As summer begins to fade and the autumn chill starts to creep in, I always start thinking about what new dishes I’m going to add the menu – I mean, I’m pretty much thinking about this all day everyday but, I really start researching and testing recipes which is probably my absolute favourite thing to do. (Al’s favourite thing is to eat these tests. A happy coincidence)
To keep things fresh each winter I will introduce some completely new dishes to the chalet menu and then in other cases, old recipes evolve organically as I make improvements and changes based on the guests reactions throughout the season. You can see this process of cooking evolution quite clearly when you compare the savoury tart I served in 4 years ago to the one that we served last year…
In my first season I put together a recipe for a red pepper and brie tart tatin. I had read various similar recipes and loved the idea of a savoury tart tatin as the classic version with apples is generally found on every dessert menu in the Haute Savoie. I felt that it would be a playful way of giving a nod to this delicious classic dish without being boring and repetitive!
I went into my first season as a pretty inexperienced cook – don’t get me wrong I had cooked a lot but, to tackle cooking three courses for 20+ people on a daily basis, was in a completely different league.
So initially my aim was to create dishes that were delicious and impressive on the plate but realistically simple for me to be able to cook. The tatin was a perfect dish in this respect as it looked fantastic on the plate but is extremely simple to put together. The sweetness of roasted red peppers works beautifully with the creamy melted brie then adding a balsamic reduction also made this dish feel a little more refined – the sweetness worked with the peppers and it also worked well to dress the plate to give it a more finished look.
The recipe is below. As the title suggests though, this was only the beginning.
Brie and red pepper tart tatin with rocket salad and balsamic reduction
Makes 7 tarts
1 packet of pre-rolled puff pastry
7 roasted, peeled red peppers (I use the ones in oil that come in jars!)
500 ml balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Heat the oven to 180 degrees
Heat the balsamic & sugar in a saucepan until it is reduced by about 75% and has a syrupy consistency
Place seven 10cm tart rings (the kind which don’t have bottoms) on a non stick oven tray.
Brush the tray and the rings with olive oil.
Drizzle a little of the balsamic reduction into the middle each tart ring.
Cut the peppers into rounds to fit the tart rings and remove the seeds – I have a 10cm cookie cutter that fit perfectly and made this really quick. Place the pieces, shiny side down onto the tray within the rings.
Top with thin slices of brie then season with salt and pepper.
Cut 10cm circles out of the pastry (if you can’t get pre-rolled then it should be about 5mm thick) and then place this on top of the brie.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden then loosen the rings with a sharp knife and carefully turn the tarts over onto plate so that the pepper side is up.
Top with a handful of rocket and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction.
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