Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tarte Tatin

I had some homemade puff pastry dough left in my freezer and a couple apples on hand, so I decided to make miniature Tarte Tatins. Tarte Tatin is a delicious French dessert -- a caramelized apple tart baked with the crust on the top instead of the bottom. After baking, it is turned upside-down and served, usually with whipped cream or créme fraiche. It was invented during a cooking mishap in 1898 by two sisters named Stephanie and Caroline Tatin who ran a family hotel in the rural town of Lamotte-Beuvron in the Loire Valley. In a hurry, she dumped her apples and sugar in a baking pan but forgot to line it with pastry. She then put the pastry dough on top, baked it anyway, and a culinary wonder was born. Big or small, it's delicious, especially at this time of year.

Tarte Tatin Recipe: (makes one large or 8 small)

Peeled, core and quarter 8 apples. Put them in a heavy pan with about a half a stick of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup sugar. I cut my apples in to thinner pieces so I could arrange them in a muffin tin. If you are doing a large one and have a cast iron pan, cook them in that and use that pan the whole way through the recipe. Other wise, a large skillet will do. When the apples start to turn golden brown and the sugar and butter get thick and caramel colored (it could take 40 minutes to an hour), dump the apples in a cake pan, arranging nicely if you like. I like to line the bottom of the pan with a circle of buttered parchment paper, the same goes for a muffin tin if you're making minis, but you won't need anything if you're using cast iron. Then lay a rolled out circle (1/4" thick) of puff pastry on top, cut to leave about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edges in to the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 F. Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then flip it out onto a plate. Serve warm with whipped cream or crème fraiche. Bon appetite!


Anonymous said...

Wait...if it is upside down, why is it right side up? I don't get it. Oh, is it like an upside-down cake? Cooked upside down but served right side up?

Emily Baird said...

Normally you bake a tart with the crust on the bottom. This is baked with the crust on the top, so when you turn it upside down, it has the fruit on top like a traditional tart. One of the benefits of doing it this was though, is that the apples really caramelize while baking in the bottom of the pan and you get almost a gooey, caramely fruit part of your tart.