October 11, 2013
Apple Tarte Tatin is a delectable and totally classic French dessert. Here, it’s put together simply to make it easier to execute without sacrificing any of those stellar flavors. A few choice ingredients is all you need to create a gorgeous dessert that brings the essence of fall to the table in a simple and sophisticated way.
Pink Lady apples are my favorite. They have a great combination of sweet and tart flavors that cook-up beautifully, maintaining their texture. It can be intimidating to deal with crystallizing sugar— so I worked (and re-worked!) to find a foolproof way to make this caramel with ease. A big thank you to my pastry partner in crime, Elizabeth Colling, for helping me figure out the best method.
I discovered White Toque puff pastry when running into a friend in the freezer section of Whole Foods; she was loading it in her cart and said, “I love this puff pastry.” The ingredients are clean and pure- just butter, flour, salt… and it’s round, so there is no trimming needed — how easy is that? It’s a little pricey at nine bucks (but you get two in that box), but it’s a total timesaver and makes this showstopper dessert possible without me losing a whole Saturday to the process.
Pink Lady Apple Tarte Tatin
7-8 large Pink Lady apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon more
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons room temperature butter, divided
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed and cut into about 11” circle
First, peel and quarter the apples. Cut the core out at an angle of each of the quarters. Place the apples in a bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of lemon juice over the apples, mixing to cover all the pieces. This is really just to prevent browning.
Preheat oven 375.
In a 10” ovenproof skillet, using your fingers, smear three tablespoons of the softened butter in the pan with your fingers. Coat the bottom of the pan and come up a bit on the sides. Pour the sugar over the butter and shake the pan a little to ensure even distribution. Place skillet on the stove over medium heat and cook until sugar is lightly golden about 15 minutes. If any crystallization starts to occur, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and mix with a wooden spoon.
Now, take the skillet off the heat and arrange the quartered apples on top of the caramel mixture. Start on the outside and place the apples rounded side down. Make it pretty, the bottom will become the top of the tart. Nestle them in as snuggly as possible working toward the middle in concentric circles. In the center hole, place two pieces of apple slightly overlapping each other. You most likely will have extra apple pieces. Using a pastry brush or butter knife, brush the remaining one-tablespoon of butter over the apples.
Place the pan back on the stove and cook an additional 20 minutes on medium heat. The apples will shrink as their juices are released, as space opens up, add-in the remaining apple quarters. The caramel will darken in color and bubble.
Next, place the thawed puff pastry over the apples and tuck the ends down the side of the pan. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but be careful because the pan is hot.
Put the whole skillet in the oven and cook for 35 minutes. Check on it after 25 minutes just to make the crust isn’t getting dark— you are looking for a nice golden brown color on the crust.
Remove from oven and let it cool in the skillet for about 10 – 15 minutes. Then, carefully—those juices are hot—invert onto your serving plate. This can be served both warm or at room temperature (giving you the option to make it hours in advance). This is lovely served with dollop of crème fraiche.