Drool. Apple Tarte Tatin is one of the most classic French desserts. It translates to an upside-down tart where pastry is baked over apples caramelized in sugar and butter. Those French sure do know a thing or two (or a million things) about dessert. I think I doubled my body weight in a week when visiting Paris this past October. Foie? Yes please! Fresh baked croissants with your coffee sir? Well, don’t mind if I do. Try this unpasteurized Camembert? Of course I must.
This dish is super simple and involves only 5 ingredients. Yes 5. Imagine popping this dessert out of the pan, the suspense building as your guests watch, seeing this delectable sight above. Warm homemade caramel slowly oozing around the tart. Anyone would be impressed with this easy dish. And they never have to know it took only 5 ingredients.
You start with 6 Granny Smith apples. This type is key because they are firm throughout the cooking process, and not overly sweet. Peel all the apples, remove the core, and slice into quarters. Squeeze one lemon over the apples to prevent browning, and toss in some sugar. Let this sit in a bowl for about 10-15 min to let the excess liquid leave the apple. If you don’t do this, your caramel will be quite loose.
Now you need a large sauté pan. I prefer a non-stick pan. You want one about 9 or so inches in diameter. Over medium heat, add the butter and sugar. This will look quite broken. You will be worried. But no fear, using a whisk, the mixture of the sugar and butter will come together after a couple minutes to form a very light colored caramel. Once this occurs, add the apples rounded side down. Place over medium-low heat to simmer in the caramel for about 15 minutes. Occasional go in and move around the apples to ensure all are cooking evenly and they are getting some caramel loving.
The last ingredient you need is puff pastry, found in the freezer at your grocery store. Once thawed completely, cut into the same sized circular shape to fit your pan with 4 slits near the center. Place over the apples and then into the oven. This needs to bake about 15-20 minutes until it puffs up and is nice and brown.
Now this is the moment. While still hot, you need to flip it out of the pan onto another surface. Place a plate of similar size on top of the pan, and in one swift motion, turn it over. If any apples stick, just use a spatula to put them back on the tart. After this, let it cool for a couple minutes so the caramel doesn’t burn your mouth. Serve with this whipped Creme Fraiche for a treat that helps to balance the sweetness of the tarte.
Recipe (serves 8):
Apple Tarte Tatin
-6 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored, cut into quarters
-1 Lemon, juiced
-3 oz Butter
-1 Cup plus 1/3 Cup of Sugar
-1 Sheet Puff Pastry, cut into a circle to fit your pan, with slit marks
1- In a bowl, mix your apples with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Let sit 10-15 minutes for excess liquid to drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2- Meanwhile, in a medium sized sauté pan over medium heat, add butter and remaining sugar. Whisk together until caramel forms. Now, off the heat, add in your apples rounded side down. Place back on the burner for about 15 minutes or until the apples soften. Periodically, go in and move around the apples to ensure all are cooking evenly. Spoon some of the liquid caramel over the apples so all are covered.
3- Once ready, place the puff pastry over top of the apples and place in the oven. Let bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and brown. Remove from oven. Place a plate the same size as the pan on top. In one swift motion, flip them. If any apples happen to stick, just place them back on the tarte. Let cool a couple minutes then serve warm!
Whipped Creme Fraiche
-1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
-1/2 Cup Creme Fraiche
1- In a bowl, whisk heavy cream to stiff peaks. Then whisk in the Creme Fraiche.