The way an idea is born and ripens is one of my favourite things in life. It begins with a tiny spark–you don't know where it's going but you know it feels too good to dismiss. It's like candlelight you follow through the dark tunnels of mind and soul until the flame brightens and you begin to see hints of treasures around you. Objects you can't quite make out. You move closer to one and then another, observing which desires more of your attention–you find one brings more excitement than the rest. You move in closer and notice the intricacy and how it shimmers. You want to know all it's curves, smooth parts and rough patches. You are bound to it now. You don't want this intoxicating momentum to stop so you must begin. You follow each clue and step along the way which continues to reveal a new hint, a new part of the journey.
The thrill is in following the mystery and seeing where it takes you. Sometimes you don't know it's happening until you reflect back on how you got where you are, and it clicks–you can see the elaborate tapestry that has woven itself in and around your bones. Whether it's a creative project, a trip away or new activity you want to try. All of it, is chasing a feeling that you believe this thing will bring you joy and make you feel more alive.
This particular idea begins at the market. A buttery croissant in hand–you stroll past a cheese shop, buckets of dried lentils and grains, and stands overflowing with fruits and vegetables. Plums are in season and are calling you, enticing you to bring them home. You cannot deny them.
You arrive home, brew some coffee and peruse your kitchen slowly.
Puff pastry in the freezer, sugar in the pantry, a dash of this and that– a tarte tatin is a possibility. C'est magnifique.
Warm the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add salt and then cinnamon sugar. Let it melt. Place cut plums and place in the pan. Lay puff pastry on top and tuck into sides to make it all cozy. Bake.
Right side up. Then upside down. A tarte tatin is born.
It feels like this dessert should be eaten amongst the rolling hills of a French vineyard. Greens and purples everywhere.
Add some fresh made ginger ice cream (vanilla works too) and serve with wine for more layers of feelings, tastes and smells.
Savour slowly with drinks, laughter and the sharing of stories and ideas. Wander into a conversation of daydreams and vacationing in the South of France. It feels as if you're practically there already.
You begin looking into Airbnb's, where to eat, flights prices–the idea has momentum and cannot be stopped now. It's taken hold inside and you can see it shimmering, inviting you in.
From what began as a trip to the market, turned coffee in the kitchen, turned midday wine and dessert with a friend, turned international adventure. You never know where an idea will take you. But let's follow them, okay? Our lives will be better for it.
PLUM TARTE TATIN + GINGER MILK ICE CREAM
t h e m a g i c
i n s p i r a t i o n : Morning market walks + French pastry.
f e e l s : Sweet + spiced, like eating mulled wine.
e a t w i t h : Friends, lovers, family, wine, coffee, tea, vanilla ice cream (instead of ginger), whipped cream, pouring cream, custard, crème fraîche, brandy, port.
m i g h t l i k e i f y o u ' r e i n t o : The French countryside, mulled wine, stone houses, bicycles with baskets, flower markets, quaint gardens, patisseries.
t h e s c i e n c e
makes one 10 inch tarte tatin
i n g r e d i e n t s :
- 1 sheet of butter puff pastry, defrosted in fridge overnight if frozen.
- 15 - 18 small plums (mine were approx. 2 inches in length)
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 5 tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
m e t h o d :
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut your puff pastry into a circle a little larger than your pan. I lay the pan on top the puff pastry upside down and cut around. Place circle of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lay saran wrap on top and place into fridge to keep cold.
- Cut plums in half and remove pits.
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon until evenly combined.
- Place cast iron pan on stovetop over medium heat and melt the butter and salt together. Add the cinnamon sugar to the pan and let simmer, stirring occasionally. Once sugar is mostly melted and mixture is evenly combined, remove from heat. Place plums around the skillet in 2 to 3 layers, skin side down.
- Remove puff pastry circle from the fridge and lay on top of plums. Tuck pastry into the sides of the pan around the plums. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes of until the pastry is golden brown.
- Let cool for a couple minutes, use butter knife or small offset spatula to loosen the edges of the tart. Wearing an oven mitt, pick up cast iron pan and flip upside down over a flat plate or cutting board to remove tart. Cut into wedges and serve with ginger ice cream or whatever you please.
*Best eaten the day of, but will keep nicely covered at room temperature for one day. Store in airtight container in the fridge if keeping for longer. Makes a nice leftover breakfast.