This Tarte Tatin recipe from The Modern Vegetarian is best enjoyed as a starter
Alice Hart: "Traditionally, Tarte Tatin is a dessert made from apples. This version, however, uses less sugar and vinegar to produce a ‘tarter’ taste which, together with the figs and sharpness of the manchego, creates a sensational mix of flavours, spiced up with peppery rocket.
You can also try this recipe with half-roasted plum tomatoes, whole cherry vines, cooked artichoke hearts, roasted fennel quarters or cooked quinces – they all work equally well. Try changing the cheese, too; a blue works beautifully with figs, as does pecorino. Another idea is to reduce some balsamic vinegar to a syrup over a low heat (don’t refrigerate this, as it will set) and drizzle over the tarts – it’s fantastic!
You will need blini pans for this. Blini pans are mini frying pans traditionally made from cast iron, about 12cm in diameter. There are some great non-stick varieties widely available."
Preheat the oven to 190°C/mark 5. Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into 4 circles, slightly larger than the blini pans (approximately 15cm). Perforate all over with a fork and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Put the sugar in a pan with a dash of water. Allow the mixture to boil until a nut-brown caramel forms, then remove from the heat. Carefully add the vinegar and thyme and pour the caramel into 4 blini tins.
Cut the figs in half lengthways and place 4 halves in each pan, cut side down. Lay a pastry circle on each, tucking in the edges. Place on an oven tray and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and puffed.
Remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes before inverting each one onto a flat plate. Top with shaved manchego, drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper.
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