Friday, January 4, 2013
Apple Tart Tartin With Annoying And Delicious Gluten-Free Crust
When your lovely hostess invites you to a small dinner party, be wary of offering up your infamous and decadent apple tart tartin (which you can whip up in your sleep...) lest you hear this now ubiquitous phrase, 'Can you make the crust gluten-free?'. Hold steady, because in spite of the fact that you have never made a gluten-free crust and are unbelievably lazy when it comes to preparing food for dinner parties, you will agree without hesitation.
As I hung up the phone, my over inflated culinary ego quickly morphed into a quivering, bitter, insecure nub of mortal flesh. In a stupor of fear, I made my way to my laptop and googled gluten-free crust. Page after page after page of horror stories; phrases like 'extremely delicate' and 'difficult to handle' and 'practice makes perfect!' jumped out at me like boogeymen. I swallowed hard. There was no way around it- I would actually have to learn something new- and something NOT EASY (I told you I was lazy...).
Two hours, a trip to Whole Foods (or as it's known around my house; Whole Check) and a dozen ingredients later finds me back in my kitchen. I am physically and verbally assaulting the fragile, crumbling moist mess stuck all over my angry fingers and no amount of pleading (or profanity...) seems to be able to convince it to somehow coalesce into a perfect crust. Um, no. DEFINITELY not happening. Moving on to step #17 (I told you it was annoying...) Okaaaay.... so then me and my new BFF, Parchment Paper decide we will piece together a world map of the gluten-free wet tissue paper (I am no longer calling it 'crust') that I have now declared official war with and flip it (please keep in mind that a regular, gluten-filled crust can simply be rolled off a rolling pin onto WHATEVER you want with very little fuss) onto the boiling hot tartin when it comes out of the oven. The ensuing 'flip' turned out to be more like a semi-controlled fall (in several pieces, of course...) and there was lots of shoving, jamming, burned fingers and swearing involved.
SIDE BAR- I feel that the very significant flip already in this recipe (the one where you flip the boiling and browned finished tart accurately onto the presentation plate and EARN the whole, 'tah-dah!' element of the dessert) is MORE than enough. Having to hit a bulls-eye twice in one recipe for this not to fail (did I mention that I am lazy?!) is almost inhuman. (Really, the things I said to this crust may actually send me to hell...).
Fast forward; two dangerous (and miraculously successful!) flips later and I am lipsticked, coifed and happily ushering my gluten-free tartin into the party (which, BTW was SOOOOOOO fun!) as though it were the easiest thing in the world!. By the time dinner finished and we got to my tartin, I'd had such a great time that I had totally forgiven the crust (see? I was even calling it 'crust' again!) for sucking up my afternoon. The dessert was beautiful, the crust was light, flaky and TOTALLY delicious! People were actually on the floor cage wrestling for the last piece!
Now, here is the spot in the post where one would normally insert the recipe for the Apple Tart Tartin With Annoying And Delicious Gluten-Free Crust- but, because I care about you and do not want you to wind up in eternal hell with me for copious cussing, this is the end.