“There are some recipes that get me really excited – and this is one of them. There’s something about the crispy pastry and sticky glazed vegetables that satisfies any craving, sweet or savory. It’s great eaten any time of day and looks pretty enough to wow at a dinner party. It’s also nowhere near as hard to make as the end result would suggest – but that can be our little secret.”
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
400g butternut squash
3 red onions
30g muscovado sugar
A large knob butter
375g block of puff pastry
A sprig of rosemary
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
Add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and a large knob of butter to a large, high-sided oven-proof non-stick frying pan. Thinly slice the onions and cook on a medium-high heat along with the sugar, some cracked black pepper and a generous pinch of sea salt. After 5 minutes, throw in the walnuts and continue to cook until soft.
Remove the pan from the heat and set to one side.
Use top end of a butternut squash and put the other, bulb-shaped end in the fridge to use another day. Remove the skin and slice thinly all the way along into rounds. Cut each round in half.
Push the onion to the middle of the pan and lay a ring of overlapping squash halves around it. Spread the onions over the squash so that only the last few centimeters are visible.
Sprinkle a handful of rosemary over the top of the onions.
Roll out the pastry into a circle the same size as the pan. A cheat’s way of doing this with a pastry block is to roll into out into a square and tuck each corner in to make a rough hexagon – good enough for the task at hand.
Lay the pastry on top of the onion and squash and tuck the sides in so that all of the filling is completely covered. Prick the pastry all over with a sharp knife and wash with semi-skimmed milk.
Put the pan in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Take a large plate or serving platter and place on top of the pan. This is the moment of truth. Depending on how heavy you pan is, and how strong you are, you may need a second pair of hands. Turn the pan over and the tarte tatin should fall onto the plate cleanly. You should be left with a glistening ring of burnt-orange squash and a centre of purple, sticky onion.
Cut into slices and take a big, sweet bite.