As some of you know, for my real job, I teach French as a second language to elementary school boys (aged 7-12). I am very fortunate to work at a wonderful school which is able to provide fabulous extra curricular experiences for the boys such as Chef à l’école who visited today for the third year in a row. Basically it’s a programme that comes into schools to teach students a little bit about Acadian history and they cook one dish. The workshop takes place in French (with a little English if the students need it). The hands-on factor appealed to me as a teacher of boys and I have been thrilled with the results in the past.
I was particularly excited this year as we were making tarte tatin. Now, for all you French cooking purists out there, the recipe which follows is obviously not, say Julia Child’s, but for little hands in the kitchen, it’s totally do-able!
Individual Tarte Tatin
Ingredients for 9 individual tarts
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (Crisco )
1cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tablespoons ice water
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 green apples
Whipped cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Filling – method
Peel 3 apples and cut into 8 wedges discard the core.
Put butter and all but 1 tbsp sugar in a heavy pan. On medium low heat melt butter and sugar.
Place the apples close together upright in the pan. Sprinkle with remaining sugar on top of apples. Return the pan to medium heat and cook until the butter and sugar caramelizes, becoming syrupy, golden and bubbling up around the apples, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat
Using the pastry brush put oil in the 9 foil muffin liners.
Place them in a 9 x 9 pan.
Crust – method
Combine butter and shortening in a bowl, add flour and salt. Blend with the pastry blender.
Add water a little at a time. Make a ball with the dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick on the table or mat sprinkled with flour. Cut 9 circles using small round cutter.
Put cooked apples in each muffin liner.
Take each circle of crust and roll the edge a bit and put roll side down on top of the apples.
Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream, crème fraîche or ice cream. (no pics of the cream added – sorry!)
The boys made a wonderful tea also:
And they even washed and dried the dishes, ready for the next group!
I absolutely LOVE cooking with the boys and think it’s so important for them to be exposed to working in the kitchen. Many of them really shine in such a hands-on environment and I love to see that look of pride in their eyes at a job well done (and delicious to boot!).