com 

The beautiful historic city of Tours

On a Culinary Adventure with le Calabash we visit the beautiful historic city of Tours where you will explore both the indoor ‘Les Halles’ food market and the twice weekly outdoor market, you will amazed by all the incredible fresh and local products.

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We visit the old town which clusters around place Plumereau; its old houses restored to their former glory. Today this is the place for pavement cafes and people watching in the summer. Stroll the smaller, narrow streets like rue Briçonnet and you step back into the historic medieval city. To the south you’ll find a Romanesque basilica, the Cloitre de St-Martin and the new Basilique de St-Martin. You’re in the place which was once on the great pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. St-Martin was a soldier who became bishop of Tours in the 4th century and helped spread Christianity through France. His remains, rediscovered in 1860, are now in the crypt of the new Basilique.

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The other old part, the cathedral quarter, on the other side of the main Rue Nationale, is dominated by the Cathédrale St-Gatien, a flamboyant Gothic building with 12th-century decorated stonework covering the outside. Inside the highlights are the 16th-century tomb of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne’s two children, and the stunning stained glass.

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bonds@lecalabash.fr | http://www.lecalabash.com