The bakery I usually go to in Paris is great. They opened about a year ago and I was instantly smitten with the open design that gives you a peek in the actual bakery. You can see the bakers work the dough, form croissants and prepare all those other good things they sell there. And even though it is a very busy place (around lunch time you’d better be prepared to stand in line with a lot of people from the nearby offices, all buying their menu of sandwich, boisson et dessert) it’s totally worth the wait.
But, there are two tiny things that are a bit annoying. The first is that this place is closed on thursdays. Thursdays!
What kind of strange, randomly picked day is that? I could understand sundays or even mondays, though frankly any day without a bakery is a bad one, but thursdays? That just doesn’t make sense. My second favourite nearby bakery is closed on weekends, they told me they sell so much during the week, there’s simply no need for the extra income!
The other thing that slightly bothers me, even more than the closed-on-thursdays-policy, is that the girl behind the counter never understands what I say. And when I say never, I mean never. She always makes me repeat my order at least 3 times, and has me wondering if my French is really that bad.
But not any more! recently I went there with MrintheKitchen and to my surprise (and joy I may say!), he had exactly the same problem. She didn’t understand what he said and made him repeat the order 3 times.
Now, I know this doesn’t prove anything and my French may still be bad, but I do find some comfort in the fact that even born and raised Frenchmen can’t order their baguette without trouble.
It was on that occasion that I was drawn to the tarte tatins in the shop window, they were of the classic type, made with apples. And I remembered I still had some prunes, and no real purpose for them. I decided there and then to try a tarte tatin with prunes, surely as delicious a pair with the pie as apples. And indeed they were, the advantage of prunes is that they become sweet and sticky when baked. So if you combine a fruit that’s already so well suited for baking with caramel and sweet short crust pastry, you know something good is going to happen.
I’m a bit ashamed to say we ate the pie the same day. Just the two of us and it was gone before we knew it.
90 gr (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 80 gr (3/4 cup) sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 200 gr (2 cups) all purpose flour
- 50 gr butter
- 50 gr sugar
- And 600 gr (1 lb 5 oz) quetsch prunes, washed, de-pitted and cut in four
- Mix the butter and sugar until a creamy mixture
- Add the egg yolks one by one
- After they've been fully incorporated, add the flour.
- Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F
- Roll out the dough on a floured work surface until it is a bit bigger than your pie form
- Use a pan with a thick bottom to melt the butter and sugar on low heat until caramelized (be careful, this is extremely hot!). Do NOT stir the caramel after it starts boiling, as this will result in crystallization of the sugar, and even before it starts boiling, there's no need to stir a lot*
- Place the prune quarters on the bottom of your pie mold
- Pour the caramel over the prunes and cover it all with the dough
- Tuck the dough in a bit, like a blanket
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown
- Take the pie out of the oven and let cool off on a rack
- Once cooled, gently turn over the pie to release it