The egg of Narcissus by Dali and the Tatin sisters….Pastry Chef Sergio del Castillo Mora

Sergio del Castillo Mora’s latest project was all about investigating the classic Tarte Tatin.

Apples are perfectly loved also in japan however for this creation he decided to work with pears.

To think that this iconic tarte came all out of a complete accident!!!!!

The classicTarte Tatin has a very charming story that people should know as the story really makes you appreciate the tarte even more:

Once upon a time, in a far far away coun­try, in the mid­dle of France, at the end of the nine­teenth Cen­tury, lived two sis­ters. They were called Car­o­line and Fanny Tatin.
They run together a lovely coun­try hotel in the mar­velous region of Sologne, appre­ci­ated by hunters. Fanny took care of the hotel and Car­o­line was in charge of the restaurant.

Research shows that the Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin  in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 100 miles (160 km) South of Paris, in the 1880s . The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin . There are conflicting stories concerning the tart’s origin, but the most common is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day.

She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven.

After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. In an alternative version of the tart’s origin, Stéphanie baked a caramelized apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born.

However, regardless of the veracity of this story, the concept of the “upside down tarts” was not a new one. For instance, patissier M.A. Carême already mentions glazed gâteaux renversées adorned with apples from Rouen or other fruit in his “Patissier Royal Parisien” (1841).

The Tarte became a signature dish of the Hotel Tatin. Historians and gourmets have argued whether it is a genuine creation of the Demoiselles (sisters) Tatin, or the branding of an improved version of the “tarte solognotte”, a traditional dish named after the Sologne region which surrounds Lamotte-Beuvron. Research suggests that, while the tarte became a specialty of the Hotel Tatin, the sisters did not set out to create a “signature dish”.

They never wrote a cookbook or published their recipe. They never even called it Tarte Tatin. That recognition was bestowed upon them by Curnonsky, the famous French author and epicure, as well as the Parisian restaurant Maxim’s after the sisters’ deaths.

One of the legends has it that Louis Vaudable, the owner of Maxim’s, once tasted it and was smitten. As he described it: “I used to hunt around Lamotte-Beuvron in my youth, and had discovered in a very small hotel run by elderly ladies a marvelous dessert listed on the menu under tarte solognote. I questioned the kitchen staff about its recipe, but was sternly rebuffed.Undaunted, I got myself hired as a gardener. Three days later, I was fired when it became clear that I could hardly plant a cabbage. But this was long enough to pierce the secrets of the kitchen. I brought the recipe back, and put it on my own menu under “Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin”.

Unfortunately, Mr. Vaudable was born in 1902, and the sisters retired in 1906. They died in 1911 and 1917, while Maxim’s was purchased by the Vaudable family in 1932.

The charming thing about this story is that we chefs clearly would do anything when we want to find out how something is made if is really significant, including becoming a gardener.

The other important factore in this story which, some accidents in the kitchen can lead to new inovations!!!!!!!!

Here is a little insight a recent interpretation:

This is an example of a recipe for a tarte tatin by Christophe Michalak using, of course, caramelized apples, but also a touch of creativity is applied to his interpretation of the classic tarte tatin.

The absolute great think about this tart is that as long as this planet is going around and around so will Tarte Tatin. It is irregardless of culture a dish that can be interpreted again and again finding endless interpretations.

Of course in Japan there is also a huge love for this beautiful creation.

Pastry Chef Sergio del Castillo Mora wanted to explore a even more surreal interpretation.

Appart from investigating the Tarte Tatin, there was also another inspiration at hart and this was a painting the great Dali.

His first initial starting point was this painting:

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus

by Salvador Dali, 1937

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus from 1937, one of very few Dali works that feature flowers. The handsome young man from Ovid’s tale fixates on his own reflection. Soon he’ll drown in it, and be transformed into the flower that takes his name. The Spanish surrealist has painted a chalky hand patterned on the hero’s stance. It holds an egg (one of Dali’s favorite symbols) that’s cracked for the opening blossom.

The Tarte Tatin most certainly is in constant metamorphosis in the sense of the many reinventions over time so it seemed a suitable association to make.

He used caramelised pears, Tarte Tatin crumble and a XO brandy froth with a star anise ice-cream.

He felt it was important to respected the traditional principles and flavours and applied modern techniques.

The chocolate stem with the yellow flower pettles is a symbol of the flower emerging from the egg in Dali’s painting
The most magical thing was that when we brake the the sugar dome it brakes in the shape of a Pear.

Viva la Tarte Tatin  and the many interpretations yet to come 🙂