Tarte Tatin, also known as an upside-down apple tart, is a classic French dessert that is a show-stopper on the table and yet one of the easiest desserts to pull off. It was created by the Tatin sisters in the 1800s in the scenic the Loire Valley of France. The sisters ran the Hotel Tatin. It is said that on a particularly busy day in the hotel, one of the sisters began to prepare an apple tart and realized that she failed to put the pastry in first. Not wanting to be wasteful, she put the pastry on top of the cooked apples and then plopped it in the oven. Voila – a new creation. There are as many versions of this culinary tale as there are possibilities with different ingredients. I have been lucky experimenting with peaches, pears, pineapple and even onions. All have their merits, but nothing beats a classic apple. Give this recipe a try. I know it will become a classic in your repertoire as well.
1 recipe of pie crust or premade puff pastry sheet
6 oz butter
2 cups sugar
5-6 pounds Granny Smith apples
Prepare pie crust (if using) and chill. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the butter in thin slices and arrange evenly on the base of a 12″-14″ heavy-bottom skillet. Cover the butter with the sugar. Peel, halve and core the apples, and arrange them in overlapping circles to fill the skillet. Pack them in tight!! Heat the pan on the stove top until a light caramel is formed, 10-20 minutes. The pan needs to be turned around over the flame and moved pack and forth to prevent the caramel from scorching. Constant attention is necessary. Roll out the dough to a fairly thick circle, large enough to fit over the apples. Chill the circle of dough for about 15 minutes. Place the circle of dough on the apples so they are completely covered. The dough will immediately sink and start to melt over the shape of the apples, but don’t fret. Put the pan in the oven right away and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before turning it over onto a serving platter. If any apples stick to the bottom of the pan, just lift them with a spatula and set them in place on the tart. Tarte Tatin is best served warm with whipped cream.
Andrea Charroin was a trained baker and pastry chef in San Francisco before she and her family moved to Redding 11 years ago. After falling in love with Redding’s downtown, Andrea and husband Westley opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie, across from the Cascade Theatre. For the three years Rene-Joule was in business, it was renowned for making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients and keeping with a seasonal menu. To this day, Andrea is asked about her Marathon Bars, Orange Twists and sourdough bread.
Copyright 2009 Andrea R. Charroin. Visit her blog at bakerslove.typepad.com