Aubergine and apple may sound like an unusual combination. However, they make exquisitely delicious bedfellows in this aubergine and apple tarte tatin. This gorgeous tarte is but one of many treasures in Andrea Burgener’s superb book, Lampedusa Pie.
As awareness increases of the critical role plants play in a healthy diet, we all seek more and better ways to prepare appetizing plant-based mains. If your family is anything like mine, there may be a few dedicated meat eaters who actively resist vegetarian meals.
Personally, I like to think of this as a challenge. Why? Because challenges oblige us to push our own boundaries and abilities, and try new things.
Thus, when I stumbled across this unusual recipe for aubergine and apple tarte tatin in Andrea Burgener’s charming cookbook, Lampedusa Pie, I was delighted. Although I normally think of tarte tatin as a dessert, it also makes a brilliant main. The difference is in the flavours.
Adding aubergines to the tarte tempers the sweetness of the caramel and the apples. If you follow Andrea Burgener’s recommendation, and top each slice with a bit of brie, this moreish tarte becomes 100% savory.
Apple and aubergine tarte tatin makes a divine light, summer meal. Add a green salad, and a glass of nicely chilled white wine, and dinner is served! It’s as simple as that.
This straightforward, delicious tarte is my idea of comfort food. It’s crunchy and mildly sweet, with beautifully caramelised fruit and vegetables. In a word, divine!
About the Book
Andrea Burgener, who MasterChef SA judge Pete Goffe-Wood has called “the queen of creative cuisine” lives up to the moniker. She is a self-taught chef. So, her recipes are refreshingly unconstrained by tradition, and they’re packed with interesting and inspiring flavours.
If you’ve gotten into a cooking rut, Lampedusa Pie will snap you out of it. The book’s recipes are original, creative, and eclectic.
Despite the originality and diversity of Ms. Burgener’s dishes, they’re also the sort of homey food you could imagine your mother whipping up on a lazy Saturday. Who wouldn’t want to tuck into a cozy bowl of Austrian Buttered Bread Dumplings in Broth?
As an immigrant to Johannesburg, I love this book because its cuisine accurately reflects the vibrancy of this amazing city. Recipes, such as Leeky Bread-and-Butter Pudding are products of history and tradition. Other dishes, like Almost Zimbabwean Chicken in Peanut Sauce, bear witness to the waves of immigration that keep Johannesburg vibrant and exciting.
Lampedusa Pie is divided into five chapters which mirror the way we eat, and share, food. The book opens with “Breakfast and Beyond”, a chapter focused on recipes for breakfast-y dishes. However, many of these recipes — shakshuka, apple and aubergine tarte tatin, or pumpkin fritters — would be equally welcome at dinner.
Furthermore, an entire chapter is devoted to delightful party foods (and drinks). I can’t imagine a guest who wouldn’t love a Campari float, for instance, with a slice of Lemon-Parmesan-Chilli Bread.
If you’re not South African, the sheer diversity of flavours and recipes in Lampedusa Pie may surprise you. Ms. Burgener’s recipes have their roots in nations that span the globe — from Persia, to Ethiopia, Malaysia, and beyond. However, if you live in Johannesburg, these flavours will feel like home.
Ms. Burgener’s recipes creatively capture the foods we know and love. Lampedusa Pie is bursting with recipes that will become family favourites.
About the Recipe
Perhaps you wonder why I chose a dish from the breakfast chapter of Lampedusa Pie and prepared it for dinner? Well, this is the sort of cookbook that invites you to do just that. Ms. Burgener’s own creative approach to food rubs off as you read.
In other words, I was inspired — which is rarely a word I apply to a cookbook. I believe Ms. Burgener would approve. My family certainly did!
I strongly recommend that you follow the recipe as written the first time around. The timings are perfect. They produce a beautifully risen, golden puff pastry, along with melt in your mouth fruit and veg.
When executed correctly, this tarte is a beautiful study in textural contrasts. If you serve it with brie (as I did), it becomes an unctuous treat.
Even experienced pastry chefs occasionally struggle with caramel. Preparing caramel is a very simple process. However, sugar does have a nasty tendency to crystallise. Nothing is more frustrating than producing a pan of gloppy, grainy caramel!
To guard against this tendency, simply add a tiny bit of acid to the pan at the outset. White vinegar or lemon juice work well. Acid inhibits the sugar’s crystallisation.
Another effective strategy is to partially cover your pan while the caramel bubbles away. The condensation under the lid will impede unwanted crystallisation.
I hope you try this recipe and that your family enjoys it as much as mine. Lampedusa Pie, by Andrea Burgener, is filled with gems like this stunning tarte. Bon appétit!
Apple and Aubergine Tarte Tatin, A Recipe from Lampedusa Pie
Aubergine and apple may sound like an unusual combination. However, they make exquisitely delicious bedfellows in this aubergine and apple tarte tatin. This gorgeous tarte is but one of many treasures in Andrea Burgener's superb book, Lampedusa Pie.
- 3 green apples (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith)
- 1 large or 2 small aubergines
- 100 g butter
- 100 g sugar
- Enough puff pastry (home-made or bought) to cover a 20 cm pan
- 1 egg yolk (or milk)
- 20 cm ovenproof pan
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F).
- Step 2 Peel and core the apples, and slice them quite thinly. Peel and slice the aubergine even more thinly.
- Step 3 Melt the butter in the pan, then add the sugar and mix in a little. Let it caramelise on a medium heat, watching carefully. When it’s golden-brown, remove the pan from the heat, pour the caramelly butter into a jug or bowl, arrange the slices of aubergine and apple in the pan, and pour the butter mix back on top.
- Step 4 Place in the oven for around 15 minutes. Remove, and spoon any syrupy juice from the pan base over the apple-aubergine layer. Place the pastry carefully on top, tucking into the edges.
- Step 5 Brush the pastry with the yolk (or milk) and bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown.
- Step 6 Place a plate over the pan and flip over so that the pastry forms the base. Don’t worry, even if some pieces stick to the pan, you just prise them off and re-lay them casually on top. Eat immediately.
Photos and recipe by Andrea Burgener, 2013, from the book, Lampedusa Pie. Shared courtesy of Bookstorm Publishers.
Lampedusa Pie is a cookbook you will want to add to your collection. It is available in South Africa at Exclusive Books and takealot.com. It’s also available internationally on Amazon.com.