Think of them as the Oscars of the foodie world, now in their 10th year, the annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards celebrate the best new and established writers, publishers, broadcasters, photographers and personalities working in the food and drink industry. At the award ceremony last month, The Female Chef by Clare Finney and Liz Seabrook (£28, Hoxton Mini Press) was announced the winner of the Debut Food Book award. Redressing the gender imbalance in the industry, the wonderful book presents 30 female pioneers in the British food scene who are rewriting the rules and redefining what it means to be a successful chef, amongst them, the wonderful Chantelle Nicholson, who recently opened her new restaurant, Apricity, in Mayfair. Here, she shares a delicious seasonal recipe from the book.
She says: “Making tarte tatin was one of the first jobs I had to do when I started at The Savoy Grill. I had never made, nor eaten, one before, so it was a wonderful discovery. And apricots have a special place in my heart – I am lucky enough to have eaten the best, grown by my family in Central Otago; gently plucked from the tree, sun-ripened and super sweet.”
- 8 apricots
- 50g/13⁄4oz caster sugar
- 160g/53⁄4oz all-butter puff pastry
- 1⁄2 a piece of star anise
- 50g/13⁄4oz butter (kept in the fridge)
- créme fraîche, to serve
1. Roll out the puff pastry to 3mm/1⁄4in thick, then pop it onto a piece of baking parchment and put it back in the fridge for 20 minutes so the pastry can rest. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 195°C/ 380°F (175°C/350°F fan), remove the butter from the fridge and halve and destone the apricots.
2. Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut a circle to fit a small, ovenproof saucepan (approximately 12–14cm/5–51⁄2in in diameter). Place the pastry circle back on the baking parchment and return to the fridge.
3. Cut the butter into 4 pieces then press it firmly into the saucepan, using the top part of a clenched hand, into an even layer. Sprinkle over the sugar and shake the pan to distribute it evenly.
4. Grate 2 petals of the star anise onto the sugar. Push the side of one apricot half, skin down, into the sugared butter then lay the rest around the outer part of the pan, covering each other like fallen dominoes and finish with two in the centre.
5. Remove the pastry from the fridge and place on top of the apricots in the very centre of the pan. Cook over a medium-high heat until the butter and sugar begin to bubble and a golden caramel begins to form around the edges of the pastry. Put in the oven for 40–50 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Allow to rest for 5–7 minutes before placing a plate on top of the pan, then flip the entire pan over so the tarte tatin slips gracefully onto the plate to be sliced.
6. Serve with créme fraîche and anything else you fancy – ice cream, custard or cream.