Sweet Pepper Tarte Tatin with Black Pepper Caramel
Coated in a deliciously pungent black pepper glaze, vibrant strips of red pepper
take on a new dimension in this stunning upside-down cake.
It's well worth buying good-quality black peppercorns. Look for organic or single
estate varieties such as Tellicherry or Wynad. They have a much better flavour.
fleshy sweet red peppers (preferably organic) 2
plain flour 175g
baking powder 2 tsp
ground almonds 5 g
unsalted butter 175g, plus extra for greasing
caster sugar 150g
eggs (free-range or organic) 3, lightly beaten
vanilla extract 1 tsp
for the caramel
unsalted butter 50g
granulated sugar 60g
peppercorns (preferably organic, Tellicherry or Wynad) 1 tsp, cracked
1) Preheat the grill to very hot. Slice the peppers in half lengthways and discard the stem and seeds. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Grill for 10–12 minutes until blackened. Cover with a clean tea towel for 10 minutes to loosen the skin.
2) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Butter the base and sides of a 24-cm spring-form tin. Place on a baking tray.
3) Remove the skin from the peppers. Slice in half lengthways and trim the edges straight. Slice into 1-cm diagonal strips. Arrange attractively in the base of the tin, peeled side down.
4) Sift the flour, baking powder and ground almonds together. Tip any coarse almond residue back into the bowl.
5) Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
6) Gradually add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the beaten eggs and vanilla.
7) Next make the caramel. Heat the butter, sugar and peppercorns in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. When the sugar has melted, pour over the peppers (see Cook's Tip).
8) Working quickly, spoon the dough over the peppers, levelling the surface with a palate knife.
9) Bake for 30–35 minutes until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes.
10) Invert the tin onto a serving platter and remove the sides. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.
Use a pastry brush to gently shunt the pepper strips around to allow the caramel to spread between them.