Tradition says that the Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France in 1898. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. There are conflicting stories concerning the tart's origin, but the predominant one is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day.
She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. An alternative version of the tart's origin is offered on the Brotherhood of the Tarte Tatin website, according to which Stéphanie baked a caramelised apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born.
The Tarte became a signature dish at the Hotel Tatin and the recipe spread through the Sologne region. Its lasting fame is probably due to the restaurateur Louis Vaudable, who tasted the tart on a visit to Sologne and made the dessert a permanent fixture on the menu at his restaurant Maxim's of Paris.
On Monday night we served a savoury tarte tatin with caramelised red onions and goat's cheese. Fortunately, none were burned and no new traditions were started! Following the tarte we served lamb with fondant potato, Provencal vegetables and basil jus. Vegetarians were served linguini.
The crowning glory of Monday's dinner had to be the sweet, Mille Feuille of Raspberry and Mint. This great combination of sweet raspberries and light puff pastry, really highlights the effort of our kitchens!
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