I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Recipe Sunday: Tarte Tatin

Om Nome Hero Note to Self: When working with hot sugar/caramel, pants are required, or at least an apron

A Tarte Tatin is a deceptively simple dessert that I do not know why I haven’t tried making myself until now. I have weird cravings, like a crackhead or a hormonal pregnant woman and with fall just around the corner, honey crisp apples are starting to appear at the market I was in the mood for an apple like dessert and Tarte Tatin seemed to fit the bill.

History of this dessert is hazy, but the story goes that Tatin sisters from ye old France were baking an apple pie and one of them was doing up the filling, burned it and had an “Oh Shit” moment and threw on a pastry sheet, flipped it and played it cool and made a Tarte Tatin. Tender apples glazed in rich caramel and a flaky tart are part of making this such a great dessert but the real kicker in this dessert is that moment when it is done baking and you flip it onto a plate. If all goes well, you are presented with a hopefully intact tart that has a luscious deep amber shiny glaze and tender apples, billowing cloud of sweetness.

Most recipes have puff pastry, which is fine but I decided and also lacking puff pastry to just do a sheet of pate brisee (Frenchie for tart dough) which works just as fine. Although you can go complicated and put 20 varieties of apples, any apple will really do for this. If you are big money and have a Tarte Tatin pan go for it and use it, I used a skillet but cake pan (not spring form) would work just as well. This tart is best consumed right after you are done but it still taste great when it is cold as well. Served it with some Crème Fraiche if you have on some fancy pants or a scoop of vanilla ice cream if the elastic band pants are on. Recipe after the Jump

 Tartin Tatin

Pate Brisee (Recipe Follows) enough for 1 8 inch tart or 1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of Butter, chilled and cut into cubes
About 4 sweet firm apples such as Fuji, Gala or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and quartered or sliced into thin half moons

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, 3 tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer without stirring until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Pour the caramel into an 8-inch ovenproof skillet, tilting to coat the bottom. Set apple slices in the caramel and arrange as nicely as possible depending on your taste of presentation

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out Pate Brisee into a little over an 8 inch round  or cut the puff pastry into an 8-inch round. Set the round over the apples in the skillet and tuck excess pastry into baking vessel Poke or cut a small hole to vent any steam and bake until it is richly browned, about 40 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes or if you are feel brave and can stand the heat, 5 minutes. Carefully invert the Tartin onto a cake plate and let cool slightly. Eat until satisfied.
Pate Brisee
 Adapted from Thomas Keller Bouchon

2 C all purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling
1 tsp kosher salt
8 oz chilled unsalted butter, 1/4″ dice
1/4 C ice water
as needed, canola oil
Place 1 C of flour and the salt into a mixer with a paddle attachment.  Turn on slow speed, and gradually add the butter, small handfuls at a time.  Once all the butter is in, turn up the speed to medium and mix until butter is fully incorporated, there should be no visible pieces.  (It will be a soft dough, but don’t overmix it.)
Turn off machine, scrape the dough off the paddle, add in the remaining flour and turn on to low speed.  Mix just until combined.  The mixture will be very dry and crumbly.
Add in the ice water and incorporate.  Again, don’t overmix.  The dough should be smooth and not sticky.  Shape into a 7-8 inch wide disk, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Can be refrigerated up to a day, or stored in the freezer for a couple months.

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