ROUGH PUFF PASTRY makes 1 qty.
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon flaky salt
225g butter, cold and diced
90ml cold water
1 quantity rough puff pastry (see recipe)
20g butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
5–6 banana shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons brown sugar
60ml balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brandy
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked, plus extra to garnish
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
1 teaspoon flaky salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

While most of us are familiar with the traditional fruit-based tarte tatin, I am a big advocate of its savoury sister and this burnished, sticky shallot version is rather beautiful. If you don’t have the right-sized ovenproof frypan, simply transfer the shallots to a small, greased pie dish or shallow cake tin before topping with the pastry.


Don’t be intimidated by making your own puff pastry. The main difference between classic puff and the rough version is that here we are blitzing up the butter into small pieces as opposed to incorporating one large slab. This rough puff recipe is absolutely foolproof and a total cheat’s version that results in buttery flaky pastry requiring far less effort than the traditional. After all, life is just too short to slave away over a huge slab of butter, and that’s a big statement coming from someone like me!


View the recipe collection here


2.For the rough puff pastry, combine the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor.
3.Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs; we want little chunks of butter.
4.Tip into a large bowl, make a well in the centre, add the water and bring the dough together with your hands.
5.Shape into a rectangle, about 2cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench, and roll until it is three times the width, about 20cm x 50cm. Try to keep the edges as straight and even as possible if you can. You may see some streaks of butter; don’t overwork these. A little bit of marbling is ideal here.
7.Fold the top third of the dough down to the centre, and then the bottom third up and over that.
8.Give the dough a quarter turn to the left or right and then roll out again to three times the length.
9.Fold as before, wrap in plastic wrap and chill again for 30 minutes.
10.Repeat this rolling, folding and chilling process twice more and then the pastry will be ready to use.
12.For the caramelised shallots, in a 25cm ovenproof frypan, melt the butter and 3 tablespoons of the oil over a medium heat.
13.Add the shallots cut side up, making sure you have enough halves to cover the base of the pan.
14.Cook for 3–4 minutes before sprinkling with sugar and carefully flipping over with a palette knife. This is where you need to take a little care in arranging them neatly, so the base is covered with minimal gaps.
15.Reduce the heat to low and add the vinegar and brandy.
16.Add the thyme and rosemary leaves and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes; give the pan a gentle shake every now and then. The shallots should be caramelising up a treat by now.
17.Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
18.Preheat the oven to 190°C fan-bake.
19.On a lightly floured bench, roll the pastry out to a 28cm diameter circle.
20.Carefully lay the disc of pastry over the top of the pan, tucking the pastry over the shallots, making sure it’s nestled right into the edges of the pan. You can do this with the end of the palette knife or a wooden spoon to avoid hot fingertips.
21.Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the pastry is gorgeously golden.
22.Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for 2–3 minutes.
23.Place a wooden board or plate on top of the pan, making sure it’s a fair bit bigger than the frypan itself.
24.Carefully flip the pan and board over to turn out the tarte. You want to be quick and confident here; mind any stray caramel that could seep out.
25.Serve immediately topped with fresh thyme leaves.

Images and text from
Butter, Butter by Petra
Galler, photography
by Melanie Jenkins
(Flash Studios),
published by Allen &
Unwin, RRP $49.99.