Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sweet Little Things!

"Tarte Tatin" di Mango & Goji
Mango & Goji Berry Tart Tatin

Living on my own, the portions I tend to make are of course small ones, which can be frustrating at times and which is the main reason that the dishes I create are so simple. By all my love of cooking, something would not be worth making, due to their elaborate nature, if they were to be prepared for one. But does that mean I have to do without the occasional treat now and again? I don't think so! 

Case at hand- this little tarte tatin... barely more than a handful in itself! And how did it come to be? Well, the story went a little bit like this... and it is a story I am sure that most of you will be able to relate to rather well...

Don't you just hate it when you buy yourself a fruit that you don't tend to eat every day as a little treat- like this mango here... only to find that when you come around to finally enjoy it... discover that it is a little bland and disappointing? Well I certainly do! But I am not going to let a disappointing fruit get the better of me- nor do I like to throw away anything for that matter. No- an almost sure-fire way to bring out the best of a not-so-flavorful fruit is to heat it up in one way or other, add a little sugar or honey to help coax the fruits own sweetness and flavor and to add a little spice like cinnamon, anis or vanilla...

In this case, I sliced the mango away from the hard core, then cut each half into thin slices, cutting across the grain. It only took a half of a mango to be honest, to make this small tarte... not that you people think I am over-indulging here! I put the slices into a small pan, with a little water and brought it up to the boil. I let it simmer until the water had evaporated away and cooked into the mango slices, then sprinkled them with cinnamon, covered them again with water and repeated the process. By now the mango had begun to soften and to become sticky with its own natural pectin... which is a good thing!

Next, I added a splash of Cointreau (optional- but it's a good idea!), the goji berries, a squeeze of lime and a good trickle of honey. Again, I added enough water to just about cover the fruit, stirred in the honey and let it simmer again until all of the juices had soaked in, reduced down and thickened nicely. 

Whilst the mango was simmering, I turned on the oven to 400°F to heat up, and cut myself a circle of puff pastry that was the size of the bottom of my small frying pan. I pushed the mango slices and berries carefully together into the middle of the frying pan and placed the circle of pastry on top, then immediately put the pan into the hot oven, but reduced the heat down to 350°F for the pastry to bake. If, like me, you do not have a small frying pan with a metal handle, simply wrap you handle in foil to protect it- it will work perfectly fine for short cooking times like this!

Yes indeed, just 10-15 minutes later, the pastry was puffed up and brown and ready to go! I let it cool for 10 minutes or so, then placed a small plate on top of it and flipped the pan upside down to turn out the tarte... and that was all that it took!

Not too sweet, nice and tasty- and definitely better than simply eating a bland fruit! With a cup of espresso to go with it, this made a great final course this evenings meal... it's easy when you know how!

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