A French Classic, Tarte Tartin
Stephanie Tatin was the chef in the family-run ‘Hotel Tatin’ and is known for first creating this dessert in 1889, and it became a French classic. I remember the first time I ate it in a restaurant overlooking the ocean in the South of France. I guess that should tell you how much I love this luscious apple tart. As beautiful as the environment was, I totally fell in love with tarte tatin.
I have seen Julia Child make tarte tatin several times as late as when she was in her 80”s. I decided that I had to master it and make it one of my classic tart’s
It is an upside down caramelized apple pie that is easy to make but on the other hand hard to make. The reason for this is that the ingredients are easily assembled, but the caramelizing can be dangerous. When cooking and spooning the caramel over the top of the apples so that they get completely covered and when turning the hot tart from the pan, one must take great care. I recommend a no-stick pan and heatproof oven gloves to protect you hands if some caramel should drip out.
Tarte Tartin is typically an apple tart, but it can be made with other fruits.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes on the stove/25-30 minutes in the oven at 400º
Yield: 8 slices
1 9” pastry crust, pâté brisée or store bought puff pastry
8 apples (dry and apples that will hold their shape i.e. Granny Smith)
3/4 lb sugar
1/2 lb butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of one 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place the sugar and butter in a 9” oven pie plate or frying pan that can be placed in the oven. Cook the sugar and butter on high heat until it becomes a deep golden brown caramel. Do not stir, as it will form crystals. If crystals do form, wipe the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in water. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and blend. Add the apples, which have been peeled, cut in half, and the seeds removed.
Toss the apples with the cinnamon and place the apples next to each other in a circle outside down. They should overlap in the caramel mixture. Allow them to cook for about 10-15 minutes scooping the caramel over the top of the apples with a spoon. Caramel is extremely hot and dangerous. Extreme care should be taken.
Place the pastry over the top of the pan and carefully tuck the edge into the pan. Place the tart into the middle rack of the oven and bake according to the directions on the pastry package. If using a home made crust cook about the same time or until it turns brown. It is usually about 25 minutes at 400º F if using a packaged puff pastry.