Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin -- the famous, delicious, and fairly easy French apple tart -- is another recipe we made in this week's cooking class. I used Golden Delicious apples but Granny Smith also works well. In my opinion, French people tend to like a softer texture for fruits and vegetables, so they cook a little longer than I normally do. 

Tarte Tatin
For two 6-inch or one 10-inch cast iron pan
Serves 6-8

For the dough:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted ("sweet") butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or as needed

For the filling:
4-5 Golden Delicious apples (or Granny Smith)
juice of one lemon
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream as accompaniment if desired.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and toss together. Add the butter using your fingertips or two knives, and cut the mixture until crumbly. Add the water, and working quickly blend the ingredients with floured hands and pat the dough into two smooth flat cakes (or one if using 10-inch skillet). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. You may instead process the dough using a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 5-6 times with one-second bursts to break up the butter, then add the ice water, pulsing a few more times until the dough holds together. If the mixture is too dry, pulse in more drops of water.

Core, peel (optional) and halve the apples lengthwise; cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges, and toss in a bowl with the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In two skillets (or one large 10-inch) melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the remaining sugar and cook until the syrup bubbles and caramelizes to a brown color. Remove the skillet(s) from heat and arrange apple slices in a neat pattern on the caramel. At this point you may return the skillets to the stove to cook the apple 5-6 minutes more, but normally I don’t do that because I like a little firmer texture.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick and a little larger than the diameter of the skillet(s). Place the dough over the apples, pressing the dough lightly on the top and the edge of the skillets. Cut a few small steam holes on the top of the dough. Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped, about 20-25 minutes.

Unmold the tart(s) by placing serving plates on top and flipping it/them before the caramel cools/hardens. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Well, we made Chocolate Souffle, Madeleines and Tarte Tatin in the class this time. The cherry tomato pizza in the picture is one I made as a snack for everybody while we were working.

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