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Hi Bold Bakers!
My Shallot Tarte Tatin has a flavor combination of caramelized shallots, fresh thyme, and buttery puff pastry — and it’s like nothing else.
While my sweet tooth is ever-present, I absolutely love savory baking. My recipe for Shallot Tarte Tatin is savory baking at its best.
As tarte tatins are often made sweet with apples or stone fruit, I love the idea of taking this classic dessert and making it with savory ingredients. The flavor combination of caramelized shallots, fresh thyme, and buttery puff pastry is like nothing else.
What is a Tarte Tatin?
As I mentioned, a tarte tatin is usually made as a dessert. In Big and Bold fashion, though, I’m pushing the envelope with this one and making it a savory sensation. No matter what, though, a tarte tatin is made by cooking fruits — or in this case shallots — in some kind of caramel, then covering it with puff pastry and baking it.
After it’s baked, the whole thing is inverted, or turned out, revealing a rich pastry with caramelized shallots and herbs baked right into it. You also may be wondering why you would cook the shallots in caramel of sorts. Well, this isn’t just any caramel, its a combination of brown sugar, butter, and balsamic vinegar. This mixture adheres to the shallots and becomes the most flavorful “glue,” holding the tarte together.
Accented by lemony fresh thyme, I really can’t think of a better savory baked good.
How to Caramelize Shallots
It’s really important to take the time to properly caramelize the shallots. Since the tart tatin only spends a short time in the oven, you really want to par-cook your shallots in the pan over low heat before topping them with their pastry hat.
Laying the shallots cut side down in the balsamic caramel not only makes for a lovely presentation but ensures each shallot is really soft and properly caramelized. I know it might be tempting to move the shallots around once they are planted face down in the caramel, but just remember, the bottom of the pan will become the top of the tarte tatin once inverted. The goal is just to gently cook the shallots through while keeping them in place.
What if my Tarte Tatin Sticks to the Pan?
Once the partially cooked shallots are covered with a puff pastry circle, you want to carefully tuck the side of the pastry into the sides of the pan nice and tight. This is key as it will hold in all of the juices the shallots release when cooking.
Once the Shallot Tarte Tatin is cooked and the puff pastry is golden, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool just enough to handle. The trick to inverting the tart is to do it while it’s still warm because as it cools the caramel will harden, causing the shallots to stick to the pan. So, while the tart is warm — go for it!
After turning the tart out, you’ll reveal a beautiful caramelized Shallot Tarte Tatin. I like to top mine with crumbled blue cheese as this salty creamy cheese does wonders for the sweet balsamic shallots. If you don’t like blue cheese, feel free to top with goat cheese or whatever you like.
Shallot Tarte Tatin Recipe
- Place a 10-inch ovenproof pan over medium heat.
- Add the butter and sugar to the pan, then gently swirl the pan until the sugar is dissolved. Add the thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the shallots in the pan, cut side down, packing them in until they completely cover the base of the pan then turn the heat down to low and allow to caramelize for 10 minutes or until the shallots are soft.
- Pour in the balsamic vinegar, swirl the pan to distribute and continue to simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat.
- Using a small sharp knife, cut a circle a little larger than the size of the pan out of the puff pastry.
- Cover the shallots with the pastry, ensuring you tuck the edges in around the walls of the pan (this will help to hold all the juices in when you turn out the tart).
- Bake the tart at 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden.
- Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Gently turn the tarte tatin by placing your serving dish over the top of the pastry and inverting the pan.
- Garnish with crumbled blue cheese and slice. Serve warm.
- Cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.