summer cinnamon & strawberry tarte tatin

if i had to pick one recipe to represent the summer strawberry season it would be this one. it is a combination of jammy strawberries, fragrant cinnamon and sweet maple syrup. oh and butter, always butter. it is a simple recipe, fool proof really, you hardly even need to measure anything you could really just go with your gut instincts on this baby. of course i will share all the measurements below but if there is one kind of recipe you can be more free hand with it would be that of the tarte tatin's. 

tarte tatin's are a french upside-down pastry where the fruit is caramelized in butter and sweetener (sugar) before the tart is baked. once you have a buttery bubbling sweet caramel you add in your fruit to simmer (time will depend on what fruit you use) with the caramel before topping it with a layer of puff pastry and baking it in the oven until the pastry is a rich beautiful golden brown. 

tarte tatin's come about with just a few simple ingredients; butter, sugar, {vanilla and spices if you like}, fruit of choice and puff pastry. it is one of those desserts that your friends and family will think took hours to make because it is kinda show stopping when you turn it out onto a plate after baking it but truthfully they can take as little as 10-15 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes of baking time.

i also have a pear tarte tatin recipe hiding in my archives here. it is a lovely dessert for the upcoming cooler fall days when the pears are in season. but like i said the fruit of choice can really be almost anything; stone fruits like peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums work beautifully in tarte tatin's. fall fruits like pears and apples are really delicious as well. i can imagine when figs are at their prime they would be quite nice too.

i top my tarte tatin's with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream. alternatively you could opt for yogurt or whipped cream, but something about warm fruit, crispy pastry and ice cream that is just so darn divine. one bite and you will be taken to the middle of france, sitting on an outside veranda, sipping espresso in the morning dappled light, while the smell of creamy ice cream melts with the intensity of warm strawberries. 

cinnamon maple strawberry tarte tatin-26.jpg

summer cinnamon & strawberry tarte tatin

ingredients

1 square of puff pastry (either flat or rolled)

5 cups of whole strawberries

3 tbsp of butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla

1/8 tsp cinnamon

directions

preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

defrost your prepared puff pastry (or if you have a recipe of your own to make go for that, I have yet to embark on that journey but it is on my list of things to conquer). you can buy the already flat rolled puff pastry or the blocks. if it is a block roll the pastry out to the size of your cast iron or oven safe dish. if it is already rolled most will fit a 9x9 or slightly bigger dish and you can just fold over the square edges before tucking in the rest.

in a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. 

in a cast iron skillet or oven safe ceramic dish melt 3 tbsp of butter on medium heat. add in the whisked maple syrup, lightly stir and then let the butter and maple syrup start to bubble and caramelize (don't stir it) about 5-8 minutes. 

once the caramel is bubbling turn the heat down to a low medium and add in the whole strawberries (de-stemmed) in one circular layer. let this cook for another 5 minutes. 

next place the layer of puff pastry over the strawberries, folding the square ends over and tucking in the edges with a spoon. place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. 

once cooked cool for 5 minutes before placing a plate over the cast iron dish and flipping the tart over. don't let the tart cool for too long or it will stick to the bottom of the cast iron but do let it cool for at least 5 minutes or else it won't set properly.

if you do happen to leave it too long and when you flip nothing comes out; place the dish back into a warm over for a few minutes and then immediately flip it once it comes out. you are just warming it enough to loosen from the bottom. 

serve with a dollop of whipped cream, yogurt or a scoop of ice cream!


double chocolate espresso cake with a hidden berry middle

it's dark, it's rich, it's moist, it's decadent, it's chocolate. ok, i know that i have shared this chocolate cacao cake a couple of times on this space but it is seriously just so good and with the different icings the cake is completely transformed. you can find it in cupcake form here with a coconut matcha icing and here in mini cake form with a raspberry glaze...today you will find it in a double layer form with the creamiest most luxurious espresso buttercream. double chocolate people!

it is pretty amazing how you just change one small element, in this case the icing and it changes the entire vibe of the cake. all three versions are amazing and delicious, this is by far the richest. chocolate on chocolate, only a small slice needed and the little hidden berry compote middle makes the perfect break in all the chocolate on chocolate. 

i make this cake every single year for father's day, paul's birthday and usually on other occasion and have been doing so for years and years, so trust me when i say this cake is tried, tested and true! people rave about it every time i serve it so i don't think it is just my taste and maybe imagination that think it is so damn good. who knows maybe my family and friends just don't want to hurt my feelings...scratch that my family and friends are way to honest to hold back any praises for the not so good. 

for the berry compote you could use any kind of berry you like. i used raspberries here but strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, loganberries would all work just the same. you could even try it with a stone fruit, apricot compote? peach? cherry?! if you are switching out the berry from the raspberries used here you can make the compote just the same, cooking time may vary depending on the berry or fruit used. 

i am off this weekend with my bestie to visit my momma over on the mainland. my auntie is visiting from alberta too so it will be a full on girls weekend. we are going to dine and pamper and eat all the eats! i have another summer dessert recipe i want to test on them so wish me luck! if it turns out i will share here too. i think it is going to be delicious...don't worry they will tell me otherwise ;) 


double chocolate espresso cake with a hidden berry middle

dry ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cacao powder

1 cup cane sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp himlayan salt

wet ingredients

1 1/4 cups fresh brewed coffee

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp pure vanilla

raspberry middle

2 cups frozen raspberries

1 tbsp pure vanilla

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp cornstarch (mixed with two tbsp of water)

chocolate espresso buttercream

1 1/2 cups butter

1 cup cacao powder

5 cups organic icing sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 tbsp pure vanilla

1 tsp espresso powder

 

directions

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. with coconut oil grease and flour (use cacao to flour here or your cake will turn out a little white) 2 - 9 inch cake pans. 

in a large bowl mix all of the wet ingredients together. set aside. 

in a medium bowl mix whisk together the maple syrup, buttermilk, vanilla and eggs. let the fresh brewed coffee and melted butter cool slightly before gradually adding them into the buttermilk mixture, whisking continuously. 

pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks to cool completely. 

berry compote

while the cakes are baking make the raspberry middle. add the frozen raspberries, vanilla and maple syrup to a sauce pan. bring to a boil and then down to a simmer for 5-8 minutes (you want to crush all of the raspberries so it is sauce like). add in the cornstarch and water and cook for another couple of minutes. pour mixture into a bowl and let cool in the fridge. (this can be made the night before, as can the icing).

buttercream

in a large standing mixer add the butter and cream it on medium speed. after about 2 minutes add the cacao powder and cream together until well combined. 

next add the icing sugar and milk, one cup of sugar to one tablespoon of milk, mix and continue adding the rest just like. 

once the buttercream is completely mixed and the right consistency (adding more sugar or milk until you get it to where you would like it) add in the espresso powder and vanilla and mix throughly.

assembling

once the cakes have completely cooled, place one cake on your desired serving dish.

add a layer of buttercream with a slightly thicker one inch boarder, leaving a bit of a well in the middle. fill the well with the berry compote (you don't want to overfill here or else it will spill out the sides so you may have some compote leftover, not to worry it is a great topping for morning oatmeal, yogurt or with granola). 

top with the second cake and cover the entire cake with buttercream. serve! it goes lovely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.