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#ThatTranslatorCanCook week 5: Tomato Tarte Tatin

The traditional tarte tatin, made with apples and resulting in a beautifully caramelised top, in a well-known French dessert. There are also variations on the classic though, including this savoury one which made the most of my garden fresh tomatoes - see my source recipe.

Photo of the tomatoes on the base of the dish - ready to go into the oven


Badigeonner – to slather, coat, or spread that mustard?

During translation, I came across the verb badigeonner, which in its most literal sense, refers to the action of covering something with lime. According to the fabulous CNRTL, it can be used in pejoratively to refer to covering over faults or defects, i.e. ‘Couvrir d'une couche de peinture ou de vernis un objet pour masquer ses défauts’ or ‘Restaurer au détriment de la verité.’ . Given this, ‘whitewash’ can be an appropriate translation, depending on the context, since the Oxford English Dictionary also details that it can mean ‘To conceal the faults or errors of [something].

However, in my recipe, the word is used to refer to spreading the pastry with mustard, so whitewash was clearly not appropriate. In English, there are a whole host of wonderful words we could use to describe this action: slather, smear, daub, cover, coat. Interestingly, while some of these can have slightly negative connotations, such as ‘smear’ and ‘daub’, another main difference as far as I see it, relates to the quantity of the item which is being spread. For instance, coat implies covering the surface completely. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, the French term doesn’t give a clue as to how much mustard should be used, and there is also no indication of quantity in the ingredients list. The pictures can give a clue of course. Having looked at these and researched the term, I settled on the neutral option ‘spread over’.


Fortunately, things went reasonably well – a relief after my baking fail in week 4. My main problem was getting the tarte out of its tin. This meant I lost my lovely pastry sides as I tried to delicately extract it from the dish. It certainly tasted good, however I could have baked it for longer, squeezed in more tomatoes, and added more mustard – maybe it should have been ‘slathered’ after all, rather than simply ‘spread’.

Picture of the baked tarte, before it was turned out of the tin

Photo of the cooked tarte tatin

Next time

As the weather is turning autumnal I’d like to do something a bit heartier and comforting. Wait and see what I choose.

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2 commentaires

Hannah Lawrence
Hannah Lawrence
22 sept. 2019

HI Mike, Yes, I know, quite the coincidence! Thanks for your kind comments - it was lovely to meet you in person. See you in November :)


Tarte tatin? That sounds familiar! Interesting idea to use tomatoes - makes for a nice yellow and red photo, too! Very impressive website Hannah, well done!!

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