This is one of those classic desserts that I can’t believe I haven’t made before! Thanks again, Daring Bakers, for getting me to try something new and delicious. And so beautiful!
For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.
Since I of course didn’t make this until 2 days before the posting date and I am off to visit family for the weekend I am going to keep this post pretty short. The recipe worked wonderfully well and I had no issues whatsoever. I would do it all the same the next time around.
Except for the apples. Mine were HUGE and I used the recommend 6 called for and had a bunch left over. You want more apples than the pan can hold since they do cook down, but I had probably 2 apples worth of slices left. That being said, I’d rather have too much than not enough.
The recipe for the pastry is easy and bakes up so flaky I know I’ll be making it again. I can’t believe I almost cheated and used a frozen puff pastry!
The caramel is a time consuming but fun project! Forgive these photos, but I thought it would be helpful to see the process. If I didn’t know the stages the sugar would go through I would’ve thought something was going terribly wrong. So, no need to worry when the sugar gets all nasty and clumpy and looks like nothing good can come from it. Something very good is coming. Just keep stirring and be patient.
The apples get wonderfully soft in the rich caramel. A scoop of plain vanilla bean ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to this rich dessert.
After arranging the apples and letting them cool a bit, place the crust on top and bake. I wasn’t supposed to let the tarte cool all the way before unmolding, so I was worried that it wouldn’t come out cleanly. I warmed the pan on the stove very breifly and it came out perfectly.
This is a beautiful dessert, perfect for impressing your guests! Or perfect to make for yourself and your baked good-loving toddler when your husband has gone out of town…
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup ( 5 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- ¼ cup ice cold water
- Pulse flour, butter and salt in a food processor until butter is in pea sized pieces.
- Stream in the water until the dough just comes together.
- Turn out on a floured surface and press together into a square.
- Roll into a 10 inch rectangle. Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up so that you have 3 layers. Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat this process 4 more times.
- Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour, but up to a day.
- 4 large or 5-6 medium-sized apples (I used Granny Smith)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
- pinch salt
- Peel the apples and cut them into 4-6 pieces depending on the size of the apples. Remove the cores in such a way that each apple quarter has a flat inner side: when placed rounded-side-up, it should sit on a flat base. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the apples and prevent an overly runny caramel. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a very heavy, 9” or 10″ oven-proof saucepan over medium heat, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar. Stir with a whisk until the sugar melts and becomes a pale, smooth caramel. The sugar will seem dry and chunky at first, then will start to melt and smooth out. If the butter appears to separate out from the caramel, just keep whisking until it is a cohesive sauce. This can be a long process, but it eventually works! Remove from the heat.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Discard the liquid that has come out of the apples, then add the apple quarters to the caramel, round side down. They won’t all fit in a single layer at first, but as they cook they will shrink a bit. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, pressing down gently on the apples with a spoon to cover them in the caramel liquid. Move the apples around the pan gently so that they all cook evenly, trying to keep them round side down. When the apples have shrunk enough to mostly fit in a single layer and are starting to soften but still keep their shape, remove the pan from the heat.
- With a wooden spoon, arrange the apples, round side down, in a single layer of concentric circles covering the bottom of the pan. Set aside until the filling stops steaming before covering with pastry.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, and trim it into a circle about 1″ in diameter larger than your saucepan. Lay it over the filling, tucking in the edges between the apples and the sides of the pan, and cut a few steam vents in the pastry. Place the saucepan on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case the filling decides to bubble over the sides) and place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, then increase the heat to 400°F for 5 minutes. Keep and eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.
- Remove from the oven and let sit just until the caramel stops bubbling. Immediately place a serving platter (slightly larger in diameter than the saucepan) over the pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grab hold of the saucepan and platter and quickly invert everything to unmold the Tatin onto the platter. If any of the apples stick to the pan or come out of place, rearrange them with a spatula.
- The tarte can be served warm from the oven or at room temperature. Suggested accompaniments include vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.