The history of the tarte tatin centers on the story of a happy mistake made in a French kitchen in which apple tart was assembled with the apples on the bottom of the pan then covered with pastry rather than the apples laying on top of the tart crust. The new creation was readily accepted and popularized—thank goodness! This is a superb dessert; it is simple yet impressive and perfect to share with company.
This link from Martha’ Stewart’s recipe for tarte tatin was my starting point for my dessert today. I reviewed some recipes which suggested making the caramel first in the pan then layering the apples in a second step. Some recipes gave instructions for making your own dough, others stuck with store-bought puff pastry. I needed a simple dessert to prepare for dinner guests and I had a lovely dulce de leche ice cream in mind to serve along with an apple dessert.
I chose to keep things easy: I put the sugar and apples in the cast iron pan together and let the caramel develop while the apples softened. Then I used store-bought puff pastry to cover the apples while the dessert baked in the oven. The recommendation is to serve this dessert warm, an approach that can’t go wrong. Yet I will admit to eating room temperature leftovers for breakfast and wishing I had the whole tarte tatin to eat again!
4 TB butter
1 cup sugar
4-5 apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
one sheet of puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Use a round cast iron pan anywhere from 6 inches to 8-10 inches.
Thoroughly butter the cast iron pan. Add the sugar evenly to the pan then layer the apples in the pan in a spiral or circular pattern. You can add enough slices such that there are two levels of apple layers.
Heat the pan on the stovetop to medium high heat. Do not stir the apples or swirl the contents of the pan. Let the caramel develop for 15-20 minutes until you see the caramel coming together around the edges and the apples have softened.
Set the pan aside to cool for about ten minutes. Meanwhile have the puff pastry prepared by cutting a circle of pastry slightly larger than your pan (10 inches across would work well). Refrigerate the puff pastry circle for at least 15 minutes.
Carefully lay the puff pastry over the warm apples. Tuck the pastry around the edges of the apples then cut a few slits in the pastry so that steam can release. Don’t burn your fingers on the hot pan!
Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Flipping the pan over might sound tricky but is manageable. Wear oven gloves to protect your hands from the contents in the pan. Flip the pan onto a serving plate…and hope it goes well! Any apples left behind can be picked up with tongs and placed back into place on the tarte tatin. Pour any caramel left behind in the pan onto the dessert. Enjoy!
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