Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday Night Dinner

Best Roast Chicken
Apple Tarte Tatin


 Autumn's Chill has hit and what better way to revel in the change than to step away from the BBQ and turn on the oven.  Fill the house with the aroma of roasting chicken basted with fragrant rosemary, lemon, garlic and chilli;  and the sweet smell of caramelised apple tart.  The wind and the rain had me house bound so turning my hand to making puff pastry seemed like a pleasant diversion.  Tarte Tatin is a french upside down apple tart.  The apple and caramel are absorbed by the buttery puff pastry making this one of my favourite desserts, I've been making a version of this since I was a teenager.  I used golden delicious apples as that's what's on my tree, but if i was to purchase them I would use granny smiths as they hold their shape better.

Best Roast Chicken

1.5 kg free-range chicken
100grms butter, softened
1tsp salt
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp chilli flakes
2Tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
6 cloves garlic
juice and rind of one lemon

Combine the butter with salt, paprika, chilli, rosemary, garlic and the juice and rind of lemon.  Place the lemon husks in side the chicken cavity.  Lift the skin over the breasts and thighs and smear  butter under the skin so that the flavours are absorbed into the flesh, then dab the remainder over the chicken.  Fill a roasting dish 1cm high with water.  Roast at 200 C for 80 minutes.  Baste the chicken as often as you care to.   Test for doneness by piercing the thigh to see if the juices run clear.  Remove the chicken from the oven and rest on a plate, loosely cover with tin foil to retain heat.  Use a cup of water or wine to deglaze the roasting dish reduce and serve with chicken.

Quick Puff Pastry

!50grms butter, chilled
225grms plain flour
1/2tsp salt
150mls water

Cut the chilled butter into cubes.  Sift the flour and the salt.   Add the butter and water and combine ingredients breaking the butter down as little as possible.  Rest dough for 20 minutes.  Roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 15cm x 30cm.  Fold in the right hand third and then fold over the left hand third so that there is three layers of pastry.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Roll pastry with smooth side on the left hand fold pastry in thirds as above and rest.  Repeat this process again.  Roll to desired thickness and use.

Apple Tarte Tatin

 4 apples peeled, cored and Quartered
1/2 cup caster sugar
50grms butter
butter puff pastry (bought if you like)

I usually prepare and bake this dish in my 20cm  frypan as it is ovensafe.    The first step to this dish is to melt the sugar into a rich brown caramel.  On a low heat pour the sugar into pan, stir occasionally  while the sugar dissolves be patient and allow it to form a rich colour.  Take pan off heat, add butter and apples carefully being aware that the caramel will splatter a little and is very hot!  Return to heat and allow caramel to soften and apple to glaze.  Arrange apple nicely in the caramel remembering that the bottom is going to be inverted,  cover with a thin layer of pastry and bake for 20minutes at 200C.  Flip, cut and serve with vanilla bean ice-cream.

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