My chocolate and Pastry Experiences

Scottish part time chocolatier in London enjoying all things Chocolate and Pastry

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Tarte Tatin with Puff Pastry (Pâte feuilletée)

I have decided to enter the Galvin Brothers Tarte Tatin competition that is held during their week long food festival.

I thought that this would be relatively easy, and I remembered a French friend showing me how to make one about 5 years ago. Even at the time I didn’t take much in as they were a chef by profession and just went too fast for me.

The first decision to make was whether to use shortcrust or puff pastry (Pâte brisée or Pâte feuilletée).  Legendery Patisier and MOF Pierre Hermes, michelin starred chefs Thomas Keller of New York’s French Laundry and Raymond Blanc from Le Manoir favour shortcrust (or broken) pastry whilst Le Cordon Bleu cookery school and Pastry chef Claire Clark MBE favour puff pastry. The Galvin brothers use shortcrust in their book “Galvin” but I have decided to use puff pastry

Having decided that Puff was the way to go, I set about making it.

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Having never made puff pastry since first year in school over 20 something years ago, I scoured all my recipe books and Youtube videos for help. I found the best videos demonstrating the method to be Richard Bertinet’s video and Raiza Costa.

I then used Le Cordon Bleu Patissiere and Baking Foundations book for the Tarte Tatin itself, also using the video (in french) of Meileur du Chef to ensure my stages were going as they should do. I would recommend peeling an extra 2 apples as I ran out and had to use a different variety, which doesn’t look as good when the tarte is turned out. There are lots of different varieties of apple to use, DON’T USE COOKING APPLES. I used Granny Smith in this with the inner circle being Cox’s, there is a huge difference in consistency after all the cooking, the Granny Smith really held their shape whilst the Cox’s where much more mushy.  Braeburn’s seem to be the advised, so next time I will use them, and I will make sure I use enough of them.

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After being in the oven for about 30mins, I removed the Tarte and immediately smashed the crust on the oven shelf by accident, ordinarily this would be a bad thing but as I was turning it over I wasn’t so upset.

tarte tatinP1030438 I’m not convinced that my pastry was as it should be, having smashed the top I could see some flakey layers but not as many as I’d have expected. I think that the butter went a little warm whilst making the pastry. I’m also not sure whether I flipped this over too early as the caramel was quite runny still and looked very oily.
Pate feuilleté (Puff Pastry)

500 g (1 lb) Flour
10 g (¾ tsp) Salt
225 mL (2½ fl oz) Water
75 g (7 oz) Melted butter
200 g (7 oz) Butter
1 Egg for egg wash


  1. Sift the flour and salt onto a cold work surface. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and melted butter. Combine the ingredients using the fingertips.
  2. Using a pastry scraper, work the flour and butter mixture until loose crumbs form. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water, being careful not to use too much or it will become sticky.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball. This is the détrempe. Cut an “X” on top to prevent shrinkage. Wrap dough in floured baking paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Flatten the détrempe and, leaving a mound in the centre, roll it out to form a cross. Place the butter in the centre of the cross.
  5. Fold over each section of dough, pulling it lightly to completely enclose the butter. This is the pâton. Lightly flour the work surface and the rolling pin, rolling it over the top of the dough to seal the edges.
  6. Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a long rectangle. Fold the bottom-third up towards the middle. Bring the top-third of the dough over the folded third and brush off any excess flour. The dough should be square, have three layers and the edges should align. This is the first “turn”. Give the square a quarter turn so that the exposed edge is on the right (as if the dough were a book). Gently press the edges to seal. Roll it out into a long rectangle and fold in thirds as previously described. This is the second “turn”. Mark the dough with a fingertip to indicate the number of turns. Chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Repeat, making a total of six “turns”. Chill for 30 minutes after each second turn.


Tarte Tatin
6 Apples
54g Butter
167g Caster Sugar
208g Puff Pastry
7.5″ Tarte Tatin Mould


  1. Preheat over to 170°c
  2. Peel and core the apples, rub with lemon to prevent them browning.
  3. Place Tarte Tatin mould over a medium heat and add butter. Once this has melted add the sugar and stir in well. Stirring regularly, cook the sugar until it begins to caramelise.  Once the sugar has turned a golden brown, begin to arrange the apples around the outer edge of the mould.  The apples should be tightly packed facing the same direction, add another circle inside in the opposite direction. Cook until the caramel darkens and bubbles and the apples begin to soften, approximately 20mins.
  4. Roll out puff pastry until it is slightly larger than the pan and about 1/8-in (3-mm) thick.  Remove the pan form the heat. Then roll the dough onto the rolling pin and quickly lay it over the apples. Working quickly ( the dough will begin to soften from the heat of the apples), tuck the edges of the dough inside the edges of the pan using the back of a spoon.
  5. Place the tarte in the oven and bake until the pastry is nicely browned and a knife can be easily inserted into the apple. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Place the serving dish over the pan and quickly flip the pan over then gently lift the mould.


The tart can be left to cool in the mould. To unmould, gently heat the caramel before unmoulding. The cooled tart can he brushed with apricot glaze if desired.


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Hix Dessert Launch and Reflections

We all met in the Godiva Concession where we were delighted with Champagne Truffles and Creme Brulee TrufflesIMAG1378.

Following some chocolate we all went up to Hix and toasted the night with the fantastic Choctini,I81A9313 I really should’ve found out how to make it as it was simply divine and I could see myself making this at home.

I was joined by a few of my friends I81A9326to help celebrate the launch of my dessert onto the menu of Hix after winning the Godiva Chocolate Challenge 2014.

The Hix staff brought out lots of plates of the new dessert and I felt a little under the microscope, everyone was watching to see my reaction.  I was really pleased that Chef Martin hadn’t changed anything, and I was please with itIMAG1383 how it looked and tasted.  It was good to try the dessert after being made by the professionals. In fact I’m back again tonight to try the dessert with some other friends who weren’t there last night.

It was a shame that Mark Hix wasn’t there as I was looking forward to chatting with him again, but I did meet Ronnie Murray who is the Hix Group Head Chef and had I good chat with him who’s background is pastry.

This whole experience has been amazing. From seeing the competition details in the Stylist Magazine email Emerald Street, to researching seasonal ingredients that I could use,I81A8896 and could be used in Hix if I won (got to think positive), all the practicing that my friends got to try and comment on, the phone call from Victoria at Godiva to say that I was in the final – I was so giggly that I’m sure she thought I was a looper, the panic for that week; mentally going through every stage and writing down all the tools and ingredients so that I had everything that I needed, competing in the final and meeting the other contestants, meeting William Sitwell, Mark Hix, Juliet Northumb and Thierry Muret – I have so much more respect for the contestants on Masterchef now…my amazing trip to Brussels traveling on Euro-Star, the day in the kitchen of Hix, the launch and seeing my dessert on the menu IMAG1389…I still have a visit to the Innovation center in Brussels with Thierry to look forward to.

My chocolate adventures will continue…Click for the launch pics
Pictures courtesy of John Gough